Promises, promises: The lost art of respect and responsibility

Today I was reminded of a quality that I absolutely despise in people. Its a particular quality that will affect my opinion of you quite negatively…Flakiness.

Flakes are a growing epidemic within our culture today. I am reminded almost every day of how vastly prevalent this quality has taken over so many people who had such great potential to be great, but were instead so tainted by the brokenness of themselves that it rendered them useless to the world around them.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have quite strong feelings about this quality. But I’m not the only one who has such a hatred towards this type of person…

  • defines a flake as: an eccentric, crazy, or unreliable person.

…Well… That doesn’t sound too bad. In fact, most generic dictionaries define the word “flake”, when used as slang in the form of a noun to describe a characteristic of one’s personality, with terms like: “unreliable”, “an odd personality”, or ” insane”. As negative as these terms may be, I don’t believe they really get the point across.

So I shall turn to my favorite of all dictionaries…

  • The Urban Dictionary defines a flake as:

(n) A useless, shady, deceitful person who is so unreliable and selfish they cause you much anger and frustration. A Flake’s only agenda is what they want to do. They have a weak character, often the products of bad parenting/spoiling kids. A Flake will make plans, never attend, and give no reason for their absence, even after they spent hours calling, texting, or emailing you. Flakes try to manipulate everybody, and sometimes are not the idiots they appear to be. A Flake often has little to no real friends due to their erratic behavior. You can never rely on a Flake. When questioned about their behavior, a Flake just gives up on the relationship and moves on to another person. Flakes can’t get by in the real world and often act immature beyond their years, causing them to be labeled as “useless” human beings.

Now that’s more accurate, wouldn’t you say?

This quality has been forgiven too many times. People just let it go and say things like “Well that’s just how he/she is” or “I’m sure something important came up.” We need to stop making excuses for these people and start calling it like it is!

To be a flake is to actually possess many other, significantly terrible attributes.

  • To be a flake is to be unreliable, weak, cowardly, disrespectful, self-absorbed, selfish, insensitive, irrational, illogical, manipulative, deceitful, irresponsible, and immature.

If you are consistently a flake to your friends and family, their opinion of you most likely consists of all of these labels…Congratulations. That’s quite an accomplishment.

If we are honest, we can all say we’ve been a flake at some point in our lives. I know I have. I was for a lot of my life actually. The core characteristic of flakey behavior is immaturity. We are all immature, and we all grow up…eventually. Some grow up faster than others, but it should happen to all of us eventually. One day we wake up and realize that we’ve been hurting the people we care about, and out of that realization a desire is born. We no longer want to be who we’ve always been, but long to be someone who’s word has a value. We long to take responsibility for our words and actions. Because to make a promise is an act. What we say matters to the people who care about us. The day we understand this fact is the day we begin to mature and gain wisdom.

I used to be flakey, and then I decided it was more important for my word to mean something. When I tell you I’m going to do something, I do everything in my power to follow through. When someone thinks of me, I want them to think of me as the guy that they can count on to get things done. When someone tells me to do something, I want them to fully believe it’s going to get done.

Maybe if we stop making excuses for these behaviors and start calling them out, it will stop happening. If we stand up for ourselves and not let people disrespect us, then maybe they won’t.

I’m not saying I’m perfect when it comes to flakey behavior. We all have our moments. But when its a consistent behavior, there’s a problem.

So today I have made a decision. Call it a New Years resolution. I have decided that I will no longer make an effort with the people who disrespect my time and efforts towards having a relationship with them and being involved in their life. We have a limited amount of time on this earth. Nobody has time to waste on people who don’t appreciate them. If you flake out on someone, you are telling them you don’t appreciate them. You are saying they are not important enough to you to give them the time of day.

So to all the victims of flakey people (we all have flakey people in our lives): I challenge you to examine the relationship. Is the way they make you feel really worth keeping in your life?

To all the flakey people (we are all flakey to someone): Remember how it makes you feel when someone stands you up, or makes you feel worthless.

It’s better to never talk to someone again than to repeatedly make promises you won’t keep, make plans you won’t follow through on, or express a false interest in someone’s life to merely gain attention.

I would much rather you never talk to me again than to flake out all the time. So let’s start doing the world a favor and stop being jerks to one another. The end.


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