I’m going to rant. Here’s a recent day:
I have so much to take care of today. It’s a Wednesday, which means I have three back-to-back-to-back teaching/tutoring clients. After getting my morning tasks done, I head out to see my first client. Halfway through class, I get a text: my last client wants to push back by an hour. That’s mostly fine – I can stop somewhere to read for an hour – but it means I won’t get home in time for the call I have scheduled in the evening. I could try to reschedule the call, but then who knows when it’ll happen – finding times that work is such a pain. What I could do instead is hang out outside, in my final client’s neighborhood, and read some more while I wait for the call time, and then head home after the call. It means I won’t be able to take care of all the errands I had planned for tonight, but that’s alright. Those can always just be pushed to another day.
I follow the plan. Once I’m done with my final client, I send a message over to the person I was to have a call with. Maybe he can speak earlier? No response. No problem, presumably he’s got something to take care of before the call. I read and wait.
The time arrives, so I make the call. No response. Okay. I send another text. I wait another ten minutes. I try again. Nothing. This is somewhat upsetting, but alright. Maybe something happened. I wait a couple more minutes, then head home.
The next day I get the message: sorry! I forgot!
So, look. It’s not this guy’s fault that I had a crazy schedule that day. I probably should have scheduled the day a bit better anyway – trying to squeeze a perfect progression of events into a day is usually a recipe for failure. And the consequences here weren’t a big deal. So I had to wait a while and push some things back. This is really first world problems at its peak.
The fact remains: “I forgot” is a slightly politer way of saying “fuck you.”
It means you didn’t care enough to take five seconds to put our appointment into a calendar. Or, if you did, something came up, and you didn’t take five seconds to let me know. You knew you could just say “sorry, I forgot” later.
“I forgot” doesn’t mean you’re so busy and have so much going on that you can’t find the time to keep track of things. Anyone who is actually busy is someone who can keep track of commitments.
“I forgot” doesn’t mean you have a cute character quirk of forgetfulness. It doesn’t mean you’re so in the moment that you forget about plans. It’s not an innocent oversight.
It means that you don’t care about other people’s needs and commitments. You don’t care that people actually make choices – choices that impact their lives – around the assumption that they can trust your word.
The choice to keep track of commitments responsibly is not a personal choice. It’s not a lifestyle choice. It’s not just about making things work for you. It’s not about being the “type of person” who uses a calendar or not.
It’s about not being an asshole.