You plan to meet up with a friend on Thursday. You haven’t seen them in what feels like ages because, well, its hard to get them to commit to a time and place. You finally get it on the calendar after a couple weeks of reaching out. 10am on Thursday. 9AM rolls around and you get that regretful text: “Sorry I don’t think I can make it.”
Everyone knows someone like this. I’ve even been this person. Maybe you have too. But it doesn’t mean we should be ok with this behavior. I thought it might be helpful to flesh out some thoughts on this topic. I’ve pulled from many psychological articles which will be cited below. I think this is an epidemic that is plaguing our generation, and needs to be addressed.
Here are some things to take note of:
1. Flakey People Are Irresponsible
Whether you are trying to date a flakey person, or working with one, you quickly learn that you can’t count on them for anything. They will almost always fail you. They don’t understand or accept responsibility for the outcome of any given task or project, and if you ask them to do something for you, chances are, you will be hunting them down for months to try to get it finished.
2. Flakey People Are Compulsive Liars
This one is more complex. Lying tends to come very easily and naturally to a flake. They will kill off their grandma to get out of going to work, come down with a million illnesses right before meeting a friend, or have one catastrophe after another befall them to get out of doing that thing they promised to do for you. It seems that in most cases, flakes have absolutely no problem lying if it serves their interests, or helps them to remain in control.
3. Flakey People Are Narcissists
We are crossing over into the psychology of flakes. From what I have studied here, many full-fledged Flakes (I say full-fledged, because some exhibit the characteristics of flakes without fully suffering from disorders) actually suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), as well as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). These two disorders quite frequently overlap, and are commonly diagnosed in flakey people.
These disorders can cause someone to exhibit traits that could be perceived as a “spoiled brat”, an attitude or mentality of entitlement, and usually exhibits antisocial behaviors as well. But the thing to remember here is that flakes are self-absorbed, and self-centered. Flakes lack concern for anyone’s feelings but their own, have no respect for anyone’s time, and have an inability to care about anyone more than themselves.
4. Flakey People Must Be The Center Of Attention
Flakes are really easy to spot in a group of people. When someone is telling a story, or garnering the attention of the masses, there will be one person to interject some unrelated statement, or interrupt with an abrupt transition to pull the attention to themselves.
Another more bizarre instance is when something bad has happened, like an incident where someone is hurt badly. The flake will be the one who chooses not to engage, and says things like “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad. Stop being a baby.” They despise the attention being on anyone else for any reason.
5. Flakey People Must Be In Control
This is quite possibly the most important point to take away from the whole thing. Flakes are often people who have either been coddled by their parents growing up, or have been abused by their parents. Either way, flakey people are more often than not the result of a generation of bad parenting. They have been taught to seize control of all situations in unhealthy ways. They are irrationally afraid of rejection and/or abandonment, and therefore insert control by never giving others the opportunity to be genuinely involved in their lives. They will be allusive, yet alluring. They yearn for attention from others, but feel the need to constantly pull back and stay disengaged. But make no mistake, flakes are highly manipulative, deeply flawed, emotionally dangerous creatures that will lead you on through hope, possibility, promise, and attraction. They will always know exactly what to say and when to say it to keep the hook baited and lure you in. But they will always be playing a game of “catch and release”.
Why I Have Sworn Off Flakey People
As I get older, I realize there are just some things I don’t have the energy or patience for. I understand people are made the way they are by circumstances and upbringing, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t learn to adapt and learn to respect people and their time. I have always had an issue with disrespect. I feel like flakey people primarily communicate disrespect to everyone they flake on. I have no energy to deal with that. Flakey people will often attack your self-esteem unknowingly. If you’re not a confident individual, it’s easy to start feeling like you’re not worth very much if, for instance, you have a best friend who is flakey. I’ve seen it before, and I don’t understand how someone can be considered someone’s “best” friend when they are never there for them. But I digress…
The thing is, I have a two strike policy. Flake on me once, I’ll forgive and give another chance. But chances are you’ve already gone on my flake list and I’ll be wary of making definite plans with you again. Flake on me twice, I probably won’t be reaching out to make plans with you again. Life is too short and time to sparse to be wasting time on people who don’t mind wasting your time. Plain and simple.
It’s Time To Be Better.
As you might have noticed, I feel very strongly about this. I think this is an epidemic in my generation, and possibly even more in younger generations. It happens so much in the dating world that our culture has produced a term for it: Ghosting.
This behavior is irresponsible, immature, and completely self-absorbed at its core. For the vast majority of flakey people, I think they have just been raised to think they are the only one who matters, and don’t necessarily have a disorder, just a problem with respecting others. And that is a character flaw no one should tolerate. I firmly believe everyone deserves to be treated with respect. But if you live a life of disrespecting others, I won’t disrespect you, but I will probably cut you out of my life.
But you have the opportunity to be better. You can choose to value others and their time. Choose to cherish when someone offers you the opportunity to be a part of their life. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. We all only have so much room in our life for so many people. It’s an extravagant gift to be offered a chance at being a part of someone’s life, someones story. Being a flake is spitting in the face of the one offering you the gift of time. We can do better than that for each other. We should do better.
Cited Articles for further study: