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Flaky Friend: What It Means, 30 Reasons Why They Flake & Signs to Ditch Them

If you’ve got flaky friends, it can be hard to know what to do. Whether you want to keep them close or let them go, here’s everything you need to know.

Flaky Friend

The people you surround yourself with can make a huge impact on your life. They can either make it amazing, or they can make it difficult and create unhappiness in your life.

If you have flaky friends, they can make life very difficult and very unhappy. That is if you don’t know how to deal with them.

Once you know what’s right for you, your life will improve exponentially. But it can be difficult to decide between keeping flaky friends around or letting them go.

So, here’s everything you need to know about flaky friends and what you can do with them so that you can make the right choice to be happy. [Read: 70 true secrets to happiness and enjoying everything you do]

What is a flaky friend?

Simply put, a flaky friend is a friend who always shows up late to plans, or makes plans but never falls through with them. They tell you to call them at a certain time but when you call them, they’re nowhere to pick up the phone.

Basically, they’re not there when you need them. Sometimes, a flaky friend is forgivable. They’re late for most plans and maybe miss a phone call or not, but in these cases it’s harmless and they’re just busy.

However, sometimes a flaky friend just has to be cut out of your life. They are never there for you and they’ve proven time and time again that they can’t be relied on—what kind of friend is that? [Read: 30 sad signs of a bad friend that’ll make you lose faith in humanity]

Why do we keep flaky friends around?

Well, that’s simple: because no one is ever just one thing. A flaky friend might also be a hilarious friend, a caring friend *when they show up*, or the friend that is always supportive of you, even if months go by without you seeing each other.

Even though you can’t rely on them to show up on time, or sometimes to show up at all, they have redeeming qualities. And, if you’ve been friends for some time, you have memories and shared experiences that mean a lot to you.

Letting go of a friend is hard, especially if you can overlook their flaky behavior. [Read: How to accept your differences for relationship success]

However, you’re here reading a feature on flaky friends and what you should do with them. Maybe you can’t forgive their flaky behavior, or their good qualities don’t make up for it.

That doesn’t mean that it will be any less hard to let go of this friend, but if their flakiness is too much, then the friendship just has to end. [Read: Friendship breakup – why it hurts when friends leave and 18 truths to get over it]

Reasons why your friends might be flaky

Before you jump to ditching your friends, you might want to consider why they might be flaky beforehand.

If you want to decide to end the friendship, all the power to you. But if you don’t know what’s happening in their personal lives that is causing their flaky behavior, you might find out the cause down the line and regret ending the relationship.

So, here are some reasons why your friend might be flaky:

1. They overcommit

Everyone has been in a situation where they’ve committed to more than they can handle.

Whether it’s because they were stuck in a situation where they didn’t feel comfortable saying no, they weren’t aware of how much they already stacked on their plate, or because they’re a people pleaser, everyone’s done it.

Maybe your friend just isn’t very good at setting boundaries or realizing how much they can actually take on. It just sucks that you keep making plans that fall through because of it.

2. They have ADHD or just struggle to manage their time

If your friend has ADHD, they may have something known as “time-blindness.”

Essentially, people with ADHD and other attention disorders don’t have a great concept of time-keeping. That can result in them either allocating too much time and doing nothing while they wait for an appointment, or, in this case, not realizing that time is going by and they’re late for your meeting.

Even if your friend doesn’t have ADHD, they might still struggle with time perception. [Read: Dating someone with ADD – 17 must-knows you can’t ignore]

3. They have social anxiety or depression

Mental health disorders, like social anxiety and depression, can cause a person to be a flaky friend, but it’s not entirely their fault.

A person with social anxiety or depression can make plans with the full intent of going, but then the day actually arrives. Maybe they’re already having a bad day, or maybe the weight of the social situation hits them too hard.

Either way, they have to flake out of their plans because their anxiety or depression is too high. [Read: Why we need to break down the stigma of mental illness]

If you have a flaky friend who you know struggles with mental health problems, there are things you can do to help. Maybe you can make more plans that are focused on staying in or avoiding large groups. That will make your socially-anxious friend more comfortable and, importantly, more reliable.

