Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My friend is a flake.

Don't let unreliable friends effect your life!
Question:  I have a good friend who I’ve been friends with for years, but he is a huge flake.  If we ever make plans to hang out, he always either forgets and can’t make it, or he’s a complete no-show.  If I ask a favor like a ride to the airport, he’ll agree but then back out last minute.  What pisses me off is that whenever he needs something from me, I always follow-through and keep my promises.  I’m sick of being left hanging out to dry but I don’t want to make a huge fight about it either.  What should I do? (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  Is it possible that your friend might just be a little ‘out there’?  What I mean is that if your friend has been like this ever since you’ve know him, you shouldn’t take it personally if your friend is absent-minded, forgetful, or just not very good with following-through.  If he does this with all of his friends, he may have deeply ingrained organizational habits that are just a part of who he is.

In terms of how you should deal with it, my first suggestion is to not hold back, talk with your friend and tell it to him straight.  Let him know that it’s not cool for him to bail on you so many times.  Ask him if there’s something going on that’s making him flake out, or if he even realizes he’s doing it.  At least you will putting your voice out there so you don’t have to feel resentful or annoyed.

At the same time, start accepting the fact that your friend may never be reliable the way you want him to be, and stop letting his actions have an effect on your life.  Take action and always make alternate plans.  When you have a Plan B for a ride to the airport, you will be anticipating that your Plan A (you’re unreliable friend) will flake out.  While it sucks that you have to have a back-up, you are always preparing yourself ahead of time for what is possible (and perhaps inevitable).

Lastly, it may be that your friend can never change and because of this, you should change all expectations of him from this point on.  You can still have him in your life as a friend, but it may be best to distance yourself a bit.  In other words, when it comes to asking for favors or making plans to hang out, you should always keep your expectations low, have a plan B, and always have alternatives.  In doing so, you’re managing expectations and doing things on your own terms, not what your friend decides.


  1. Is it possible this person has confused the definitions of "friend" and "person to stay far away from?"

  2. I had a friend exactly like this, too. She's a flake and a mooch. Whenever we'd make plans to go places, she'd first say "sure!" and then day of the plans, she'd come up with a random excuse to not go.
    Once on an old friends going away party (she was moving to another state) we had to plan around HER plans and preferences, and not the other friends. And she still had to go home early.
    A lot of those times, she was just lying too.

    Eventually, I got so annoyed that I just dropped her as a friend. It has solved a lot.