We’ve All Had to Deal With Flakes And Annoying Flaky Behavior. Way to Handle Them Properly.
This post may offend some readers, but only because it’s going to cut close to the bone for many. And I don’t care if I sound old-fashioned, because it’s nothing to do with ‘fashion’ or ‘generation.’ It’s got everything to do with basic good manners and respect for other people.
My Values of Others
I believe Instead of judging people by their past, stand by them, and help them build their future. I treat everyone with kindness–not because I am kindhearted, but because who I am as Man. I believe people should be treated with courtesy, politeness, and kindness. Encourage others to express opinions and ideas. Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Never speak over or interrupt another person feeling.
I believe you teach people how to treat you by; first, I start with myself, and I talk about my “rules of engagement.” I communicate your needs clearly and compassionately to others, and I have a model for how I’d like to be treated. I reinforce the behaviors I want. Pick a role model to emulate. I have realistic expectations of people.
Remember, flaky people, are just disrespectful of your time.
Good Example of Flaky Situation
During my sophomore year in college, a girl from my hometown, Carey, moved to campus. She was a friend from high school and suggested meeting up. I enthusiastically agreed, in part, because she was pretty, and we were friends.
During the year we planned (well, I planned) to meet well over 10 times. We met once that year, during lunch in the dining hall, where we both would have been anyway. The other times she flaked, usually notifying me at the very last minute, if at all.
What Is Flaking?
There is an epidemic of “flakes” in the dating, or life, mainly because meeting people is so easy, as is making plans. Flaking is canceling with someone at the last minute, usually with a poor excuse, but it also includes a pattern of making promises of getting together and then breaking them. Flaking is ultimately a lack of respect for your feelings and time.
All of my friends have experienced flaking in some form. They’ve matched on Tinder, texted back and forth, and then planned to meet, only for that person to flake. One friend was told that his date was “too nervous about the meeting,” and her mom’s resume needed update or on a Saturday night, as he was on the hour drive to see her. And, just because I have used female examples, let’s not forget that men flake too.
Legitimate cancellation within a reasonable time frame isn’t flaking, although even this can be flaking if it becomes a pattern.
This “definitive guide” for dealing with flakes is relatively short because there is no sense complicating a non-complicated subject.
First, I want to start with two guiding principles that must be followed when dealing with flakes and anybody who wastes your time.
You Are the Prize
That’s right. People should be chasing after you, and not vice-versa. When you view yourself as the prize, you will become less needy, more detached, and be able to put the bad behavior of others in its proper context.
Your time and attention are valuable. And, the more valuable you view yourself; the more valuable others will view you, and their respect will follow.
Detachment is acting as your best self, without worrying about the outcome. It allows you to make good decisions, in line with your values, regardless of the situation.
Many people find it hard to do the right thing related to someone they are attracted to, because the person’s attractiveness blinds them, or they fear that another person won’t come along. So, they tolerate bad behavior.
To deal with flakes, you have to be detached. You have to understand (or at least act as you know) that there are many more dates and friends out there, and you don’t have to put up with disrespectful, flaky behavior.
Step One: Freeze Them Out
The natural response many people have with flakes is to “reason” with the person or complain, at the moment of flaking. Avoid this. I’ve never seen flakes convinced to reconsider their decision to flake. If they are canceling at the last minute, they aren’t on their way to meet you.
So, the answer is to freeze them out, kind of like temporary ghosting, which may become permanent if needed. Remember, you are the prize, so you’re not going to enable a flake.
Study after study shows that humans consider scarcity a sign of value. Neediness and availability are taken as a sign of low value. So, by refusing contact, you are potentially increasing your value more in her eyes by signaling your unavailability.
So, if you’re sitting in the coffee shop and she’s late, and she texts “sorry something came up, let’s reschedule,” you can freeze contact by responding once with something brief, like “OK” and then stopping contact, or by simply not responding at all. If you’re feeling particularly funny, you can send an image ( check out the article for a funny image I use ).
But that’s it. The point of stopping contact is to show you don’t care. Any long diatribe about being stood up or begging him or her to come out defeats the point of proving you don’t care, and you’ll just look like every other needy person the flake has dealt with.
Even if she responds, keep the freeze. Why? You may be the first person who has stood up to her and hasn’t begged for her attention. Make her double or triple text you. Wait a few days. There is no set time for you to freeze a flake out. It depends on her response and how you feel.
You may find that he or she “cares about you so much” that you never get another text. And, that just shows how much you were valued, to begin with.
If you feel like the flake is sorry and seems to be working hard to earn back your respect (such as by promising to meet soon, etc.), you can unfreeze contact. However, regardless of whether you re-initiate contact, you need to start…
Step Two: Optioning
There are plenty of people who won’t flake on you. And, you need to focus on those people. Optioning is a baseball term for sending someone to the minor leagues with the option of calling them back up when needed.
While it may seem a little analytical, view your social contacts (including people you may date) this way. You have your starters (quality people), ones on the bench (good, but not the best), and those in the minor leagues (ones who don’t share all of your values, but are still worth knowing). Once someone flakes on you, that indicates they need to be “sent to the minors.”
That’s not to say you won’t ever contact him or her again, or that you won’t hang out or text occasionally. You’re just giving someone else priority, someone who hopefully respects you and shares your values. If the flake sincerely apologizes and starts acting differently, he can eventually go back to a “starter” position.
If you don’t have quality options in your life, then it is time to find them. The reason you may lack quality people is that you have shown yourself as overly needy and a doormat in the past.
So, if a girl flakes on you, message another. Maybe the flake was closer to your “ideal woman” than this other one, but that doesn’t matter. No matter how attractive a flake is, a pattern of flaking means she isn’t your ideal woman (or he isn’t your perfect man). I tolerated Carey’s behavior because she was beautiful. So, contact another. And maybe another. Get my point?
You may think this is harsh or strict. I disagree. It’s assertive, valuing yourself, and prioritizing people who share your values and who respect themselves and you enough to keep their commitments or cancel within a reasonable time.
And, it will keep you sane when dealing with that annoying and frustrating last-minute cancellation.
I wish I would’ve known all of these things in college with Carey. In the process of prioritizing Carey, I neglected other good people while beating a dead horse with meeting Carey.