Flakes: When to Give Them Another Chance and When to Walk Away
So I met this girl at a halloween party. We’ve texted all day long, every day, since we exchanged numbers over a month ago. Some nights we’ll sit on the phone for hours and talk about absolutely nothing.
We’ve hung out once since then, but it was more of a short notice invite for me to come hang out at Applebees with her and her friend. We set up a date a few weeks ago and she just bailed on me. Her reason was that she had been out drinking the night before and was still too hungover and sick to go at 7pm the next night. I brushed it off and didn’t think much of it and continued the daily talks. There have been a few instances where we were supposed to hang out with groups of people since that date, but every time, plans change at the last minute, or something comes up on her end. We were supposed to hang out last night—something casual, just getting pizza and hanging out. And when I asked her earlier in the day if we were still on for tonight, she completely played dumb and just said that she forgot about it, even though she was the one to suggest it the night before. I have been getting very frustrated lately because every time we have something that is even remotely close to “plans” together she just bails. I’ve always kept the idea of 3 strikes and you’re out. There has been only two times that were clearly defined as “date like” plans.
Should I give her the benefit of the doubt and give her the chance at the 3rd strike or just walk away and cut my losses? I do actually really like this girl. Any advice?
I think you have a good policy.
The reason it’s such a good, classic policy is that it identifies a pattern.
Life happens. Unexpected conflicts do come up. Double booking does happen by accident. Maybe she was is a shitty headspace for whatever reason and may not want to give you a bad impression. WHO KNOWS.
But it is also possible that she is stringing you along for the validation, or she’s just not as into you as you are into her (though that’s no excuse to flake), or maybe she’s a shitty person who is disrespectful of your time. That is possible too.
And there are red flags here, so I can see why you’d be worried.
I want to assure you that you seem to be doing everything right. You have a “policy” and you’re sticking to it. You seem to differentiate between “defined” plans and vague plans. You see the warning signs and are considering that before moving forward.
HOW TO DEAL WITH FLAKES
To everyone else dealing with flakes, I encourage you to take the same steps as the guy who wrote into us.
1. Make defined plans
“We should do something this weekend” is not plans.
This kind of miscommunication is the source of a lot of frustration for both parties. Some people will complain about flakes, when the real problem is vagueness on their part.
Be specific. Plans are Starbucks Friday at 8:00. Plans are the 6:00 showing of Star Wars.
Cut out vagueness, cut out miscommunications.
2. Have a defined “policy” on flaking
Before you encounter any more of these situations, figure out what you will and will not stand for.
The writer has his own policy and I have mine too.
I generally have a 3 out of 5 rule. If they flake more times than they keep plans, that to me is not acceptable.
Consider exceptions too.
If someone stands me up, meaning that I’m at the place waiting with no word from said person, there is no second chance in my book.
What if you can tell their excuse is bullshit? (Perhaps in the writer’s case..can you really forget that you made plans less than 24 hours later?)
I am usually a little more lenient on this if it is not a direct lie. But some people may feel like that adds insult to injury.
The point is that boundaries should be set, but there are no universally “right” boundaries.
Take the time to go through all of these hypothetical flaking scenarios and decide what is right for you.
If you do the work before hand chances are you won’t feel as taken advantage of and resentful because you have already decided what is within your bounds.
3. Try to determine the source of the flaking
Really ask yourself why she’s flaking, but be careful you’re not justifying bad behavior.
I don’t think all chronic flakes are just shitty, disrespectful people (though that’s usually the bulk of it). There are truly flighty, forgetful people that chronically flake; there are introverts that don’t always have the bandwidth to go out when they planned; there are people that struggle with depression or social anxiety.
This isn’t an excuse, but things to be aware of. We talked about exceptions in the last section; consider if you are willing to make exceptions for any of the people that fall into these categories.
Be careful though that you aren’t justifying someone’s run-of-the-mill disrespectful, flaky behavior.
How do you tell if you are making excuses for someone that you shouldn’t? Talk to your no-bullshit friend about it and listen to their perspective.
BACK TO THE WRITER:
I say give her one more chance based on your own policy—she hasn’t hit the third strike yet—but know that keep dating other people so you’re less invested if she lets you down again.