I'm one to talk – I stood up the Developmental Disabilities people because I spent the night at Marlo's

Chilliwack – the good, the bad, the extremely ugly. Chilliwack. It was where I was raised for about half of my childhood. The mountains are beautiful. There are trees all around it. However, the ratio of beautiful people to the not-so-beautiful falls far in favour of the latter. Now I’m not talking about physical beauty, though there is that. The friends I value in Chilliwack aren’t models but they’re the most reliable, good-hearted, honest people that I know. It sounds like I’m picking on Chilliwack, and I guess I am. I only associate it so because I spent the weekend there, and I was in a restaurant/pub with a lot of dybbuks. Certainly there are a lot of people who are superficially nicer to look at in the big city, but just as much twits, jerks and snobs. There are a lot of things about people that bother me. A lot. That’s old news. The basics of course – ignorance, violence…most people I know are against that. One thing I think that bothers me more than others is the absence of reliability. Unreliability, if you will! I’ve known many such people: many cool, like-minded, fun people with lots of good traits, but one bad one that I cannot abide. Over the years they have been culled from my regular associations, by my choices or by chance. I always give new people the benefit of the doubt, and lots of chances, but if after a while it becomes clear that they chronically and habitually say they’ll do something and then fail to do it, my esteem in them drops dramatically. Many think it’s okay to bail out of commitments – no real harm done. A flippant apology patches up any wrongdoings, to them. But to me, it’s not just a disappointment, it’s a big disrespect.

I’ve myself been criticized, not for breaking commitment, but for my lack of MAKING a commitment. I used to gauge–vocally and openly– the likelihood of my attendance or commitment on something – even going so far as to assigning a percentage value – rather than saying “I’ll be there” and then not showing. This was not received well by one of my friends. She took my saying “there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be there” or “there’s a 95% chance I can do it” to mean that I didn’t value her time/friendship. She asked me to stop doing that and I did out of respect for her wishes and feelings. But still, I would rather be told “there’s a chance that I can’t do X” than “For sure totally I’ll do X” and then, of course, be let down.

19 Replies to “I'm one to talk – I stood up the Developmental Disabilities people because I spent the night at Marlo's”

  1. But at least there were goat pants, even if we didn’t find the hooves in the bottom of the tupperware box.

  2. saturday ROCKED! except for the part where Merrick just couldn’t help but be overly critical. you know the part i’m talking about. it starts where Merrick shows up to play and ends when Merrick leaves.

    anyway, a comment about ‘lack of commitment’. I would agree on stopping with the exact percentages to illustrate your level of commitment.

    A long time ago, I used to date this girl. She wanted to know when I was going to be coming over to visit. I would say I should be there around 6 o’clock. She wanted to know what “around 6 o’clock” meant because she had other things to do. I told her it meant that some time near 6 o’clock, I would be there. She would get angry and say just give me a time so I’d give her a time. She didn’t care if I was 15 minutes late, she just wanted a quantifiable entity (in this case time) to signify my commitment to coming over so after a while I’d just say “I’ll be there at 6 pm”

    I think saying “There is a 75% chance I’ll attend” is the same as “I’ll be there around 6 o’clock” to a lot of people.

    First, it is hard to quantify. 75% chance you’ll attend? So if I have four parties, you’ll only attend three? HUH? It is a vague response because no one could actually claim to understand what ‘75% possibility of attendance’ is.

    Second, most people just want a typically straight answer. Asking a question like “Are you coming to my party?” is a yes or no question that warrants a simple yes or no answer. The minute you give an inexact answer, you appear to be avoiding commitment whether you are or you are not is irrelevant. If you have to qualify your response, it should be exact otherwise it signals to most people that you are not coming. A percentage between 0 and 1 is not exact even though you are giving an exact number.

    As you know, I agree 100% with you about people who lack commitment. I can’t stand it. I also believe I share your level of commitment to keeping a promise. But sometimes in our quest to avoid disappointing ourselves, we lose sight of how it works for other 99% of the population which then causes a whole new set of problems.

  3. 50% chance I’m coming means that I have a lot of drawing to do and I’m not sure if I’ll get it done in time.

    90% chance I’m coming means I plan on coming but Sammy Davis Jr said he might call and ask me to come up and dig his grave, which I promised I’d do – but he said he’d either call me tonight or tomorrow, and he’s pretty unreliable so I doubt he’ll call either day.

    99% chance means all I have to do is scan in this artwork and ftp the file. Assuming there’s nothing wrong with my computer or internet connection, I’ll be there!

    Those are of course examples. Naturally there’s never really a 100% chance that I’ll be there because the world might end, but that’s a “goes without saying” thang.

