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Are you a flake?

August 26, 2009

I’m not a flaky person.  If I say I’m going to do something, I do it, and I do it promptly.  If  have a 7 appointment, I’m there at 6:50, and I sit in my car and wait for an acceptable time to go in (depending on what it is for).  I have to force myself to show up “fashionably late” for parties, and I never can be quite fashionable enough.

If I make plans, I don’t cancel them or ignore them.  If I owe you money, I’ll pay you back.  I’ll be on time (nearly always) and I can commit to something months in advance and stay true to my word.  I pay my fair share (tax and tip included!) when we are splitting the tab with a group in restaurants.  I’ll give you good directions if you ask for them.  I’ll return your phone calls and answer your emails.  If you write on my FB wall I’ll (usually, when appropriate) respond.  [Just got a message from a friend I tried to get a hold of months ago for something for work!]

I just don’t understand flakiness.  Things don’t slip my mind, and I think about how my choices and actions affect my friends, acquaintances, and coworkers.  I have a full and busy life, but I’m organized about it and I’m reliable.

Even my dentist office is flaky! I called them in July to schedule an appointment and they (pretended that they???) took my insurance info, and then they told me they’d call me at their earliest convenience. (???)  Never heard from them.  I called them again, and they didn’t have my insurance info anymore, and the receptionist wouldn’t even give me an appointment.  “I’m not the regular receptionist, I’ll have the dentist call you.”  What?  I just want my teeth cleaned!   I specifically gave them a daytime number, yet he called my cell  (that I don’t have at work) at 10 a.m. a few days later.  !!!!!

T‘s not flaky either.  He was supposed to meet this (flaky) person outside our apartment to sell my bike, and exchanged a bunch of texts. “can i do it tomorrow?” “ok, 10 minutes” …. 20 minutes later… “stuck in traffic.” 15 minutes later….  “ok, i’m getting gas, 10 minutes” 20 minutes later… Finally, he’s here!  (Without the cash, so he needed to find an ATM.) 

T, bless his heart, took the bike out back and was riding up and down the alley for at least 30 minutes, then another 15+ while they went to the ATM.  He refused to accompany me to the grocery store because “that guy is coming and he said he was leaving now”.  Of course, he didn’t have to be out in the alley waiting.  But he was.  Because he is not a flake.

[Confession: I am sort of a flake if it involves mailing something at the post office.  Gifts and stuff.  But my parents are too, so it is hereditary.  I hate going to the post office.  BUT if you order something from me on Amazon, I will send it the next day.  Because that is the rules, and I’m not that flaky.]

Are you are flake?  If so, can you explain to me why?

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2009 8:45 pm

    I think that most of the time I’m pretty reliable. However, there are some things that I just flake on because I don’t feel like doing them. I’ll just put them off until it seems awkwardly too late to follow up on them.

    But if we’ve made plans, I’m there on time and I’m not canceling unless something terrible happened. I would NEVER flake on a friend who needed me. I also would feel terrible making someone wait for me… epecially someone who was doing me a favor (like in this bike selling situation). That’s just plain rude and inconsiderate! Be there and be prepared!

  2. August 26, 2009 8:47 pm

    @me in millions – yeah, I think procrastination is a little different. I procrastinate less than I used to, but it still happens.

  3. August 26, 2009 9:32 pm

    Sometimes I’ll feel obligated to agree to do things with people, even though I know I don’t really want to do those things. And then when I cancel (always a few days in advance), I feel like at least I made some kind of effort. Does that make sense? And then there are other times where I really do want to do something, but then I’m dead tired when that day rolls around. I definitely think I’ve become flakier since beginning law school… it’s sucked a lot of energy from me. But my friends understand that.

    I also hate the feeling of HAVING to do something… that boxed in feeling. School and work are things I HAVE to attend. Everything else I need to know that I can escape from it if I feel like it.

    I don’t flake when it’s something important, or something I know will really effect the person I’m flaking on.

  4. August 26, 2009 9:44 pm

    I can’t stand flaky people. It seems to be a common thing here in LA. People cancel or bail out on the last minute, and you don’t hear from them for days, sometimes weeks.

    I am very much like you – always early, find it hard to be late, and I stick to my plans. In the rare occasion that I do need to cancel, I make sure to call the person (I hate getting texts that say: sorry, can’t make it, talk later) and try to reschedule.

    I usually cut off the flakes. Don’t miss them anyways.

  5. August 26, 2009 11:36 pm

    You just explained me down to a T! I’m the most reliable person I know and sometimes it’s just not worth it because I care more than other people should (what time is dinner? should i book? how many people? are there going to be enough seats?). I hate people who are late. I have a friend who used to be almost more than half an hour late until I started leaving her behind and now she’s on time!

    I’m a little bit flaky in sending mail as well….

  6. August 27, 2009 6:06 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile. This is my first time commenting. I agree with you. Flaky people drive me crazy. I cut off the flakes, too. I don’t want to waste my time and energy on them.

