A lot of us have at least one flaky friend, as unfortunate as that sounds. Flaky friends, to those who aren’t aware of the term, are those who cancel plans at the last minute. If none of your friends are like this, you’ve most likely had one in the past or will have one in the future.
Flaky friends can either be extremely inconvenient or outright disrespectful. What should you do if you find yourself with a flaky friend? Do you let them go immediately? Do you call them out on it? Or do you simply allow them to remain flaky until they see light on their own? That’s what this article is going to talk about. Here are the things you can do if you have flaky friends.
Understand why they constantly cancel plans
There are a lot of reasons why people end up canceling plans. Before you take any drastic measures or call out your friend on it, understand first the reason as to why they cancel plans constantly. Start at the base and work from there.
If your friend recently got promoted, that could be a very viable reason as to why they’ve been flaky. However, if they were already flaky prior to said promotion, then that’s another story. If they’re going through a rough patch, that’s something you can consider too. Whatever the case, you first need to understand their reasons before you do anything moving forward.
Let them know how their actions are being perceived
If you and the flaky friend are a part of a group, one safe and acceptable option you can take is to let your friend know how their actions are being perceived by others. Flaking on plans can end up dampening the group’s fun. It can also affect other things such as budget and availability, depending on the plan. But most importantly, it can cause offense. If one person doesn’t care enough to show up when everyone else did, negative emotions are only understandable.
When confronting your friend, there’s no need to be hostile. Simply let them know how their actions are being perceived as if you’re only conveying a message. It’s then up to them how they’ll perceive your words.
Another very sensible thing to do is to simply ask. What better way of clearing things up than open communication? This way, your approach is healthy, helpful, and it will allow them to gain perspective. This goes hand in hand with letting them know how their actions are being perceived. If you let them know how their flakiness has affected you and your other friends and you ask them why they’ve been that way, it will force them to internalize their recent actions.
Not only is this helpful for them, but it’s helpful for you too. At the very least, you’ll understand why they’ve been a flaky friend.
Don’t make plans that rely on their attendance
If you have a flaky friend, then it’s only sensible that you make plans that don’t rely on their attendance. It’s awful that you need to go this route, but it’s a good measure to take given their behavior. It will be good for you and your other friends to simply expect them not to show up.
Unless the number of people is something you need to know beforehand like if you’re going out of town and checking in at a hotel, don’t count on their attendance. That way, you and your other friends won’t be inconvenienced by the absence of your flaky friend.
Make plans that are accessible
This is something you can do that helps your flaky friend. Make plans that are accessible to them. For example, set up lunch and dinner plans at a place that’s close to their place of work or home. That way, you can at least make the trip convenient for them.
If they still don’t show up when you’re the one who’s adjusting for their sake, then that’s a whole other story.
Adjust to their schedule
Another thing you can do for your friend is to adjust to their schedule. If they’ve been incredibly busy lately, whether with work or personal family matters, make sure they’re still able to hang out with you by adjusting to their schedule.
Ask them when they can be free. Ask for a day that’s completely vacant. A day where they can really hang out. By this point, you’ll be going the extra mile for the sake of your friendship. This is something you’ll want to do if they’re really busy and have very little time for socializing.
Put yourself in their position
This is something you can do to help you understand your friend better. Try to be empathetic and see their perspective. What if it isn’t their intention to be flaky? What if there are just way too many things going in their lives right now that they’re unable to hang out with you? As much as they want to, they end up constantly canceling plans because of how busy they are.
This is a minor thing but it will help you approach them with more kindness and civility. At least be empathetic with them, regardless of the reason why they’ve been so flaky lately. Besides, if the issue goes beyond time restrictions and schedules, we’re going to be talking about that later on.
Make them understand that it’s okay for them to decline
Instead of them canceling plans at the last minute, reiterate the fact that it is completely okay for them to decline invitations. You’re all adults and you all understand responsibility and commitment. Let them know that you’ll understand them if they decline an invitation from you. Make it known that that’s better than them canceling plans at the last minute.
Don’t ever personally attack them
No matter what happens, even if things begin to be too tough for you, never attack them personally. Be the bigger man here and enforce a level of understanding about you. If they flake multiple plans in a row, you can call them out, but never directly attack them personally.
