Has Reliability Become Uncool?

Reliability has always been important to me. It’s just the way I was brought up – what you promise, you have to keep. Typically German, say the Italians in the country where I now live most of the year. If I promise someone that I’ll be there on a certain day at a certain time, I’m usually there a little earlier. If I don’t want to do something, I say so. If I really can’t keep an appointment for good reason, I let them know in good time. But I have the feeling that reliability is now out of fashion, a relic of outdated parenting methods and even evidence of philistinism. Simply uncool!

Reliability? Not a chance!

I experience it again and again and more and more often. liability is no longer in vogue. Appointments are made but not kept. Is it just me, I sometimes ask myself. Or have you experienced this too? There’s the friend who, even before Corona, always promised to visit me in the countryside for a walk with our dogs. First Corona was a good excuse, then the Pilates course came in between, the sick uncle and so on.

Appointments were made and then canceled – usually on the day of the appointment – or not at all. Nevertheless, a promise was always made for the next weekend (“but then I’ll definitely come”), which was never kept. With certain people, I no longer respond to such declarations of intent.

But this lack of reliability is not limited to the private sphere. Take the restaurant at Wörthsee in Upper Bavaria, for example, where I had booked a table and left my name and telephone number. When we stood in front of the door that evening, the restaurant was closed – for whatever reason. But nobody had thought it necessary to let me know.

A headache or a new lover

Or the other friend with whom I made a firm appointment for a dog walk at her suggestion. She canceled two hours beforehand with a headache because the weather had changed. However, she had already warned me the evening before that if it rained, she would be a wimp and wouldn’t come. I could have guessed that.

Another example for a lack of reliability: A colleague had arranged to go shopping together. She simply didn’t show up on the agreed morning and, when I asked her, claimed that it hadn’t been arranged. In reality, she preferred to go swimming at the lake with her new lover.

Stall tactics, no thank you!

But it got even bolder when a friend, who I actually thought she was, invited herself to spend a week’s vacation with me in Italy last year, having previously wanted to spend a week in a golf hotel not too far from where I live. I was also looking forward to her visit and had prepared well. I spent days preparing, cleaning, sprucing up the guest apartment with new accessories and even buying plenty of her favorite drink, Coca Cola Light – which I personally hate.

I didn’t hear from her on the day she was due to arrive. When I finally got her on the phone, she claimed to have had no network (!) the days before at the Italian golf resort and now her car had to go to the garage for two days. On the third day, she finally informed me via WhatsApp that she wouldn’t be coming after all. No “I’m sorry”, no phone call when she was long back home in Germany. She had probably gotten better offers or met a hot guy at the resort. I would even have understood if she had told me the truth instead of fibbing.

Cancellations via WhatsApp

The frivolity with which people make and cancel appointments on WhatsApp nowadays never ceases to amaze me. Sure, it’s just so easy. You can’t see the other person, you can’t hear them. Because you can often hear small fibs from voices far too quickly. Lies are much more likely to go undetected online. Modern communication with a few lines in Telegram style, an emoji and a quick click makes everything much less complicated and more anonymous.

Fortunately, there are still people around me who keep their appointments and don’t shy away from a perhaps unpleasant conversation if necessary. I’ll stick to them in future, and I can forget about the unreliable ones from now on. That’s my resolution for 2024!


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