Or, if your friend is prone to bouts of depression, you can offer to visit them just to be in their company. Sometimes, just physically being there but not demanding their attention is enough to make them feel your support and friendship during a difficult time. [Read: How to deal with a depressed person – ways that honor them]

4. They treat plans as flexible

So far, we’ve covered excusable or uncontrollable causes for flaky behavior. But now, let’s get into some of the more unforgivable causes.

To flaky people, plans aren’t set in stone. Even if you’ve talked about doing something for months, in their mind they’re free to make changes to these plans right up until the last minute.

5. They make “backup” plans

You know, just in case your plans backfire or something better comes up. No, it doesn’t make sense, that’s why this is unforgivable flaky behavior. It’s rude and downright disrespectful!

6. They just don’t respect or value your time

If you think this is the cause of your friend’s flaky behavior, it’s time to stop calling them a friend.

If they just don’t have respect for your time, then they don’t have respect for you. It’s a harsh truth, but it’s the truth nonetheless.

Reasons to ditch your flaky friends

There are reasons to stay friends with flaky friends. You probably know all of them, as you probably tell yourself all the reasons to stay as excuses.

But if your flaky friend is negatively affecting your life, you should consider the reasons to ditch your flaky friends. If you’ve never considered it before, you might not realize that it is the right option for you. [Read: Signs your friends are ruining your relationship]

So, here’s why you might want to ditch your flaky friends.

1. They’re unreliable

As we’ve said a few times already, flaky friends aren’t reliable and this type of friend isn’t healthy for your well-being. Your friends are supposed to be the people who are there for you no matter what and people you can count on.

If you can’t count on those people to be there in a moment of strife in your life, then why are they there? You should only keep people around who would do anything for you—and flaky friends are not those people.

2. It’ll make you a better person

You are who you surround yourself with. If you’re allowing negative and flaky friends to impact your life, you’re probably that type of person too, simply because you’ve been around it for so long.

If you get rid of those flaky friends, you’ll actually start to see how much that behavior is unacceptable. You’ll become a better person by ridding yourself of their negative influences. [Read: Bad friends – 25 types of friends you MUST unfriend from your life]

3. You can make room for positive people

This is probably the best reason to get rid of those bad and unreliable friends. When you get rid of all that negativity, it allows you to make room for people who actually deserve to be in your life.

You make room for those people who can positively impact your world. When you make room for positive people, you make room for positive change—and that can make a huge difference in your life.

4. You can start to trust people again

When you’ve lived so long with flaky friends, you automatically don’t trust that they’ll do as they say. If you’re someone who hears a person say they’ll do something but completely ignores it, it’s because you’ve forgotten how to trust.

When you get rid of those flaky friends and make room for good ones, you learn how to trust people again. And you remember what it’s like to have reliable, trustworthy people in your life. [Read: How to build trust in a relationship and learn to be loyal and loving]

5. You’ll be more successful in your aspirations

This can be confusing because it may not seem like your friends have much to do with your success, but they actually make a big impact.

If your friends are flaky when it comes to you, they’re also probably flaky when it comes to their careers. If you keep those people close, their behavior rubs off on you. [Read: Life questions to help you visualize your future]

So if you get rid of those people, you’ll free yourself up to focus on succeeding in life, and you’ll re-learn good habits instead of picking up flaky habits.

6. You’ll get rid of some anxiety

When you get rid of people who cause you anxiety, you allow yourself to relax. You wouldn’t believe how much anxiety has been having a negative impact on your life until you get rid of it. [Read: Relationship anxiety – what it is, 44 signs, feelings, and ways to get over it]

7. You won’t be influenced negatively

Flaky friends are not good friends to rely on. They have flaws in their life that negatively impact you. And by getting rid of them, you’re also getting rid of that negativity.

When you no longer have that type of influence in your life, you feel like a whole new person. You’ll have the positivity that could lead you to succeed in your dreams and aspirations.

