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Ask Slashdot: Are We Living In the Golden Age of Bailing? (nytimes.com) 248

An anonymous reader shares a report that makes a case of us living in an era where bailing has become just too common: It's clear we're living in a golden age of bailing. All across America people are deciding on Monday that it would be really fantastic to go grab a drink with X on Thursday. But then when Thursday actually rolls around they realize it would actually be more fantastic to go home, flop on the bed and watch Carpool Karaoke videos. So they send the bailing text or email: "So sorry! I'm gonna have to flake on drinks tonight. Overwhelmed. My grandmother just got bubonic plague..." Bailing is one of the defining acts of the current moment because it stands at the nexus of so many larger trends: the ambiguity of modern social relationships, the fraying of commitments (paywalled), what my friend Hayley Darden calls the ethic of flexibility ushered in by smartphone apps -- not to mention the decline of civilization, the collapse of morality and the ruination of all we hold dear. [...] Technology makes it all so easy. You just pull out your phone and bailing on a rendezvous is as easy as canceling an Uber driver. There are different categories of bailing. There is canceling on friends. This seems to follow a bail curve pattern. People feel free to bail on close friends, because they will understand, and on distant friends, because they don't matter so much, but they are less inclined to bail on medium-tier or fragile friends. Then there is professional bailing. This tends to have a hierarchical structure. A high-status person will frequently bail on a lower-status colleague, but if an intern bails on a senior executive, it is a sign of serious disrespect. What do you folks think?
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Ask Slashdot: Are We Living In the Golden Age of Bailing?

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  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:40PM (#54766185) Homepage Journal

    What do I think?

    I think Slashdot is posting articles from David Brooks, one of the world's worst columnists, on Brooks being annoyed nobody wants to hang out with him any more.

    That's what I think.

    What next? Tom Friedman on how we'll find out if the next iPhone is a success in the next six months, and what his cabbie thinks about that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:43PM (#54766207)
    But in this case, the answer is yes.
    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:54PM (#54766321)
      Hah, you call that bailing! Back in my day bailing meant a day in field behind a trailer. Now you snowflakes wanna lay around on the couch eating Doritos and call it bailing, well, maybe think about where those Doritos come from and get up off your asses and do something hard and rugged!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is not news for nerds, stuff that matters.

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:47PM (#54766255) Homepage Journal

    It's not that I want to flop on the couch, it's that I have over-committed my resources.

    Also, why do we need to make plans to do anything these days? Why can't we just grab drinks whenever. Or go for a hike when the moment strikes us. Want to go fishing Saturday? call me before 10pm the night before, I really don't need a lot of notice to prepare. But if you want to set up a big fishing expedition 2 weeks in advance, well a lot can happen then. I can't say for certain how I will even feel 2 weeks from now.

    • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:57PM (#54766343) Homepage

      This attitude towards planning pretty much requires you to over-commit your resources, otherwise you'll frequently end up bored with nothing to do... Because "spur of the moment" planning fails horribly when the "spurs" of your life don't line up with the "spurs" of everyone else in your social group.

      • Exactly. If everyone is cancelling 50% of the time near the last minute, you have to schedule 5 things on a Saturday to be reasonably certain of not having anything better to do than watch TV.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Is your interest in fishing or some other activity really so volatile that if you agree to go fishing in two weeks you might find yourself so uninterested in fishing that you'd suddenly decide you absolutely wouldn't go?

      • short answer: Yes.

        If my dishwasher is flooding my kitchen, then I probably shouldn't leave that mess for my wife. But it's always something, if I only went out when every chore was done I would never go out. Sometimes things are critical and force me to change plans, something they are not and I can put them off for a while.

        Also, I'm at that age where people in my extended family die and parents get hospitalized. After comforting my Mom because her Aunt died, I don't really feel like going fishing.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          short answer: Yes.

          If my dishwasher is flooding my kitchen, then I probably shouldn't leave that mess for my wife. But it's always something, if I only went out when every chore was done I would never go out. Sometimes things are critical and force me to change plans, something they are not and I can put them off for a while.