    It’s an issue of respect. If these people don’t respect me enough to follow through on agreed plans, I am not going to waste my time and energy on them.

  7. August 27, 2009 7:10 am

    Technically, you have two business days to mail your Amazon order. 🙂
    But I always try to mail my orders the next day too!

  8. cuteellaisbold permalink
    August 27, 2009 9:31 am

    I can be flaky but I’m still dependable. My flakiness tends to happen when I have too much time to do something…and my friends know all they have to do is send me a text to remind me the day before.

    Also, some days? I actually have NO idea what day it is. Google Calendar has helped a lot with this.

    BUT flakiness aside? Apparently, I’m the girl to have with you in an emergency or if something big happens because I will instantaneously drop what I’m doing to help a friend. Literally. Once I dropped the clothes I was putting away, put my flip flops on and walked out the door when called upon. Another time, I told my boss that something came up with my grandmother and walked out of my office without a second thought.

    Fair trade off?

  9. Bonnie permalink
    August 27, 2009 10:17 am

    SP, I’m exactly like you. I always arrive early even when trying to be ‘late’ or just on time, keep appointments unless absolutely necessary to change them, etc. And I also can’t stand it when people are flaky. I have one friend whom I walk with on Saturday mornings sometime. If I agree to be at her house at say, 9 a.m., I show up at 8:50 a.m., and if I’m lucky, she might have already been out of bed. Then I have to wait for her to drink OJ, get dressed, etc. So it’s usually more like 9:45 before we’re out the door. Just one of MANY examples! Also, the other night, I was supposed to meet up with a friend for a drink after her evening appt. She was supposed to call. Well, she never called! And then, the next day, no email. So I emailed her and was like, “Um…thought we were supposed to meet for a drink…blah blah blah.” She just emailed back, “Oh, I was just tired last night….” No apology, no “I’m sorry, I should have called to let you know that I wasn’t up for it.”

  10. Jane St. Claire permalink
    August 27, 2009 12:18 pm

    Intentional flakiness, like the guy who bought your bike, is rude and it just shows that the person values their own time more than yours. But what you describe with the dentist? I wouldn’t call that flaky. That’s a lack of organization and customer service in the office, and they know if you need the appointment you’ll call back. And I’ll admit to having spaced on things and acted in a way you would call flaky. When I was 22, I used to be able to keep everything in my head, right down to my meeting schedule at work. As I got into my late 20s, my memory isn’t what it used to be and I have to write down every little thing. If I flake, it’s probably because I didn’t write it down.

  11. Michele permalink
    August 27, 2009 1:17 pm

    I’m exactly like you, even though I’m not terribly organized or (if I’m being honest) terribly considerate. However, despite those two character flaws, I still manage to be on time 99.9999999% of the time – barring disaster. I’m also a proactive communicator and follow through on my commitments, although I do tend toward being non-committal in the first place so that I can make a game time decision.

    I often joke about being a procrastinator, but the truth is, I’m not. I’m exactly LIKE a procrastinator in the regard that I’m rather lazy and like to maximize my free time, but I’m the exact OPPOSITE in the regard that instead of putting things off til later so I can maximize my free time NOW, I do things IMMEDIATELY so I can get busy with being lazy with the added bonus of not having to worry about all the things hanging over my head.

    I truly am a master manager of time.

  12. August 27, 2009 6:24 pm

    Thanks for the comments, I should have known most pf-ers aren’t flaky! Though it sounds like a few of you might be 😉

    To me, flakiness says you don’t value my time/needs. If you are overbooked or forgetful, I think it is sort of your responsibility to come up with a system to keep track of your commitments. No one said you can’t write it all down and check your planner.

    I’m not talking about things occasionally coming up or life getting really busy for awhile or forgetting something now and then. That’s human. I’m talking about habitually thinking it is just fine to be really really late, cancel last minute, or not do what you said you would. Over and over, to everyone in your life (not just people you are purposely avoiding!)

    I think the dentist office is actually worse. The CL guy at least gave me $220 and took my bike away from me, but they are a place of business!

    People who refuse to commit are slightly irritating (I’m a planner!) but I realize that is a personality thing and it is a million times better than making promises then backing out!

    I don’t ditch flaky friends, because some have other great qualities (or they are siblings, childhood friends, whatever). But I’m very wary of flaky people in new friendships!

  13. August 27, 2009 8:52 pm

    I don’t know if I could deal with new flaky friends either. I was going to comment earlier but I think I went into a fugue of irritation thinking of all the times my bestie or other besties have flaked on their counterparts. It was so bad that at some point, I knew that if we had plans, I was 98% certain that bestie just wouldn’t show or would cancel. Or cancel 30 minutes after she should have been there! Which gets its own category cause it annoys me SO MUCH.

