I think we can all agree that “flaking,” a.k.a. bailing, canceling or postponing plans with others (or even worse, ghosting), is pretty standard these days. A lot of us can and should do better about not only making plans, which is the easy part but at keeping them. We can all be more selective with committing to events and get-togethers that will be viable for us, ideally plans that are genuinely appealing to us, with intentions that are not fake. Plans that stick instead of us being viewed as flaky in the aftermath.
As Jerry once said in a Seinfeld episode back in the day, “You know how to take a reservation, but you just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation – the HOLDING. Anybody can just take ’em.”
It’s so true, though. Nowadays, it’s as though when we make plans in the first place, we inherently know there’s a 50/50 or worse chance that the plans will take place, right? We can and should do better.
Last fall, I joked on Facebook with the status, “RIP to all the ‘Let’s totally get together this summer’ plans that never happened.” I was mostly kidding, and the post wasn’t made with animosity; I love my friends and family, and I know life happens. But seriously…were people always this flaky? When did this become a “thing?” Or has it always existed, and is just worse nowadays because everyone is genuinely so much busier and juggling too much too often?
Let’s face it, at some point we have all endured incidents of flaking for parties, lunch/dinner/coffee dates, baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, meetings, moving days, workouts, etc. Sometimes we can blow it off; other times it bothers us. And, at times, we have also been the ones to do the bailing at the last minute, upon which in some capacity (maybe a passive-aggressive text or e-mail), we’ve reaped the backlash of our choices.
I can recall many incidents of flakiness over time; some do not phase me, while others are disappointing. As I have grown older and endured the unpleasant feelings attached to being bailed on, I try hard not to be the one who flakes because I know what it feels like to be the recipient. Now, I absolutely do not think I’m better than anybody else for being consistently reliable; yet, I do feel better about myself for trying to avoid inconveniencing others or letting people down.
We put up with flakiness from our friends and family because we love them, but that doesn’t mean we prefer to be canceled on or placed on the back burner, right? Oh, and when someone says they are only five minutes away, and then 30 minutes later they show up as if nothing happened, that is annoying, too. It is ok to share your correct ETA, it really is!
It is somewhat deflating when people cancel on us or show up late, as if our time does not matter, or that our presence doesn’t trump the idea of doing something else like jumping into pajamas and watching TV. The bottom line is that we all make time for what is important to us. It can be hard to forget about the time when you arranged your schedule around a friend or event or gathering, and got all ready to go out, only to be canceled on shortly before, or waiting forever in public with a whiny child because friends are running super late (you know, like “only 5 more minutes”).
Again, I know that life happens. We all have rough days, headaches, or stomachaches. Our kids are sick (that is the WORST)! Traffic is terrible, or work commitments take priority. Perhaps, we just don’t feel like adulting. I get it; I am guilty of flaking as well. The good news is we can all do better, we can choose to make plans we are serious about, we can choose to follow through more, and we can choose to honor the relationships and opportunities in our life, for they are a blessing. By the way, don’t you generally just feel better after you make an effort to go out and enjoy time with others?
Plans with friends or family or co-workers don’t always have to revolve around drinks either. Yes, food and drinks can be fun, but what about exploring other fun options? What about doing a yoga class together? Exploring the city? Joining a book club? Throwing some axes (I hear those places are a blast!)? Nurture your souls together in healthy ways; you won’t regret it!
Ultimately, we should all ask ourselves how often are we flaking vs. being reliable? What kind of message are we sending to the people in our lives when we continuously cancel or show up late? As people get older, they do tend to have more commitments, especially those with kids or elderly parents. I get it; it’s not ever going to be like it was when we were kids or young adults. Yet, if we are creating unhealthy patterns, and it is affecting others, it never hurts to do some self-reflection; be honest, be reliable and choose to hold that “reservation” as much as possible. You and your loved ones are worth it!