There’s nothing more disappointing than sitting in your favorite coffee shop or sandwich place waiting for a friend, only to get a text at the last minute: “Hey girl! I’m sorry, I COMPLETELY forgot, I have to meet with my professor/walk my dog/take a nap this morning! Can we reschedule?”
Or maybe you’re getting ready to go out. You’ve applied your last coat of mascara and you’re grabbing your bag and heading out the door, and all of a sudden you get a G-chat: “I think I’m just going to stay in tonight. You guys have fun, though!”
Or, even more frustrating, maybe you haven’t seen a friend for weeks or months. Every time you run into her, she swears you’ll “get together soon!” - but without fail, every phone call, text, IM, Facebook message, @mention and smoke signal you send her way goes unanswered.
If any of these stories sound familiar, you may have a flaky friend. Fortunately, there’s still hope - no one’s flaky without reason. Read on for the different types of flaky friends, and how you can fix things with each one...
The Friend Who Doesn’t Realize She’s a Flake
Friends who are unknowingly unreliable are particularly frustrating. They miss lunch dates, they cancel shopping trips at the last minute, they never schedule plans themselves — and worst of all, they never apologize. But a growing list of last-minute cancellations and a failure to mutter even the faintest “I’m sorry” doesn’t necessarily mean your friend is rude or uncaring. She may not even realize she’s letting you down.
That was the case for Allison Lantero, a Boston College ’11 grad and former Her Campus contributing writer. “She would constantly cancel at the last minute and didn’t even realize it,” Allison says of her own hard-to-reach friend. “When we did spend time together though, we always had a blast. But if it was a group activity, I always found myself running plans by her first, and she would still often cancel.”
Dr. Irene Levine, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend and the guru behind The Friendship Blog, recommends confronting a friend who is frequently flaky or irresponsible.
“She may have a problem getting things done or keeping track of things for any number of different reasons, and she may not even be aware of the problem it is creating for her or for others,” Dr. Levine says. “If it is a persistent problem and you value the friendship, you probably want to bring it to your friend’s attention and see if there is a reasonable explanation.”
Allison says a lighthearted confrontation with her own flaky friend worked wonders. “Once we started calling her out on it, she became less scatterbrained, especially when she realized all that she was missing out on,” she says.
So if you have a friend who simply doesn’t realize she’s letting you down, find a time to talk with her. If you’re close enough, simply show up when you know she won’t be busy. Without being rude or accusatory, point out how often she’s canceled on you lately, and explain that you’re having a great time with your other friends but you miss seeing her. Coming face-to-face with the number of times she’s canceled and the amount of fun she’s missed might be all it takes to stop this friend’s forgetfulness for good.