“There is a special place in purgatory for people that waste my time…” -S.R. Freshley

In the past week I have had three people cancel planned dates with me. It seems that people, women especially when dealing with men, feel that making plans that they never intend to follow through with is socially acceptable. I’m not sure where this notion came from, but let me try to end it right here, right now. Let’s talk about time, and why it is so important to everyone.

Time is the one thing that, for the most part, we all get an equal share of. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what status you have, where you live, or who you are. Everyone that lives on planet earth get’s 24 hours in a day. It is my belief that time spent can be broken down into three categories. Those categories are:

  1. Improvement
  2. Enjoyment
  3. Rest

As adults, we are expected to spend a certain chunk of time improving ourselves. Improving oneself includes, but is not limited to

  • Participating in gainful employment
  • Preparing to participate in gainful employment
  • Hygiene
  • Studying
  • Cleaning
  • Organizing

If you are doing it right, improving yourself takes up most of your allotted 24 hours. Which means there is very little time left to enjoy, and/or rest. It is not mandated that any person do anything in particular with their time. However, with any time spent there is an opportunity cost. Most adults spend a fair amount of time improving themselves, so that they can better enjoy their time set aside for enjoyment. Being that there is so little time, as an adult, to enjoy ones self it is especially careless and disrespectful to others to cancel plans, or make plans with no intention to follow through.

Now, I have been indirectly and directly accused of being “wrapped up in myself”, “self centered”, “selfish” and sensitive. But, obviously I don’t think that I am. I just view things differently than most people, which directly translates into a somewhat strict set of guidelines that I abide by when it comes to my time. Let me illustrate what I mean with a true story.

Earlier this year, and even up to now, my job has been experiencing staffing issues. On several occasion I was asked/ strongly encouraged to work overtime. I became infamous for replying to these request with “Are you going to pay me triple over time/ double time and a half to stay?” To which the answer was always no. And then I would say “well I will see you tomorrow then…”. One particular time that I was asked to stay I ended up in a 30 minute “discussion” about why I always ask for triple over time/double time and a half. My co-workers argued that my work wasn’t worth that much money to the company. To which I replied “Maybe my work isn’t worth that much, but my time off is.” On top of that, I feel that I am underpaid anyway which is a story unto itself. People think that I am narcissistic because I value my time at a rate much higher than most other people. Being that the people that usually make these accusations are better off in life on paper, or make more money than I do, they feel that their time is worth more than mine and I do not agree. I think these people suffer from the misunderstanding of the true nature and value of time. Which results in inconsiderateness and the lack of common courtesy.

2 of the 3 people that canceled on me this week waited until the agreed upon meeting time to actually cancel. The 3rd person just never bothered showing up or communicating that they weren’t going to show up. Most times when someone cancels at the last minute, they know before hand that they are going to cancel. Take my incident with Mia for example. Mia is a woman that I met on a dating site. We chatted back and forth heavily before trading phone numbers. When we traded phone numbers, we talked until 3 am. Everything seemed like it was going fine. During our conversation we agreed to meet up. We confirmed plans they day of. She suggested a time, to which I agreed. When the time came she totally flaked out. It can be reasonably assumed  that Mia had some reservations about meeting up before hand. It would have been considerate of her to voice her reservations when they came about so that I could have begun to formulate a back up plan for my time off. Now, earlier that day I’d had a rough day at work, which I communicated to her. This made me value my time off on that particular day even more, only to have her waste that time. When Mia canceled I’d already wasted about 2 hours waiting on the time that she’d suggested. At that point I was already in my house and comfortable. I tried to conjure up some last minute plans with other friends to no avail. So there went my entire evening.

For some reason this scene/scenario has become a social norm. I don’t know if women think it’s okay because it happens all the time to men, or because men are “rougher” than women supposedly, or whatever. THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IS NOT OKAY. THIS IS NOT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE. Just because men experience this a lot on the dating scene, does not make it okay. Thieves break into houses and rob people all the time. We generally understand that that is not right, why not here? Mia robbed me of my time. I don’t understand the mindset of people that behave like this, nor do I seek to understand. I do, however, want it to stop; especially since it is becoming so prevalent. In an attempt to help bring back common courtesy and consideration, here is my somewhat strict set guidelines that I abide by in my social interactions. I call it “somewhat strict” because, as with anything, there are always exceptions.