8. You’ll have a better reputation

Chances are, if your friends are flaky and everyone knows about it, you’re probably right there with them. Meaning everyone also thinks you’re also a flaky friend and a negative person.

Once you drop those flaky friends, you can start creating a reputation you can be proud of. You’ll no longer be associated with people like that and you can work on creating a positive and trustworthy reputation. [Read: How your self-respect in a relationship affects you and your love life]

9. You’ll enjoy events more without them

When you have an event to go to, do your flaky friends make things better or worse? Do they show up late and make you look bad? Probably.

So, getting rid of them can make your events and parties so much more enjoyable simply because you don’t have to be reminded of their unreliable nature. You’ll be able to trust those who do show up, and you’ll be seen as a trustworthy and reliable person because of that. [Read: 22 signs your best friend isn’t a best friend anymore and why you drifted]

10. You’ll feel better about yourself

If you have flaky friends, you likely have bad self-esteem. If you think about it, you base your opinion on yourself depending on how those around you treat you.

This basically means that if your friends are flaking out on you, they’re telling you that you’re not important enough to be there for you.

You may not realize that this affects you in that way, but it does. If you ditch those crappy friends, you’ll feel like you’re worth more. [Read: 34 life-changing steps to fall in love with yourself all over again]

How to deal with flaky friends

Knowing how to deal with flaky friends might just save a friendship or two. If you know how to deal with them, their behavior won’t get to you as much. And you might even be able to remain friends with them despite their flakiness.

If not, then knowing how to deal with them will help you to know when enough is enough and how to end the friendship.

Either way, it’s a win-win.

1. Identify flaky patterns

Are they just flaky when you make plans with them upfront? Are they flaky when it comes to phone calls?

If you can identify when they’re flaky and when they’re actually a reliable friend, you can figure out when you can lean on them and when you can rely on other friends.

2. Share your feelings

Your friends aren’t mind readers. Maybe they don’t even know that they’ve been a flaky friend to you or that their behavior is affecting you.

Sit down with your friends and tell them how you feel when they don’t pick up your call, show up 30 minutes late to a meeting, or cancel plans at the last minute. Tell them that you feel like you can’t rely on them and that you need a dependable friend.

Refrain from throwing around accusatory language. Rather than saying, “You’re unreliable,” opt to say something like, “I feel like I can’t rely on you” so that you express your feelings without blaming them.

Maybe just a simple conversation can be enough to jump-start them into becoming a good and reliable friend. [Read: 42 secrets to communicate better in a relationship and ways to fix a lack of it]

3. Don’t make plans too far in advance

Flakiness and forgetfulness can often come hand-in-hand. So, if you make plans for a month or so in advance, your flaky friends could forget and make other plans in the meantime.

The best way to avoid this is to make short-notice plans. That way they won’t forget, and they might even show up!

4. Reconfirm your plans the day before

This is another way to keep your plans at the front of your flaky friends’ minds.

Also, if your friends are the type of flaky friends to make backup plans, then this is you giving them the chance to tell you that they’re too busy with other things to see you. At least that way you’re not stood up, wasting an afternoon on “friends” who won’t show.

5. Make plans easier for them

If you have the choice to meet up with them minutes away from their house or on the other side of town, maybe for this friendship group you should meet them closer to home. It’s a shame that your friends won’t make considerations for you, but if you want friendships with flaky friends to last, then you have to be the bigger person.

When plans are easier for your flaky friends to meet, then they might be more likely to show up.

6. Set a regular meet-up time

Once something becomes a part of our routine, it’s much easier to do them. They become natural, and we can do them without even thinking about them. So, one way to make your friends more reliable is to make it part of their routine.

If you set a regular time to meet with your flaky friends, like every Saturday afternoon, then meeting with you will become a part of their weekly routine. Or, call them at the same time every day, and they’ll get used to picking up the phone.

7. Set boundaries

Some friends are flaky because they can’t help it. And some friends are flaky because they walk all over you.