Keep your cool and your wits about you. It can be terrible, yes, but you’ll make situations much worse if you attack them personally instead.
Find other ways to spend time with them
In this day and age, there are so many more ways to interact with a person other people. Just in the past year or two, the use of video conferencing apps and sites such as Skype and Zoom rose exponentially. That said, if the two of you can’t catch up in person, you can always converse digitally.
Send them a video call every once in a while. Ask them when they’re free and set up a video call. This will never be the same as interacting with someone in person, but it’s an alternative you can take given your situation.
Allow you and your friend to have a little distance
It can also be helpful to you and your friend if you allow the both of you to have a distance for a while. If they’re currently being flaky and there’s a proper reason for that, then give them space. Allow them to have time to sort out their affairs. In time, they’ll find time again.
You’ll have to be very understanding for this to work. Of course, this can only work if the reason why your friend is being so flaky lately is legitimate.
Be comfortable with doing things on your own
If you used to do things with your friend around, get used to the idea of doing those things on your own now. Besides, this will be good for you mentally and spiritually. There’s something very cathartic and therapeutic about doing things on your own. Find comfort in these aspects.
If there’s a TV show you used to watch constantly with your friend, try watching that TV show on your own. If you used to go to certain places with your friend, try going to that place alone and see what the experience is like when it’s just you there. You might just enjoy the experience.
Spend time with your other friends
Even though you have one or more flaky friends, don’t forget that you have other friends as well. With that in mind, be sure to spend time with them too. If your flaky friend can’t find enough time to hang out with you, then see that as an opportunity to hang out with your other friends.
It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t treat your other friends as rebounds. Don’t make them feel like you’re only spending time with them because one of your friends can’t find the time to hang out with you. Make sure you constantly nourish your friendship with your other friends
Don’t take things too personally
Even if it feels personal, and perhaps it can be, don’t let this affect the way move forward. It is very important that you remain level-headed. If it is personal and they’re being flaky with you because they just don’t have the motivation to hang out with you, do the sensible thing. Exit with grace instead of being chaotic.
This can be very tough to do, but it’s something you’ll need to do for your own peace of mind. Know that there are better things out there for you and there are other friends you need to appreciate and other people you can befriend.
Know if they’re also flaky to their other friends
If your flaky friend also has other friends, it will help you gain perspective to know whether they’re flaky to them as well or if the situation is isolated to you. If they’re also flaky to them, then you’ll know that this is a habit your flaky friend has with everyone. However, if they’re flaky only with you, then your friendship with them may be in jeopardy.
This is an assessment you need to do to know whether the problem is with your flaky friend or if your friendship with them is the one in question. You may not like the answers you’ll find, but it’s something you need to do for your sake.
Assess the future of the friendship
If it becomes obvious that your friend has no interest in being there for you, no matter how many times you ask them, how convenient you’ve made things for them, and how understanding you’ve been, your next step should be to assess the future of your friendship.
You should always put yourself first. If staying in that friendship is causing more pain than fulfillment, it’s time for you to end that friendship. I’ll reiterate once more, though. End the friendship with grace. Don’t say any needless hurtful things. You can exit without a word if you want to, but it’s much better if you let your thoughts known first before you depart ways.
Explore new friendships
There are so many people in this world and no one is an island. Just in your neighborhood alone, you’ll be able to meet people who can be friends with you. That said, try exploring new friendships if you happen to part ways with your flaky friend. Use that experience as a teachable moment. Moving forward, be more understanding, but you should also be more aware of the red flags.
What you should do right now is to appreciate the friends you already have and be excited with the prospect of making new ones. Go out there and socialize. Meet new people. Make new friends. This process is wonderful and fulfilling. Be sure to have fun with it.
Having a flaky friend is an immensely awful experience. It can be very hurtful, and if it ends horribly, it can somewhat put you off with the idea of making friends. However, never allow this predicament to put you down. While there are indeed flaky friends out there, there are also those who will go out of their way to be there for you. Just keep that in mind the next time you go out there to meet new people and make new friends.