If you want to piss me off, if you want to do something that will cause me to hold a grudge, simply agree to meet me somewhere and then don’t show up. Nothing upsets me more or faster that being stood up.
For example. I scheduled a lunch with a bunch of the people I used to work with. I used Google Calendar. I actually am nerdy enough that I tested on myself to see what happens when a non-Google mail/calendar user gets a Google Calendar invite. The email comes with some nifty links so that you can respond: “yes”, “no”, or “maybe.” Easy. One-click and you’ve given common courtesy to the person scheduling the event.
Some of the people I invited I knew would not come. They never eat lunch out for their own reasons and I can respect that. I only invited them because they are friends and, well, friends invite friends to lunch. Of the ten or twelve invitations I sent out one person said maybe, and two others declined. Two more managed to indicate they were coming without successfully using the “yes” link in the email announcement.
So I went and stood around like a idiot for 30 minutes while no one showed up. The location was out of the way for me, 15 minutes each way; so an hour into this deal and I still don’t have lunch.
It would take, what, 30 seconds to pick up a cell phone, poke my entry in the address book and say, “Hey, I can’t come, I’m sorry.” No calls. No emails, no last-minute updates to the calendar. Nothing.
I don’t care if work keeps you busy. Personally I think using work as an excuse to not have a 60 minute lunch with a friend indicates an imbalance in your priorities, but then I’m strange. And even if you are going to use the “I’m suddenly too busy to come” excuse you have to actually broadcast that excuse somehow. Not caring enough for me and my feelings to make that 30 second phone call really frosts me.
So if you are reading this, and you previously said you were coming to lunch and you couldn’t be bothered to call or show up, then understand that I got your message. Same to you.