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Friendship Flakes

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How to Deal When a Friend Consistently Cancels

Let’s face it: flakes have a bad reputation. You dread finding them in your hair. You try to avoid peeling them off your skin after sunburn has set in. But how do you deal with a friend that constantly “flakes out” on you?

Everyone has encountered an unreliable friend at some point in his or her life. This friend is chronically late to meetings you so carefully set up. He or she dances around making actual plans, or, after finally committing to a plan, cancels at the last minute. When you text or call, you have learned not expect a response anytime soon, because this friend often takes days to respond. Just when you’re about to give up on the friendship entirely, this person drops back into your life unexpectedly. Then, the cycle repeats.

Some attribute this flakiness to an inherent character flaw, rendering the person incapable of change. Others blame shrinking attention spans; technology — MTV, the Internet, the iPhone — has shriveled them, according to an article in the New York Times. More often than not, this friend is unreliable because he or she just doesn’t realize it.

Read the following tips for combating a flaky friend:

1)    Don’t take it personally: Unless it’s completely obvious, this person isn’t purposely trying to cancel plans on you. He or she may not be aware of his or her own unreliability, so try not to dwell on the fact. Instead, let this friend know lightly. Don’t lash out.

2)    Don’t make plans that depend on this person: Since this friend doesn’t seem to make your plans a priority, don’t make him or her your priority. Include other friends in plans.

3)    Adopt the policy, fewer expectations, fewer disappointments: In the long run, this will allow you to avoid a lot of unnecessary drama and damaged feelings. If you don’t expect much from this friend, you will never be disappointed.

By Christina Ferraro

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