          Also, I'm at that age where people in my extended family die and parents get hospitalized. After comforting my Mom because her Aunt died, I don't really feel like going fishing.

          If it's a

    • Those are still plans, just short term. Even "Hey, let's go get a drink." on the phone is a plan. And if you can't keep a calendar clear two weeks for a outing that requires more than grab your wallet preparation you shouldn't be making those kinds of plans.

      People that dork me on those kinds of things (w/out *good* reason) get one pass. Second time and I never make plans with them again because they're unreliable.

    • call me before 10pm the night before, I really don't need a lot of notice to prepare.

      Sounds like you have a crap Saturday ahead of you when no one calls. If anyone calls me for anything 10pm the night before there's a very good chance the answer is sorry busy, maybe next week.

      I can't say for certain how I will even feel 2 weeks from now.

      What we can say for certain is that you're an uncommitted flaker who would bail on something that requires planning because of "how you will feel". I hope you're happy not being included in anything big.

    • Also, why do we need to make plans to do anything these days? Why can't we just grab drinks whenever. Or go for a hike when the moment strikes us. Want to go fishing Saturday? call me before 10pm the night before, I really don't need a lot of notice to prepare. But if you want to set up a big fishing expedition 2 weeks in advance, well a lot can happen then. I can't say for certain how I will even feel 2 weeks from now.

      See, this type of attitude is EXACTLY the problem. It shows you only care about YOUR time, not other people's time, only YOUR feelings and moods and not other people's feelings and moods. "I can't say for certain how I will even feel 2 weeks from now" is exactly the type of self-centred, selfish attitude that instant always-connected communication has allowed to proliferate.

      Now, there have ALWAYS been people with attitudes such as yours - the attitudes are nothing new in themselves. However, as a previous p

    • ...it's that I have over-committed my resources.

      United Airlines, is that you?

  • Bailing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:47PM (#54766257) Homepage Journal

    WTF? Bailing doesn't mean not showing up. It means leaving. Flaking means not showing up. The example in TFS even includes the example "gonna have to flake", it's not "gonna have to bail". If you're at the event, and you get a phone call from your bra, then you gotta bail, right?

    • It's "brah" dude. "BRAH"

    • If you're at the event, and you get a phone call from your bra, then you gotta bail, right?

      Most women I know will simply remove the phone from their bra and answer it. No need to bail on the entire even to take a call. That would just be rude.

  • Weak (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:47PM (#54766261)

    I think this post is terrible, I don't come here to read this type of worthless crap.

  • I choose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nnet ( 20306 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @03:50PM (#54766285) Journal
    Bail on me once, shame on me. Bail on me twice, I won't acknowledge your existence anymore. Its simple fucking respect, if you make an arrangement, follow through. We're people, not stupid social media endpoints.
    • My policy on flakes is a little bit more lenient. You flaked on me once? I can still hang out with you. You just lost your plan-ahead privileges. You want to grab some drinks? You mean right now? Sure! Oh, you mean on Thursday. OK, call me on Thursday and we can hang out if I'm free.
    • Re:I choose (Score:4, Interesting)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @04:26PM (#54766543)

      Bail on me once, shame on me. Bail on me twice, I won't acknowledge your existence anymore. Its simple fucking respect, if you make an arrangement, follow through. We're people, not stupid social media endpoints.

      How ironic you bring up social media, a place where humans are nothing more than a product.

      People used to value a real friendship. Now it's all about clicks, likes, and amassing as many "friends" as possible while pointlessly showcasing rampant narcissism, which for some fucking reason has become a valued commodity in society today. Attention Whore is a recognized profession that will probably be further validated by a Doctorate program soon.

      Social media has distorted the very definition of friend so much we now need to invent a new fucking word to better define what a true relationship between two humans really is. Then we need to change human behavior to highlight the value of simple fucking respect.

      • social media, a place where humans are nothing more than a product.

