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Am I being ignored? - If only we learn to surrender

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November 1st, 2010

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08:48 am - Am I being ignored?
Last Friday, Jas called to cancel on me for dinner. She was apologetic and said something like, "I'm sorry to cancel, I know that people have been canceling on you a lot and you get upset about it, but I can't help it" (or some words to that effect). After the call, I thought - is that really true? Did people cancel on me as frequently as she is saying or did I blow it out of proportion?

As a proponent of behavioural theory, I suddenly realize that I can prove this. I have all my calendar appointments and therefore I can actually check if this is true. Behavioural psychology, in case you are wondering, focuses on people's actions as oppose to people's intent (cognitive). It's a huge area of study that covers Skinnerism and Pavlovian conditioning. The premise is that it is less important the reasons why people do things, but the fact that they did it. It's the whole "why bother to apologize when you don't do anything about it?" argument. I am less concerned about WHY my appointments were canceled, but that it WAS canceled. And also, I love statistics and behavioural theory is all about numbers, statistics, graphs and charts. I'm a geek like that. :)

So here's what I found out for the entire month of October.

1. For the month of October, I have made 29 attempts to go for drinks or dinner with someone. I decided to exclude "impromptu" appointments ("Hey, what are you doing later today? Wanna join me for a drink?"). That dropped the number of 25 planned appointments. Note that when I say planned appointments, I mean "Yes, I'll meet up with you next Tuesday for dinner". I'm not talking about plans which were rejected ("Nope, can't make it next week") and was never scheduled.

2. The 25 appointments represents hanging out with 11 sets of people - 4 couples, 1 men, 6 women. As a side note, all cancellations are made by women.

3. Of the 25 appointments, a whopping 36% was canceled/rescheduled, representing 9 canceled appointments.

4. If I take the top offender off the list, my cancellation rate drops to 20%. If I take the top two offenders off the list, my cancellation rate drops to 12%.

So my conclusions -
1. I make way too many dinner / drink plans every month. I'm starting to question why I'm doing this. Initially, I thought it was for the company and it was fun. Now, I'm not too sure. Also, as another interesting statistic, I only cook 6 times of the 25, a lot less than I initially assumed.
2. Apparently what Jas said is true - I do get blown off a lot. As Jas said to me, "I'm not trying to be critical, but why do you even bother to go out with (the top 2 offenders) again?"

(1 comment | Leave a comment)


(Deleted comment)
Date:November 1st, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
haha.. in your case, i think you need to find the motivation on why they want to hang out with you. Because to me, if someone cancels on you a lot for no reason (or some flimsy reason), AND you are the one making all the appointments, it is an indication that they are not interested in you, no matter if they complain about never hanging out.

To me it is about investment and commitment. It takes no commitment on their part to say "hey, why don't we hang out anymore?". But it take some commitment to actually do it.

Like everything else, you can only respond and react to any situation - you can only control what you do next. Do you want to continue asking fully understanding that she may continue to cancel on you? I do this with some people because it is low investment but relatively high rewards to me, ie if she cancels, I know I can replace it with something else; however if it does happen, it's great. Or do you just say, screw it - it's a waste of my time and I have better things to do. It's about perceived value and what you get out of the relationship.

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