If your friends are the latter type, then it’s time that you lay down the law. They can’t walk all over you if you set boundaries in place and stand by them.

Tell them that if they stand you up, you won’t forgive them. If they make plans and back out of them last minute, then you’ll just go on those plans with someone else. And they can’t call on you in their time of need, because you know that you can’t call on them. [Read: 25 types, ways, and tips to set boundaries with friends without insulting them]

8. Accept some level of flakiness

Let’s be honest, no one’s perfect. Maybe your friend’s quirky flaw is that they’re a bit flaky.

It’s all about being reasonable. If you have a friend that is 20 minutes late because their two kids were causing chaos, then you should forgive them. If they canceled plans without telling you, aka. they stood you up just because they felt like it, you shouldn’t forgive them.

9. Don’t take it personally

Flaky behavior is more of a reflection of them than it is the person they’re flaking on. So don’t take it personally when they cancel on plans for the 5th time in a row. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you or that they think you’re boring.

It means that they’ve got their own things to sort out. Either they don’t know how to say no, they need to stop being a people-pleaser, or they need to become a better friend. Whatever it is, it’s not a reflection on you.

10. Make new friends

If you have a small friendship group, and everyone in your circle is a flaky friend, then go out there! Make some new friends that are good for you.

Join a club, eat lunch with a new coworker, or even go to a dance class! There are loads of people out there who could become your new best friend, and they’re better than the “friends” who currently let you down. [Read: 27 fun ways to make new friends and mistakes to avoid + the best social apps]

11. Don’t rely only on them

You’ve got other friends. Maybe you should think about who you should rely on and when. If you just want to meet up for coffee with someone, then your flaky friends are a great choice. It’s a low-commitment plan that won’t devastate you if they cancel on you yet again.

But if there’s a concert that you’re dying to go through, consider asking one of your other, more reliable friends to go with you. Don’t put your eggs in a basket that you can’t rely on.

12. Invest your time in good friends

You don’t have to completely cut your flaky friends out of your life. But, it might be better to prioritize your friends who are supportive, dependable, and treat you how a good friend should.

You’ll feel so much better for keeping a close circle of good people around you than people who let you down and disappoint you constantly.

13. Consider if these are friends you need

Maybe you’ve tried all the steps above, and you’re still feeling upset and let down by these friends. If this friendship just isn’t doing anything good for you, then it might be time to cut ties.

It’s hard to think about letting go of a friend, but our lives are only as good as the people we keep around us. If you are unhappy with the people you call “friends”, that unhappiness will seep into other areas of your life.

You’ll feel lighter and happier letting go of friends who just aren’t good for you. [Read: When and how to end a friendship if they’re toxic and holding you back]

14. Make the break clean

It’s time to be straightforward with your friends. They’re not someone that you can rely on, so they’re not someone you want in your life.

Don’t give them the chance to make false promises. They have proven what kind of friends they are, they won’t change now. It’s better to make this breakup clean and be done with this drama once and for all. [Read: How to break up with a friend – The respectful steps you must follow]

What if you’re the flaky friend?

If you’re here because you have a horrible gut feeling that maybe you’re the flaky friend in your group, then the soul-searching doesn’t stop here.

You need to look within yourself, and at past experiences with your friends, to see why you’re feeling this way. [Read: 28 self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]

Are you pretty unreliable when it comes to picking up the phone? Do you cancel plans at the very last minute and with no warning? Do you not do anything for your friends unless it’s convenient for you?

If you answered yes, then you might have some apologizing to do. They may still be your friends, but your behavior has definitely hurt them at some point. So, acknowledge your flaky behavior, make amends, and really commit to being dependable.

Actions speak louder than words, so show them how serious you are about being there for them.

[Read: 28 heartfelt ways to say you’re sorry and apologize to someone you love]

Everyone has had flaky friends at some point in their life. They can be difficult to deal with, but they don’t have to be. Either you stay friends with them knowing that you can’t seriously rely on them, or you need to make room for the good people by getting rid of the negative ones. What you do next is up to you.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...