        You're conflating the owner of the media (FB, /.) with the people using it. Unless, of course, you actually see your friends and acquaintances as products.

        People used to value a real friendship.

        They still do, you need to find better friends.

    • Exactly my POV as well.
  • In the comment I post an hour from now.
  • is all these damn kids on my lawn.

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      is all these damn kids on my lawn.

      Old man, I think you are on the wrong thread, the pokemon go thread is over here [slashdot.org]
      </snicker>

  • I associate being a flake with selfishness and self centeredness. Yes the population has been moving that direction, and yes I avoid people like that. Even the flakes appreciate people who aren't flakes and hate each other.
    • I associate being a flake with selfishness and self centeredness.

      That, or being too cowardly to call up and cancel. Which is another kind of selfishness, really.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @04:04PM (#54766393)

    "Bailing" is not a thing, personal responsibility and accountability are things. "Bailing" is a symptom. Computers have made us less accountable for our acts, and less responsible. The only aspect I would say is "new", is that these traits are promoted as good and righteous. Not by everyone, but have you ever "worked" in Silicon Valley? Have you ever attempted to debate UBI on this site?

    In the Military we called it slacking, and if you are a slacker in one area you will be a slacker in another. Basic human nature and psychology.

    Slackers have always been around. The only difference between today and 50 years ago is that slackers are being promoted as the new "norm".

    • Have you ever attempted to debate UBI on this site?

      I have, but its detractors always seem to fail to provide citations for their arguments as to why it can't work, and they keep making the same arguments again and again even after they've been thoroughly discredited, as if stamping their feet and repeating themselves would make their opinions any more valid as fact.

  • Yes means maybe. Maybe means no. No means "I don't like you."
  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @04:05PM (#54766401)

    "Are We Living In the Golden Age of Bailing?"

    No, clearly we're Living In the Golden Age of Slashdot, represented by showers. Clearly someone's taken a piss all over the concept of Stuff that Matters.

    I'd comment further, but I'm gonna bail instead...

  • The writer has undiagnosed clinical depression and is blaming his shitty outlook on the world on technology. I'm genuinely impressed with how much loathing was packed into a short summary.

  • Flakes are hardly new. The writer is either young or stupid (and possibly both).

    The difference between today and yesteryear is that now pretty much everyone is connected 24/7, so there's more pressure to actually communicate that you're going to be a no-show instead of simply not showing up.

    • It started for me actually as a friend gifted to me an answering machine for my landline.

      Still have it, but it is disconnected.

      My iPhone is in "good night mode" till 11AM in the morning. Actually the best feature of a smart phone.

      If the wrong person calls at the wrong time, I cancel the call.

      And on top of that list was for a long time my mother.

      The instant messaging revolution is a revolution because you can ignore all that text as long as you want and can catch up when you feel like it.

      However 90% of the p

      • >Can you imagine working in a company where the boss sends you an email and calls 30 minutes later: "did you receive my email?" ....

        30 minutes? LUXURY!

        I am an information junkie so it took me a long time to 'unplug' after 24/7 connectivity became a thing, but I DID learn.

        My phone only accepts calls from a select few contacts, and phone calls are the only thing that make noise - everything else is generally vibration only, and I turn that off too when I want peace and quiet.

        I grew up in a time when your

  • The problem is YOU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @04:13PM (#54766467)

    If people prefer to spend their time watching crappy TV, rather than spending time with you, that just says that you're not very interesting.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have better things to do than hang around here

  • I've never heard of someone planning to have drinks with someone Thursday on a Monday. Who makes casual plans like that?
    • Half of my friends ...
      And often Monday and Thursday are not in the same week.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I've never heard of someone planning to have drinks with someone Thursday on a Monday. Who makes casual plans like that?

      People that have complex daily lives?
      If you are a single parent with kids, grabbing drinks mean you need a sitter. That means you need to schedule work for someone else.
      Some people that work with strange schedules and the likelihood you will catch them on a particular day is low..
      If you really want to grad a drink with a particular someone (as opposed to anyone), you better make a precise plan, otherwise he/she might have a plan that does require more preparation.
      Maybe Thursday is your next free evening aft

    • I've never heard of someone planning to have drinks with someone Thursday on a Monday. Who makes casual plans like that?

