How I Realized I’d Become The Flaky Friend

December 30, 2015

Being a serial ditcher is seriously disrespectful.

‘Just checking you’re still on for tomorrow?’ the text asked.

‘Yes, definitely, can’t wait!’ I replied. I genuinely meant it. Then a project at work fell through and I had to fly into first gear to find an emergency solution. Feeling slightly shell-shocked having been blindsided with last minute stress, it was after 9pm when I left the office feeling totally out of gas.

What I should have done is sent a text when I got home to cancel breakfast plans for the morning, but my eyes had lost the ability to focus. I should have explained how my day had turned into a fraught horror show but I didn’t have the brainwaves to string a sentence together. More importantly, I really wanted to have a good night’s sleep, wake up feeling rejuvenated, throw my arms in the air whilst doing a big stretch and smile to greet the day like a girl in a breakfast cereal TV ad.

Instead, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, my mind doing formula one laps of fretting over whether I’d forgotten anything crucial in the whirlwind of panic in the last few hours. I eventually fell asleep after 3am and when my alarm buzzed at 6am, I prised my tired eyes open just long enough to turn it off and send a text to cancel. It was four hours later when I finally woke up and found an angry reply saying, ‘I specifically checked you were on for today. You’ve now messed up my entire day.’

A tad harsh perhaps; I’m not sure anyone’s day can really be ruined by having to make alternative breakfast arrangements. However, as it was the latest in a string of selfish date letdowns on my part, I deserved her wrath. What she meant was, ‘Could you give me more notice next time? I have a life too.’

My unpredictable work life was throwing friendships off kilter and understandable as my weariness was, being a serial ditcher is incredibly disrespectful.

Just because my body ran out of energy didn’t mean I didn’t want to see my friends, I simply didn’t have the energy to relocate my frazzled body to the arranged spot at the agreed time.

Not all FFs (Flaky Friends) bail because of exhaustion. Some friends are actually more introvert than they let on, meaning they constantly come up with excuses. Others are habitually late, and not just five minutes late, these FFs arrive an hour or more after the planned time which can scupper plans as much as not showing up. Movie dates? Forget it. And then there are friends who actually don’t give a damn that they’re constantly letting you down. If they’re genuinely uninterested in the friendship, it can be best to save yourself the trouble and walk away. Their loss.

My friendship would have been very much my loss. I did care, I did want to see her and I did feel terrible for letting her down. We agreed that, much as early morning plans were her ‘thing’, they probably weren’t going to work until I readdressed my work/life balance. The key to stop being the friend who flakes is making realistic arrangements and being honest.

That fond friendship was saved by a day trip to a spa and our bond was massaged back into place. Every friendship needs to be nurtured and pampered if it is valued.

Ditching plans has become an epidemic in recent years now cell phones have made it so easy to cancel. Being able to get in touch in a millisecond and move the goal post with a quick text has made most of us thoughtless about the impact it causes on someone else’s life.

We all need to get back to our roots, make a plan, and stick to it as if we didn’t have a phone to reach for to change it. Or we may find ourselves with a phone that’s stopped ringing, altogether.

Comment: Do you have, or are you guilty of being a flaky friend? 


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