"But You Said You’d Be There!": How to Deal With Flaky Friends

Should You Keep Your Flaky Friend Around?

Ultimately, the suggestions above will only work if your friend is willing to change. If she’s not, it’s time to evaluate whether she really wants to be in your life (and whether you really want her in yours).

Chantal, the collegiette who learned the importance of communication when dealing with faltering friendships, found that even that method sometimes falls flat. “I wanted to believe that we were really close, but apparently it wasn’t that way to her,” she says of her own flaky friend. “Whenever I really needed to confide in her, she’d never text me back or give me the advice that I needed.”

Although Chantal was able to fix her own flaky ways when a busy schedule made her unreliable, she found that an unsupportive friendship was a bit tougher to deal with. Eventually, the relationship fell apart. Chantal still talks to the girl in question, but doesn’t consider her a friend. “It’s difficult to find the worst in people, but at the end of the day, you see who’s really going to be there for you,” she says.

Dr. Levine says collegiettes need to determine for themselves whether a flaky friend is worth keeping around. “Whether or not it is worthwhile depends on a number of factors, including the length of time you have been friends, how close you are, the reason for the flakiness, how tolerant you are of such behavior, and whether she’s making efforts to correct it,” she says. Ultimately, if you’ve talked to your friend and she still hasn’t changed, whether you keep her in your life is up to you. Don’t feel guilty if you decide to cut ties.

What if You’re the Flake?

Sometimes it’s not your friends who keep bailing out — it’s you. If you’re lucky, your BFFs will read this article and friend-nap you for a fun night out. If not, there are several ways to nip your flaking tendencies in the bud.

First, see if there’s anything you can cut out of your life. As collegiettes we’re often over-achievers balancing an array of commitments. But at some point, you have to accept that there are only 24 hours in a day. Is there a club you’re only attending because it looks good on your resume? Are you spending exorbitant amounts of time on a class you don’t enjoy and don’t need for your major? If your friendships are falling by the wayside, it may be time to say goodbye to some unnecessary commitments. Just be sure to do so professionally and give adequate notice to anyone you’ll be affecting. You don’t want to be a flake to your boss or professor, either!

Second, don’t let school and work crowd friendships out. It’s easy to cancel a lunch date in favor of work or school, but remember that meaningful relationships should be a priority as well. Give yourself a break ? tell your boss you can’t take an extra shift this time, and go laugh for an hour. The world will still be waiting when you’re done.

Finally, remember to reach out to your friends and family and let them know you’re trying to change.  “If someone is aware that they are disappointing others and engaging behaviors that are alienating to friends, they may want to seek help,” Dr. Levine says. Ask friends to keep you accountable when you make plans with them - tell them to call you out when you cancel and bail!

And whether you’re the flaker or the flake-ee, remember that there’s always a solution. You just have to be willing to show up and search.

Dr. Irene Levine, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend and The Friendship Blog

Meghan is a senior at Appalachian State University, majoring in Public Relations with a nonprofit concentration. She lives in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina and holds the biased opinion that it's the most heartbreakingly beautiful place in the world. 

She spends most of her time surrounded by words - as a contributing writer for Her Campus, the Associate Editor for Editorial Content at The Appalachian, and a blogger for USA TODAY College. She fell in love with journalism when she interned for High Country Press, a newspaper and magazine in North Carolina. She also dabbles in creative writing on her personal blog.

In the future, Meghan's interested in any and all careers that involve writing, editing and people. For now, she hopes to see as many places, read as many books, and have as many conversations as she possibly can. 

Reach Meghan at [email protected]