When I lived in Los Angeles in the 1980s, a common phrase in the entertainment industry was "let's do lunch." Its meaning had little to do with sitting down to eat - rather, it was a sarcastic play on Hollywood-speak that really meant "drop dead - I'll probably never be in contact again."
Seems like we're doing a lot of lunch lately. I was just going through this past week's correspondence, and the number of people who never responded to me - or worse, glowingly promised things and then went ostrich - is truly amazing. There are a lot of people out there whose mommas never taught them to answer e-mails or phone calls.
Now, of course, there are times when no response is absolutely called for. If I am trying to sell you something and you aren't interested, you don't owe me a call. (I don't do cold-call telemarketing anyway. Ewww.) And I'm not even counting all those people who are late paying my invoices or following up on projects with me - that's life in the self-employment lane.
I'm thinking more about people who breathlessly ask to meet with me and then disappear off the face of the earth. Those special ones who send me an e-mail, leave off the attachment, and never respond to my request to send it again. And then there are all those garden variety I'll-get-back-to-you-next-week-but-not-really types. Yada yada yada.
Mind you, this isn't most people. The vast majority I deal with are absolutely wonderful folks who are generally as responsive as I am. But there are a few who are the communications skills equivalent of people who leave the seat up, and they seem to come in waves. This week just happens to be a bigger wave than usual.
So, is society really getting more rude? I'll call you next week about it. Promise.