dealing with the flaky friend

I am a homebody.

My boyfriend may disagree and my Instagram may fool a few people, but I truly do love being home. After I’m home for a couple days, I do get serious FOMO. But for the most part, I would rather stay in than go to certain events or deal with a lot of people. There are just too many factors that play into why I don’t want to leave the house, even if you’re literally picking me up like a queen and paying for everything.

Which is one reason why I’ve been a flaky friend to people. I’ve canceled, made excuses, lied, and been relieved when people had to reschedule. I’ve missed appointments and had friends plain out tell me I’m unreliable (even though there was nothing to rely on me for in the first place) just for telling them I couldn’t make it or didn’t want to leave the house at the last minute. I even canceled on my first date with my current boyfriend when we first started talking, although it might have been a good thing because it made him want me more.

For the most part, it didn’t mean I wanted to end our friendship. It rarely meant that I didn’t like hanging out with them. I just preferred being alone. It was nicer to text someone rather than meet up. And when I was younger, it was easier to cancel on people than have to explain to my parents every little detail of where I was going, with whom, for how long, and what we were going to be doing. Each time I canceled on a friend, I felt bad. I worried about whether or not they’d start to talk shit about me, if they thought I didn’t like them, or if they’d even bother inviting me out anymore. When I’d think about asking them to hang out another time, I thought they’d say no simply because I canceled on them before. I always had to prepare myself for the shit they’d give me when I finally did see them.

Eventually, I learned to avoid making plans with certain people at certain times. If I knew I had work, I’d turn down an offer to hang out even if it was on a Saturday night because I knew I didn’t want to be tired all day on Sunday. Some of the people that were trying to make plans were just terrible at hanging out. It’s hard to be bad at just hanging out with people, but some of my friends know how to turn a 3-hour event into a 9-hour one, and not in a good way. Sometimes I just didn’t want to spend money or have someone cover me. Sometimes I didn’t want to go out because it was raining, or cold, or because I had to take the train, so I made excuses or lied about working to make plans. “I’ll let you know” was my favorite saying. It’s growth though, right?

My closest friend stopped inviting me places because she knew I wouldn’t want to go for a couple reasons which I told her about bluntly. But there are other ways to deal with a flaky friend beside cutting them off entirely and shunning them from your group.

Asking them straight out what the problem is can be risky, but if you’re close and can share things with each other, then they might openly tell you that they hate when you bring your boyfriend along or that your Uncle Tom that lives with you always tries to peek up their skirt when you’re walking up the stairs. If not, you could start a fight by trying to pry into their lives and assume that they don’t want to hang out when they plain out don’t have the time or just fucking hate you.

Determine what kind of friendship you have with them. It’s 2018 and majority of people have at least one friend that they met online or through some social media. Sometimes these friendships only last because you share memes on Twitter. Hanging out might create awkwardness for them and you can’t see it. I’m definitely someone who prefers texting for hours over meeting up and partying. We create bonds with people at school mainly because we see them every other day. Our coworkers are only friends at work. If you find yourself having night long conversations with someone but they always turn you down when you want to meet up for drinks, it’s probably better to keep them at that distance and only invite them out for major occasions.

Stop treating them like your conjoined twin. Ever notice that your one friend will talk nonstop when it’s just the two of you, but doesn’t make a peep when you invite your other 9 friends that they barely know? They might be an introvert or just hate your friends (or both). If I’m with two of my close cousins, I can laugh and talk and fool you into thinking I’m the most outgoing and sociable person in the world. But once my cousin starts inviting her 40 friends to dinner, I’m ready to throw myself off the roof just so I have a legit excuse to not come. Not all your friends will get along with your other friends. The only occasions where you should be mixing your different groups together are birthdays, your wedding, and your funeral. You don’t need to drag your one friend along with you to every outing and event, even if they’re your closest pal.

Cater to their needs once in a while. Your friend might not share the obsession with sushi that you have, but you always choose a Japanese restaurant to have lunch at. They might live behind God’s back but you always choose a movie theater that’s five minutes away from your house. They might be that one friend that doesn’t have enough money, doesn’t live nearby, and doesn’t have the same schedule as your entire group of friends and you don’t even notice because you’re oblivious to peoples’ needs. Creating a balanced schedule where you find a pizza place, take the train out to see them, and offer to pay for a lunch once in a while can salvage whatever you guys have left

It’s not that hard to figure out if someone is being flaky because they actually don’t like you or because that’s just how they are. If there’s a specific reason why they don’t want to hang out, then it can strengthen your friendship if you figure it out. I would have loved if I had the chance to tell certain friends that I didn’t like seeing them 9 times a week or going to the club every time we hung out. But I also knew that some of my friends wouldn’t understand if I didn’t need to see them to maintain a friendship.

Being a flaky friend sometimes means you’re still learning to say “no” to people without letting them make you feel bad. In a perfect world, you’d be able to tell people you just don’t feel like seeing them without them thinking you hate their guts. In reality, people have trust issues. Friendships are tricky. They’re not as perfect as some television shows make them out to be where a girl can forgive her bestie for sleeping with her boyfriend.

I usually hate articles that give advice on basic shit that people already know but have to experience themselves to really benefit from, but this is something I think a lot of people don’t understand and are quick to jump to conclusions about. It’s not easy being on the shunned end of a friendship. I learned over time that many people don’t value friendships as much as they claim to because they have too many expectations for them. The truth is that everyone makes mistakes and unless their intentions are harmful, you should be treating a friendship the same way you treat any other relationship- by communicating, growing, and understanding.

If you can work things out with a boyfriend/girlfriend and give them several chances to be with you, then you can do the same with your friends.

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