    Rescheduling and being late are one issue, so long as you call and notify the person who is expecting you. That stuff happens. But double or triple booking and then just backing out? UGH.

    Another girlfriend was just going on about this last week: her bestie routinely whines about being busy, having to attend all these events she doesn’t care about, but only the bestie counterpart is the only one who ever gets stood up. It’s taking that “you hurt those closest to you” to an extreme. As if your best friend should never be the first priority?

    Anyway, I don’t get it. Don’t make commitments if you’re not going to keep them! It’s much less annoying than being turned down in the first place.

  14. August 27, 2009 10:45 pm

    So flakiness to you is canceling last minute, being really late all the time, and not doing what you said you’d do?

    When it comes to appointments that do not involve my friends/family, I have absolutely no problem canceling last minute. I’ve done this multiple times to my dentist. They’ll get over it. Dentist visits make me extremely unhappy, and there are mornings where I decide I don’t want to deal with that unhappiness. Too bad for them!

    As far as the issue with your dentist… why not just switch? Or at least complain to them! It sounds like they’re either very busy or incompetent (or both).

    Like I said before, I don’t ever cancel last minute with friends/family. Always at least a day or two in advance. Lateness I’ll only allow for myself if I know my friend/family member is waiting at home (where I know they’ll have other things to occupy their time with). Forgetfulness is not a problem I have; I remember everything (Outlook calendar helps).

    Ultimately though, who do I care most about? Me. My time, my feelings, my stress level. Yes, I value my time more than other people’s, because I have very very little of it. The time I do have I want to fill with whatever will make me happiest.

  15. August 28, 2009 6:21 am

    I will switch next year, unless they are extremely good or something when I go. For insurance I can’t yet.

    Anyway, run your life however you want, but I will continue to be annoyed by people who cancel last minute, are late, or whatever.

    @revanche – yeah, it is weird how those closest to you are affected the worst. because you know you are going to forgive your best friend.

  16. thefrugalyogi permalink
    August 28, 2009 8:34 am

    I really enjoyed this post. It seems like everyone around me is exactly how you’ve described “flaky”. Personally, I find this behavior better described as “inconsiderate”, but it seems to be so common that I’ve often wondered if I’m crazy!

  17. August 28, 2009 11:55 am

    You can feel free to be annoyed by people who cancel last minute, etc. 😉 And I will continue to (generally) be relieved by those people, since it frees up my time (and I don’t have to feel like the bad guy for doing it myself)! lol.

    I guess my only argument here is that in some cases, those “flaky” people have legitimate reasons for being the way they are (or you are being too hard on them by slapping them with that label). Like with the craig’s list guy – “stuck in traffic” is a pretty legitimate excuse (LA, hello!). My school is 12 miles away, and even when I leave 30 mins early, I can still end up being 15-30 mins late. At least he communicated (and eventually showed up)… I’ve had craig’s list people tell me “I’ll be there at such and such time” and then never hear from them again.

  18. August 28, 2009 12:22 pm

    Living in LA, everyone is flaky! Seriously, I’ve come to expect flakiness now, I’m more surprised when someone actually keeps their word and shows up on time. I’m generally not flaky because I won’t make commitments that I don’t think I’ll keep. Once I’ve said yes I’ll drag myself there unless something goes seriously wrong.

  19. August 28, 2009 1:09 pm

    Aww, you’re being too hard on LA! 😉 I don’t know anyone that I would honestly label as “flaky.” A lot of people on Craig’s List are flaky, but that just goes with the territory.

  20. August 28, 2009 3:52 pm

    My issue isn’t with occasional cancellations or even tardiness (assuming the offender calls and tells me they’re running late), but people who are consistently 10, 20, 30 minutes later for EVERYTHING, and NEVER call to check in.

    A girlfriend of mine falls into this camp, and it’s not because she’s selfish or inconsiderate or even busy; she simply underestimates the amount of time it will take to get anywhere or do anything. I’ve been with her and seen it in action many times; me saying ‘hey, we have to leave now in order to get there on time’ and her saying ‘nuh uh, it only takes 10 minutes to get there.’

    Uhhhh, NO. It’s 10 miles away, it will take much more than 10 minutes to get there. You can’t drive a mile a minute in the city, and you’re also not accounting for the time it will take to walk to and from the car, and/or find parking.

    THAT is flaky.

  21. Tracey permalink
    August 29, 2009 8:43 pm

    I find I’m pretty dependable most of the time. At least when others are relying on me. But when nobody else is involved I’ll often flake out on things I’m supposed to do. I’ll get really passionate about something, really excited and then lose interest 2 days later. Which is probably why I have no hobbies and haven’t finished a book in 3 months!

  22. Carrie permalink
    September 1, 2009 10:46 am

    I’m generally not a flake, but when it comes to facebook I am very bad at responding because it’s blocked at work and many time I don’t log on at night….but if I see a message when I’m in there, I’ll just respond right then.

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