      Bars don't require people to brings friends. You just sit at them and order drinks. After a few drinks you start talking to other people at the bar.

  • Are We Living In the Golden Age of Bailing?

    Growing up, I was repeatedly taught "there are no stupid questions, except for unasked ones".

    Well... Slashdot just proved that old saw false. What the heck kind of stupid question is this, anyway?

    • Well... Slashdot just proved that old saw false. What the heck kind of stupid question is this, anyway?

      From the dep't of betteridge's legal services

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @04:33PM (#54766581)

    "What do you folks think?"

    That if this is your problem then you don't have any real friends.

    Seriously. Reevaluate your relationships with people if this is what they're doing to you.

  • Age of Planshopping and Flaking? Yes.
    Golden? Wouldn't call it that.

    Here's the deal: Social media and always on culture shorten attention spans to a minimum and cyberpunk culture disintegrates social ties we've had since the early age of man. Planshopping and bailing are a sideeffect of this. I dislike it a lot and try to sniff out and steer clear of people who indulge in this before wasting my time with them. Likewise I try my hardest to cherish the people who can treat me fair and with respect, keep an app

  • Bailing is nothing new, and it has not increased.

    Bailing is pure bullshit - I have never bailed on plans with a friend and never will. That is the definition of friendship. I might not want to go when the time arrives but guess what, I do, and am usually happy I did, because I feel good about keeping to my word and seeing a real friend is always good too.

    Acquaintances on the other hand? Bail away... And here is a clue, people who bail on you are not your friends, they are acquaintances.
    • That's an unusual definition of friendship.

      • Doing what you promised to do is not an unusual definition of friendship.
      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

        That's an unusual definition of friendship.

        Everyone's definition is different. Do you want people you can rely on through thick and thin? Or just people to have fun with?

        I tend to agree with GP and call the first kind "friend" and the second kind "acquaintance". You can have fun with complete strangers, but you can't rely on them in a time of need.

        Besides, if your friends will happily bail on you at the drop of a hat, who do you turn to when things go south and your life's in the gutter? As someone much wiser than me once said:

        A friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.

  • I guess the problem is very simple. People "agree" (in fact get convinced and are to weak to say "no!") on something they are not committed to.
    And the closer the date/time comes the more uncomfortable they get. And then shortly before the event: they bail out.

    Has lots to do with how you spent your evenings (different countries do that completely different, e.g. I like Spain and Italy, of course also France).

    I actually don't really like to meet "old school" in a restaurant/pub with a prescheduled date. I eit

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

      I actually don't really like to meet "old school" in a restaurant/pub with a prescheduled date. I either go there and we meet by accident or we don't or we do it on short notice. Short notice means half a day max: "what are you doing this evening?" And then I can bail out right away: "Oh, I'm occupied!"

      That's fine if you're just going for dinner or drinks, but what if you're going somewhere that requires you to buy plane tickets?

  • This isn't a new thing, all my life I've found some people bail often. We call them "flakes".

    I don't bail unless it's for a really good reason (car trouble, or I can give plenty of lead time (24 hours).
  • What's wrong with planning stuff? I don't know about other folks but it sure as hell helps me get through tough/dreary times when I know I have something fun coming up.

    People cancel yeah, it happens, and is understandable. This article talks of people I wouldn't keep around me very long though, and you know what they say, good friends are hard to find.

  • not to mention the decline of civilization, the collapse of morality and the ruination of all we hold dear.

    Those damn kids on their motorybikes and that blasted rock and roll music! I knew it would end badly! Next they'll be taking drugs and playing that evil Dungeons and Dragons!!!!

