There is an expression made famous by fictional character George Costanza from the hit TV show Seinfeld. When he wanted to break up with someone, he said, “It’s not you it’s me.” In this case, I might say, “it’s not you, it’s them.” In some respects, what you may be describing is the nature of people.
Take, for instance, the last minute cancellations by your coworkers. You sent out reminders and requests asking people to respond by a particular date because you knew what would happen if they were to wait. You did everything you could to ensure a particular outcome and still it did not work. There is nothing else you could have done.
Many people wait until last minute to do almost everything. One good example is taxes. The analysts from FiveThirtyEight.com wrote an article with an informative title: “Everyone Files Their Taxes at the Last Minute.” They characterized Americans as a “nation of procrastinators.” Over 20 million people waited until the last minute to submit their tax returns. It’s not personal; some people (perhaps many people) are procrastinators.
Anecdotally, I noticed this same kind of procrastination among college students. Most students write their papers “last-minute.” Certainly, there are some conscientious students who spend the appropriate amount of time working on their papers. They start in advance, leaving enough time for proper editing and refinement of their papers, and so forth but it is not the norm. They are procrastinators. It is not personal; it’s typical.
Maybe your coworkers meant to RSVP but forgot because they were too busy. Some of them may not have been courteous enough to reply to your RSVP. Others are undoubtedly procrastinators. The main issue is not necessarily the behavior of your coworkers, but your emotional reaction to it. Rather than be disappointed, adjust your expectations. Avoid taking it personally. They have the right to live their life their own way, just as you do. Respect that right. They will fail or prosper based on the choices they make. Do what you can to help but back off completely when you recognize that your help is not wanted.
It may be that you have yet to find the right friend or group of friends. You may be searching for friends in all of the wrong places. But you should not give up. It takes time to develop quality friendships. Good relationships require a great deal of energy. Expand your search for friends beyond those only in your spatial proximity. I hope this helps, if only in some small way. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle