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I've got a friend who I love spending time with. She's a great listener, funny and interesting -- that is, when she shows up. Sometimes when I think we have made plans, I cannot reach her that day and end up wondering whether I misunderstood. She usually calls back late in the day saying sorry, don't know where the time went, etc. (she has a toddler as do I, so I somewhat understand how time disappears w/o explanation). But just as often, the plans work out and we have a great time. Many times she'll quickly get off the phone with me saying ''can I call you right back?'' -- only she doesn't call back -- even though she is usually the one initiating the call. I've tried calling her back to follow up, but often I get the answering machine! She still calls me and asks me to do stuff, but I've become reluctant to commit. I don't know how to confront her, and I'm not the confronting type. I've even tried making firm commitments, like we'll meet at this time and place, but that hasn't worked, either. Any suggestions on how to handle this? I think she is a good person and doesn't realize that her flakiness is affecting me, because I never say anything, partly because I don't know how to be graceful about it without sounding like an insecure nag, and partly because I'm chicken! anon
But, when things were good, I truly enjoyed her company and liked doing things with her. Over the years we had talks about how it upset me when she was flaky and would blow off plans we had made, but at the end of the day, nothing really changed. I tried to be more patient too, hoping that approaching things differently might help me deal with my flaky friend. A few months ago I finally told her once again how her behavior is affecting me and I decided that from that moment on that I would stop making plans with her. It was a difficult decision, but I decided that I was tired of feeling taken for granted and I wasn't going to put up with her poor behavior any longer. It bothered me that someone I thought of as a good friend was comfortable treating me so poorly. I miss her and wish things could be different, but I'm glad that I stood up for myself.
Maybe it's time to re-evaluate if your friendship with your friend is worth it. Resposible and caring friend
You can be honest with her that it is hard for you to make plans if you are not sure that she is going to be there. I am sure that she has just as much trouble with everyone else. Another friend of ours will only meet the FF (flaky friend) at her house becuase she hates to be stood up.
Now that we all have kids, I have a take it or leave it feeling. When she is there it is great, but I don't ever expect to see her, even if it was her idea. Hope that helps. Joan
They flake out not to hurt you but to re-group and slow down or even hide because they aren't very good at taking care of themselves. They don't pace themselves and don't want to say ''no'' but think that ''flaking'' is ok when it isn't.
I've hurt friends when I wasn't intending to, and I am learning to commit to what really works in my life and say ''no'' when it doesn't. Everyone wins. I take care of myself/family and when I say I'll be there, they can count on it. Recovering Flakey Friend
I need a reality check. Lately many of my friends have become flakes. A couple have told me that getting for our playdates on time (it's at an outside location where there is nothing to do until they arrive) is very stressful for them because they have issues getting there on time and they want to know I won't be mad about it. I understand emergencies and occasionally running late, but if I am meeting someone outside of their home, I really make every effort to be on time in order to give them the same courtesy that I expect in return. I think it is inconsiderate when someone is consistently late. Are there other people out there who feel this too?
Another friend of mine cancels our standing playdates at the last minute. It is annoying - and a little hurtful - as this happens on a regular basis. My two sons end up feeling letdown and I am disappointed too, as the other mother is a good friend. Again, legitimate things come up like sick kids and so on, but I think that most of these situations relate to better plans - or even errands - that have cropped up at the last minute.
Don't get me started on RSVPs that aren't answered.
I am often the organizer of events, the person who calls/emails
to confirm plans, the kind of person who can be counted on. I
am frustrated by all this flakiness and lack of responsibility.
We all have two or more children and are SAHMs.
Sometimes friendships can be trying
While you find your friends flaky and unreliable, they find you rigid and uptight. While your perfectionist tendencies make you a superb event coordinator, your standards are difficult to impossible for the average person to live up to. So, your friends can't help but feel judged, unloved, and rejected because they are not good enough. You must be pretty great for them to put up with feeling that way all the time, but the prognosis is not good for the long term.
You need to decide where your priorities and limits are. If timeliness is that important to you, it might be best to find a group of friends that is as organized as you. If you love your friends dearly, you need to learn how to relax and not expect everyone to live their lives by your rulebook, regardless how 'in the right' you feel you are. That said, there must be limits SOME where, and you'll have to figure out where yours are. While it's a bit manipulative, you can always tell your friends to meet you earlier than you really expect them. We did this at holidays with a relative - always told them to come an hour prior to when we really wanted them there and it worked like a charm. Some people just don't have the skills to plan and manage their time well; some people are in a constant state of chaos/overwhelm. Imagine the thing you are worst at in life, and then imagine that you are expected to be good at this thing in order for your friends to accept you and not be angry with you. Losing proposition, right?