  • I find myself "bailing" on events I was high pressured into in person, often held semi-captive, but then divesting myself of it when I had freedom again. Often, for example, people assume that you do not like them if you do not agree to their request. That's rarely true. It's more convenient to agree to go, then not go. There are limits of course, if someone is spending money on the event or going out of their way I will be blunt (ex. weddings) but thats about it.

    The only trend in society that may be destructive to in-person relationships is that there is *always* plenty to do. Meat-space meetings with friends are pretty confining and limited in scope, rarely with any expected gain. I also imagine there was a day when one might be so bored that one didn't bail, that even a dubious meeting might be preferable to sitting on your couch watching The Jeffersons. But that day is well in the rear-view.

    In reality I do not want, nor do I ever seek social events of any kind, everything I want or need is in my house at my keyboard, with the exception of time. That I never have in the quantity I would like. If I accept such an invitation I'm almost certain to bail but felt like I had to accept due to some real or imagined pressure on me. I will never do the inviting, and if I do you can be sure I won't bail on YOU, that really is rude. I have had people arrange large get-togethers from diverse social groups who bail, leaving those groups confused and stuck with each other...that's just a dick move.

    • It's a dick move to say you're going to be somewhere if you have no intention of going. We call that being a liar, and nobody likes liars. The payback for doing that enough times is that people think you're a lying dick who can't be counted on.

    • In reality I do not want, nor do I ever seek social events of any kind, everything I want or need is in my house at my keyboard, with the exception of time. That I never have in the quantity I would like. If I accept such an invitation I'm almost certain to bail but felt like I had to accept due to some real or imagined pressure on me. I will never do the inviting, and if I do you can be sure I won't bail on YOU, that really is rude. I have had people arrange large get-togethers from diverse social groups who bail, leaving those groups confused and stuck with each other...that's just a dick move.

      So essentially, you are an extremely anti-social person (you do not seek social events of any kind) who feels awkward while communicating with other people (you accept invitations to events because you feel some sort of pressure, and cannot say no to a person's face). That's fine, and actually I sympathize with your position, however you should realize you are in the minority and not exactly qualified to comment on the state of "in-person meat-space" relationships.

  • Eh, I'll have to pass. No comment.

  • I blame Columbine.
  • But eh, it was behind a paywall, and, you see, I'm going to have to flake on reading paywalled content tonight.
  • Sorry, I was going to read TFS and TFA, but I flaked.

  • Surrender your phones before any social gathering and its obvious what the problem really is. No one knows how to act in a group anymore.
  • I think the hyperbole is strong with this one..

    not to mention the decline of civilization, the collapse of morality and the ruination of all we hold dear.

    Really? The ruination of all we hold dear? I didn't realize the whole of modern society was relying on me making it to a Thursday night party. Guess I better brush up on my beer pong!

    Other than that, this seems like "No duh, but with internet!" Time and energy are scarce resources for most people, and we're not all taught how to manage them properly. Energy especially. You can find time management courses if you feel you need them but I've never heard of

  • I have a most convincing proof of his thesis. I'll post it tomorrow.

  • by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @12:01AM (#54767981)
    ...is that slashdot is officially dead, as there is no more news for nerds nor stuff that matters. I find it unbelievable that we now have "articles" that are nothing more than someone whining about no one wanting to hang out with them. I can't even call this fake news. SAD.
  • by s1d3track3D ( 1504503 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @01:01AM (#54768105)
    I'm totally gonna comment on this article in a few minutes
    ...
    ...
    oh sorry, can't get to it after all, cool? raincheck for sure thou...
  • If I keep inviting someone to meet up and they flake out repeatedly, I just stop asking them. I'm not worried about it--if they can't bring themselves to participate, then I suppose they're not that interested and I move on. I'd rather invite people who will actually show up, and the ones who don't are obviously happier doing whatever they do, possibly including vegging on their couch. Not my problem. It's a win-win, right?
  • No, and we don't even need Betteridge for this.

    What we are in is the diamond encrusted platinum age of retarded news stories.

"It says he made us all to be just like him. So if we're dumb, then god is dumb, and maybe even a little ugly on the side." -- Frank Zappa

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