Flak­ing on a friend: how bad is it, re­ally?

Women's Health Australia - - WARM UP -

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.


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.


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.

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