Part of friendship is compromise and meeting halfway. Another part is accepting people as they are and not trying to change them. If your friends back out a lot, then maybe you need to learn how to make tentative dates, so when they flake, you were only somewhat expecting them anyway. I know this will be hard for a personality type like yours. You like precise details and knowing what to expect. But perhaps, in learning how they operate and stretching who you are, you'll find less stress and more joy in your friendships. I truly hope this for you.
For your friends that say being on time stresses them out, here's my advice: Tell them where you will be at what time and then leave when you're done, even if they have just arrived. Give 'em a hug and a smile on the way out. If they want more of your busy day, they'll show up on time in the future. -- Tsan
In my opinion, people take this playdate thing a little too seriously. It's challenging and often maddening to get out the door and somewhere on time, with kids in tow (last-minute diaper changes, someone's hungry NOW, etc.). Stuff comes up. People have lives. Sometimes there's a time crunch. For me, it's not worth it the stress. It's no wonder that my second-born kid has never had a formal playdate (but still gets lots of social interaction elsewhere).
That's great that you are diligent about sticking to your commitments and being prompt, but not everyone holds themselves to those standards, at least when it comes to playdates. You'd be better off finding playdate families who take the playdate arrangement as seriously as you do.
As an aside, I think the whole kid birthday party thing is out of control too. We've declined a few invitations just because it gets to be too much of a demand on our family time. But we ALWAYS RSVP when we don't (or do) attend... No playdates please
Finally, canceling at the last minute (for no good reason) when small children are involved is also inexcusable. My kids can certainly understand when their best friend is sick and can't make it, but I've been waiting at a park for an hour before, explaining to my son that his best friend will "be here soon, I'm sure". When he finally did show up, it turned out that they had found something interesting to watch on their way instead of meeting us at the park. Thanks a lot. I also know the feeling of craving some adult conversation - when friends cancel, we lose out on that, too.
Suggesting setting the meeting time earlier is well intentioned but misses the point. I'm not always on time and I'm struggling with this SAHM thing. But I always call to say that the poop-machine has hit and we've had 5 tantrums already this morning. Then, I actually get SUPPORT from my friends when we finally DO make it! Good luck. mother of 2
I can understand being late (esp. when traveling with kids--we all know how hard it can be to get out of the house). But in my opinion (and in my circle of friends, some of whom are from the midwest like me and my wife, and some of whom are native Californians), there is NO excuse to cancel a get-together, or just not show up, for no reason. Sickness, an unscheduled nap, etc., are good reasons to cancel something, but the polite thing to do is call. Deciding that it's just too much effort, or that you really need to run to the grocery store instead, doesn't fly.
Just my 2 cents... Respectful of others' time and hoping for the same...
''Welcome to Berkeley! You're obviously not from here, or you'd be accustomed to the way things are done around here. wink The flaking on plans/lateness thing used to drive me nuts when I first moved here. Where I'm from people honor their committments to each other.''
As someone who was born and raised in Berkeley and has lived in several other places in the US, I think you should look at everyone elses' responses and note than no one else brought up the fact that tardiness, courteousness, and general good manners were lacking in this area because that's just how it is here. I am continuously surprised at peaples' lack of consideration when it comes to scheduling or making plans. Why just yesterday, someone showed up to my house an hour late for an appointment (isn't that what an appointment means?), and seemed genuinely shocked when I was annoyed. She presumed that telling me she'd be at my house at noon meant she could arrive any time during lunch time! And she's not only not from here, she's from another country. So I wouldn't go attributing bad manners to someone's address. This is something that is partly inherent, partly instilled. To the original poster, it's difficult to manage other people's shortcomings, so maybe just focus on what you can change--your level of frustration and attitude towards it. Good luck. Ms. Manners, too.
Flakiness is not in the water but perhaps the town attracts people who
are looking for an excuse to be flaky.) As you acknowledge, there are
factors that delay us (or force us to cancel at the last second)so I
always try to discuss the possible pitfalls beforehand and check in
shortly before departure to make sure things are running on time. Set up
a phone call before leaving the house (or via cell) as part of the play
date. I also do not tell my kids that we are meeting someone unless I
am positive the person will show. I also tell them that after a certain
time the date is basically cancelled, ''We will leave the park at X.''
For example we have friends who are INSANELY late so we tell them to
call before they leave and if it is too late we simply tell them to
forget it. My experience is that if people realize you will not wait
around for them forever they work harder to show up. And finally, if
people continue to be flaky, I just stop making plans. This,
incidentally, has happened to me too! I learned my lesson. Hope this
Try to be on time even with wee ones
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