Making plans is hard, especially when you're making them with a chronic flaker. There are ways to politely cancel plans, but what if the person you're making plans with repeatedly doesn't show up? To save you time and frustration, MEL Magazine gave some advice on dealing with flaky people.
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Why Are People Flaky?
One reason people flake is that they're not good at being assertive and make plans with you even when they don't feel like it. They didn't know how to turn your plans down or they didn't think it through.
Another reason for flakiness is that the person might suffer from anxiety or depression to the point that "they become physically and emotionally ill with distress," according to Kris Boksman, a clinical psychologist and clinic director at the Limestone Clinic in Ontario.
Lastly, they might be flaky because they're just not a good friend in the first place. Boksman said that these types of flakers are just looking out for themselves, rather than caring about their friends.
How to Handle the Flaker
If you choose to be friends with a chronic flaker, MEL Magazine recommends not depending on them for important tasks and expecting less from them. You could confront them, but this could lead to them being offended by your comments or feeling defensive rather than making them stop flaking on you. To most effectively confront a flaker, you should adjust your confrontation style based on what type of flaker you're dealing with.
For dealing with the unassertive friend, Boksman recommends telling them that, when making plans, you expect them to show up to them unless they have a good reason to cancel. She also recommends letting them choose the activity so that they're more likely to be excited about it and less likely to flake.
Confronting your flaky friend with anxiety might actually help your friendship grow. In confronting this friend, you should express your support and your desire to help them find help, if they're open to it.
There isn't much you can do about your flaky friend who doesn't seem to care much about you, though. You can try speaking to them about their flakiness like you would to the unassertive friend, but ultimately the best move might be to distance yourself from the friendship.
This Is How You Confront a Chronic Flaker [MEL Magazine]