Flaky Friends: A Global Epidemic

Nowadays, making lunch plans with someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll soon commune over salads.

Have you noticed that people cancel social engagements at the last minute, then reschedule them incessantly?

As a result, we’re all trapped in a tiresome cycle of double-checking and second-guessing. Let’s peek in on an illustrative instant messenger exchange:

SUZY: Hi!! Just making sure we’re still on for lunch today at one…
SALLY: OMG. It’s an absolute madhouse over here. Cannot believe it’s Thursday already.
SUZY: You poor thing. Do you still want to meet up? Maybe sometime next week would be better?
SALLY: No, no. I was totally planning on today. I mean, unless next week would work better for you
SUZY: Next week is vicious, actually. This is going to sound insane, but I might have to jump ahead to next MONTH.
SALLY: Don’t say another word. I understand completely.

In truth, Suzy and Sally will never break bread together. Instead, they’ll bump into each other at a cocktail party or the nail salon, vow to have drinks, “like, for real,” then start the whole song and dance all over again.

Is anyone else exhausted just thinking about it?

From time to time, we all contend with head colds, workplace emergencies, and bona fide sick grandmothers. But unless there’s an excellent reason, good manners dictate that we keep our social commitments. Even when we feel a powerful urge to weasel out because we’re no longer in the mood to appear.


How to Get Off the Flaky Train for Good

1. Be authentic. Make plans with people you actually want to see for things that you actually want to do.
2. Maintain an updated calendar, whether it’s iCal, Outlook, or something chic and leather-bound that lives in your purse.
3. Arrive on time. Being perpetually late is almost as rude as bailing at the last minute.
4. Keep it real. If you absolutely must flake out, at least tell the truth as to why.
5. Know when to refuse with humor and grace.

Let’s say Boring Betsy from spin class utters the dreaded, “Let’s get together! What’s good for you?” Be mindful of her feelings, but find a gentle way to say no.

“I’d like to, but between X and Y, I’ve really got my hands full right now.” (Insert work, school, husband, children, darling boyfriend or needy pet as appropriate.)

Now that I think about it, maybe this is more of a regional phenomenon.

Have you experienced flagrant flakiness, or is it purely a west coast epidemic?

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