A new study has found that those who cancel plans last minute also tend to have "darker" personality traits, including Machiavellianism (being manipulative and having a lack of morals) and narcissism (extremely self-absorbed). Great!
Given that at one point in time we've likely all been the person to send a last-minute "Sorry but something's come up!'" text, does that then mean we're, err, all rotten-to-the-core humans who need deleting or rebooting? Thankfully not! The research explains—as of course sometimes life will get in the way and we'll need to take the odd rain check—it's when canceling plans becomes a regular habit that it veers into the worrying territory.
The research, published in Personality and Individual Differences that was spearheaded by Silke M. Müller, also seems to suggest that when the aforementioned individuals tend to bail on plans with others at short notice, it's often when something "better" comes along. The plan-cancellers are also said to exhibit higher levels of impulsivity and procrastination.
During their study, the team of researchers asked 190 participants (who ranged in age from 17 to 30) to fill in questionnaires that included a "Social Zapping Scale," a spectrum designed to assess their tendency to cancel appointments at short notice. The said survey also took into account the person's tendency to have FOMO, how likely they are to be impulsive or procrastinate, as well as what's known as the "Dark Triad" personality traits: Psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism.
After testing, the researchers discovered that when examining all of the recorded traits, all were positively linked to "social zapping" and that predictors of a "social zapper" included impulsivity, narcissism, and procrastination. However, the strongest predictor that somebody was likely to 'social zap' and inconvenience another person was Machiavellianism.
The team noted that this makes sense, given that 'social zapping' behavior is generally a very self-centered way of going about things and pays the other person (or people) involved in the plans very little mind.
As procrastination was also found to be a predictor of a social zapper, the study theorizes that they could also be delaying the final decision of whether or not to uphold (or confirm) plans until the very last minute, too. Which just sounds doubly annoying and selfish.
So, what can we learn from all this? Well, if you've recently started dating or hanging out with somebody new, but they appear to have a habit of ditching you in the eleventh hour, then they're probably a gigantic Machiavellian narcissist who you'd be better off without? Or maybe they just need a better diary. Who knows...
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.