There are certain types of friends we all have. The Drama Queen. The Beauty Queen. The Chats With Everyone and Kind of Embarrasses You But Really You’re Just Jealous and In Awe Of Her Queen.
But this post is not about any of those friends. This is about The Flake.
You know who I’m talking about. The friend who bails on your dinner date. And then does it twice more. And then you find yourself trying to schedule plans with a new friend, and saying things like “Well, I technically have a dinner next Thursday, but she always cancels so I doubt it will actually happen.”
I wrote that very sentence to a new friend today and she said something that really struck a chord. She described this flaking species as “People who have the potential to be very dear friends but you just don’t trust them to actually follow through. … And if they don’t care enough to stick with our date (or at least give ample notice when stuff comes up) then how do I feel valued enough to tell them my deepest darkest secrets or ask them to help me move?”
And yet, flaking has become more and more acceptable. Even expected.
Last Sunday, I had plans with a newish friend. At 10 that morning I called her. An hour later I texted. (I am not a stalker, really. But given the current state of phone calls I wasn’t sure she’d get the voicemail.) She called back soon enough and told me that since we hadn’t spoken to confirm she didn’t think we were still on. I told her not to worry, that once I make a plan I put it in the calendar and stick to it. “Ooooh, that’s good to know,” she said. She seemed surprised. We ended up going on a glorious walk.
As someone who assumes we’re on unless told otherwise, I couldn’t believe I was the one who had to give the disclaimer. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t the bailer be the one wearing a warning sign?
There are plenty of common courtesy elements I need to work on—namely, returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner. And canceling plans isn’t the worst thing in the world. Sometimes there’s absolutely nothing better than having someone bail on you at the last minute. The gift of a free evening is no small thing.
But it’s worth noting that, as my friend pointed out, when you become The Flake, people often stop trusting you to show up. Even when it counts.
Do you have a Flake in your life? Do you mind it? Do you agree that if someone continuously cancels at the last minute, she probably doesn’t value your friendship as much as you’d like? Or is flaking nothing more than the product of the crazybusy world we live in? And, is the “just confirming we’re on for tomorrow” email just standard operating procedure nowadays? If you are The Flake, speak your piece below!