Flaking on a friend: how bad is it, really?
Look, it’s not great, but it is a part of modern life. A recent Groupon survey states 85 per cent of us have been stung by friends and family cancelling plans at the last minute, which suggests most of us are guilty of an impromptu bail occasionally. But if you or someone in your life is flakier than a croissant on the regs, it’s an issue worth addressing.
IF YOU’RE THE FLAKE
Think about why you’re cancelling. Are you just disorganised, or does this point to a bigger issue such as burnout? Either way, skip feeling bad about it and own up. “Recognise the impact you’re having, not just on others but on your own social and emotional wellbeing,” says psychologist Jocelyn Brewer. If you’re going through a tough time, be honest with your friend and let them know you might be a bit flaky, but you’ll do your best to make it up to them.
IF YOU’RE THE FLAKEE
Try not to take it personally. “There’s usually more going on, which is why going into a conversation with curiosity and empathy is key,” says Brewer. Stay calm and say (or text) something like, “That’s a shame, I was really looking forward to seeing you, is everything OK with you?” or, “I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but this happens quite a bit – is there something happening that we could work around?” It could open up a convo that leads to a deeper friendship. And if not? Give the friendship some space and hang out with mates who won’t bail.