Over at Slate, a reader has presented a conundrum to advice columnist Lucinda Rosenfeld. She explains that she reneged on lunch plans twice in a row, and her friend got pissed. “Late Canceller” now wants to know if what she did was that bad. Rosenfeld felt that it wasn’t…but let me tell you, not everybody would agree.
The reason I know that is because — full disclosure — I am a canceller. I try not to cancel at the last minute if I don’t have to, but I also think that there should be room amongst friends for changing your mind.
In my mind, being understanding and compassionate in that way is an important part of being a good friend. Also, I should add that I rarely care when people cancel on me — I’m never mad about having more time to myself.
But I also know from innumerable first-hand experiences that not everyone thinks like me. I’ve pissed off plenty of friends by cancelling, and honestly, I don’t think they’re wrong to be upset about it. I understand their point: plans are plans, and friends keep plans out of respect for one another’s time and feelings.
So what I always end up wondering is, is this a solvable problem, or are the cancellers and the non-cancellers doomed to fight it out until the end of time? Or worse: can we simply not be friends? After all, I’ve seen this cancelling thing cause serious rifts in friendships — someone cancels, feelings get hurt, then the other person’s feelings get hurt, and a downward spiral ensues, including passive aggressive behavior, excessive behind-the-back shit-talking, and finally, possibly, a vindictive cancel, which no one appreciates.
Perhaps we can come to understand our friends a bit better, but I’m afraid that the great cancellation debate has two staunchly opposing viewpoints which are unlikely to ever be completely reconciled.
What do you think? Can the cancellation debate be brought to a logical conclusion?