  • Two Strike Rule

The two strike rule is what it sounds like. If we make plans and you flake for whatever reason, twice, then I no longer value your word or friendship. Furthermore I will not initiate conversation or invite you to anything else. Life is unpredictable and things do reasonably come up sometimes that cause for a change of plans. However, I have found, in my personal experiences, that 2 consecutive cancellations usually means that the other party doesn’t really care or is just a horrible person in general. Which means that I personally don’t need to associate myself with that person. From that point on these people get what I call the “Galyn Treatment”.

  • The Galyn Treatment

The Galyn treatment simply means that whatever we do, if we continue to interact, has to be on my time, in my way, according to my agenda. Why should I value you or your opinion when you have clearly shown me that you don’t reciprocate? At this point you owe me for the opportunity cost of my wasted time and until that debt is paid, we will be at odds. The Gayln treatment is named so, because there was a woman named Galyn I knew that immensely wasted my time on several occasions but would not go away. She would continuously contact me in attempts to get together but I refused because she didn’t want to do what I wanted to do after I’d given her multiple chances to do what she wanted. Every time she and I would make plans she would eventually cancel.

  •  Too (Two) Late

Those that know me well know that I am a very punctual person in all aspects of my life. When asked “at what time”, I  generally differ to the other party so that they can be most comfortable. I hate showing to events late. There is just always more confusion when you go somewhere late, especially if it’s somewhere you haven’t been before. I always factor in time for variables; whether it be parking, traffic, weather or whatever. You just never know what could come up. If  I agree to meet at a certain time, than I expect for the other party to be there at that time as well. If I have to wait, we have now journeyed into an awkward place that I don’t like to be in. Just think, if a friend invites you to a party and that friend is the only person that you would know at that party, then you are placed in an awkward situation. When you show up at the door the host doesn’t know who you are. You could be a random person that just walked up from the street. The host then has to verify who you are. This is a totally unnecessary step, that could have been avoided all together if your friend would have just showed up at the time that you all agreed upon. To keep myself out of this awkward place, my friends and associates get two strikes with this too. If you can’t meet at the time we said meet, then we just won’t meet. I once had a female friend meet me 3 whole hours after the time we agreed to meet. After the first hour, I called to make sure she was okay. She apologized and claimed she was on her way. After the second hour I text to let her know I was leaving. She called and begged me to stay. At the 3 hour mark I was in my car pulling off when she called from inside the bar asking where I was. Believe it or not, she didn’t even offer any type of concession for being 3 hours late. Didn’t offer to buy me a drink or anything. She and I are not friends now.

  • Some Advice

Giving advice is not directly related to time, but it can amount to wasted time. I do not give out advice, lend my opinion, or listen to other people’s problems. The reasoning behind that is because I have had too many experiences where friends, family, or associates  have asked for my advice and then go in the exact opposite direction of what I have advised. What this translates to, in my mind, is that I have taken the time to pull from my wisdom and personal experience to help you, because as a friend/family member/ associate I want to see you prosper or get out of your current situation, and you have wasted it. Furthermore, it means that you do not value my opinion because you have chosen to do something other than what I have advised, even though you came to me claiming not to know what was best. So, when I give my advice and it is not heeded, I no longer have any advice for you in the future. You will be met with a swift “I don’t know…”

In closing, I acknowledge that I strayed heavily from the original point. But I feel that it was needed so that the offenders of wasting my time can fully understand my perspective. Also, I believe that someone who may have trouble expressing themselves to their circle of influence can refer those people to this article, making me the bad guy for them. Being considerate and having common courtesy is not hard at all. All it takes is that you place yourself in someone’s shoes. Just operate by the golden rule that states “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you” and everything will be okay. Time is very valuable, but I think that we have such a hard time understanding the true nature and value of time because it is intangible. I think the movie “In Time” does a great job illustrating this. If you have not seen it, I highly advise watching it…even though you didn’t ask me.

 

 

© Stephen R. Freshley and wordbending, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of thismaterial without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephen R. Freshley and Word Bending a secret but not so secret blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

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