  4. In some situations this “percentage” thing is as bad as not keeping a commitment.

    With respect to large social events, I think the “percentage” method is fine and workable and no one should get upset about it. For largish parties, or events at pubs/bars, etc. then this approach is a-okay.

    But with respect to small social occasions, where it’s just you and another person, or you and a couple other people, then it strikes me as a little impolite.

    Let’s say Banks! asks you to dinner. Would you tell him there’s a 75% chance that you can make it? I’d hope not, because if you did, what is Banks! to do? What if some other event comes up for him? Does he accept that event seeing there’s a 25% chance you won’t make dinner? Or does he cancel said event since there’s a 75% chance you can make dinner? What if accepts to the event and then you’re free? Now you’re peeved because he asked, but in the end cancelled on you. If he declines his invitation and you can’t make dinner, now he’s peeved because he’s sitting around doing nothing (when he could have been doing something).

    The Banks! example even applies to small dinner parties, especially where the host has to decide what and how much to cook. Any percentage doesn’t really tell them anything. Do they cook for one extra person because you told them the chance of you showing up is 60%?

    How far do you take this “percentage” method of yours? If you apply it in all situations, then you should change that habit. A firm yes or no answer should be required in small social settings, especially where you may affect the plans of someone by showing up or not showing up.

  5. Banks is within his rights to turn my 75% chance of being there into a 100% chance of not accommodating me. It’s understandable for people to want TOTAL COMMITMENT to prepare for you, and if you can’t offer the former, then you can’t expect the latter.

    And as I mentioned, I don’t use percentages. I just do what everyone else does. I say “I’ll be there” and hope nothing goes wrong, or if I’m not sure, I’ll say so so that everyone knows where I’m at. Often, someone saying they won’t show and then showing is a nice surprise, whereas the other way around is an unpleasant surprise (if it’s a surprise at all).

  6. Toren said…
    “50% chance I’m coming means that I have a lot of drawing to do and I’m not sure if I’ll get it done in time.”

    then you should just say “I have a lot of drawing to do and I can’t go anywhere until I get the drawing done. If I get it done, I’ll come.” if you said that, then everyone knows you want to come and why, if you don’t come, you couldn’t make it.

    if you say “there is a 50% chance i’ll attend”, no one knows why you might not make it or if you even want to attend. they are left to guess and when left to guess a lot of times people will just go with the simple answer which is “he didn’t want to come and just didn’t have the decency to say so” whether that was the case or not.

    that was certainly how my old girlfriend thought and i saw her point.

  7. Well, current practice notwithstanding, lack of information is better than inaccurate information.

  8. the lesser of two evils i guess.

    personally, i think they are both equally inappropriate, one is just more straightforward than the other.

  9. The fact that people even CARE that you, Toren, are coming to their event leaves me scratching my head. I mean with your ‘Shine’-like propensity for grabbing people’s privates and your commitment to wearing six layers of moth-eaten wool clothing, even in the summer, it’s a wonder ANYONE wants you around!

  10. Still, personally I would rather have someone give me a realistic percentage than say they’ll show and then bail with no warning.

  11. I’d rather give me a firm “no” rather than a percentage. Like Banks! said, how am I supposed to interpret a percentage. I’d rather have the “no” than have to interpret your meaning. This percentage business is all so wishy-washy. I think you use it because you’re afraid that a “no” will bruise feelings. It’s a non-commital commit, if the percentage is over 50%. And it’s a commital non-commit, if the percentage is less than 50%.

    I’d rather receive a “If you’re still free then I’m now free” phonecall after a “no” response, rather than this percentage business. It’s just lazy. Not too mention selfish.

    You’re angered when people don’t meet their commitments, or break they’re commitments, but you’re totally fine with telling people “maybe” when asked for your commitment? That makes no sense to me.

  12. That’s the ironic twist! When there was a 0% chance – I’d just say “I won’t be there!”

    ps – there is a recurring tense problem with your comments, footrest. If that is your real name.

  13. Arrgh! I have this exact same problem with people! I think the reason why people flake (which I really hate) is because:

    1. They aren’t organized, and don’t really know what they’re doing 30 minutes hence, much less later in the week.

    2. They aren’t really excited about whatever it is they are being asked to attend, and are “keeping their options open” in case that hottie knocks on their door to have wild free sex with them.

    Personally, I would love people to give me percentage chances of attendance, as long as it was accurate and not just bullshit. In some cases, say, where I have to make a dinner reservation, I really do have to know by a certain point.

    I have recently begun saying things like “let me know by this date/time if you can make it. If you don’t, I assume the answer is no.” And then I make sure the event is fun and excting and then everyone makes fun of the other person for not being there.

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