Annoyed with a flaky friend who is always late; ditches you at the last-minute; forgets dates? Maybe it’s time to go beyond what you perceive and find out if your friend’s behavior is fueled by their ego or if they’re unable to cope with life. We’re often quick to judge, complain… but if you have a friend with this repeat behavior it’s time to go further into the why.
Do you really know what’s going on in their life?
Jumping to Judgment
So often it’s about your time, and your schedule, but if you love your friend it may be time to slow down and hear what is going on with them. Why do they miss these dates?
“Is your friend flaky or are they suffering from an inability to cope with life or do they suffer from depression?”
The “Flaky Friend” Deconstruct
I have a friend who loves to hang out with me when I’m around, but forgets me when I’m not in her immediate vicinity. After years of scratching my head over this behavior, I realize that’s just who she is. She lives in the now. If I check in I don’t expect a call back… if I’m in her vicinity, however, I know she’ll drop everything to have lunch with me. I manage my expectations with this friendship and don’t presume that she has more to offer.
Overactive sense of self.
Years ago, a friend was lamenting that our mutual friend only calls when he needs something. The world revolves around him, and his needs are greater than ours. If he’s late, we should understand, but he expects us to be on time and reliable. Before you ditch him, think about what this friend adds to your life. Do other parts of his behavior compensate for his flakiness?
As my ego-driven friend’s value outweighs what I consider annoying behavior, I manage my expectations and made the choice to keep in contact with him. Rather than feeling angry and a victim, I understand that this friendship has some restrictions and I act accordingly. One example, I make a date with a few friends for an activity, so if my tardy friend’s late or makes an excuse not to show up then it doesn’t matter – the date still goes on!
Flaky friend or someone suffering?
Friends who suffer.
Does your friend find it difficult to cope because of a mental disorder or depression? Wow, this has been an eye opener for me. So often I became fretful when a friend struggled to keep our dates only to discover later that my friend was being treated for depression and suffered many emotional battles to cope. These friends often kept their suffering secret for a long time. It often takes years to peel away the layers to understand the depth of their pain. So standing me up, breaking a date at the last-minute is nothing compared to the days they spend trying to get out of bed.
Understand that often their commitment to your friendship doesn’t waver; and that their commitment to you has nothing to do with their behavior.
Since I’m not a therapist, counselor or psychologist I am unable to offer personal or professional advice. Here is information from the Mayo Clinic’s “Depression: Supporting a family member or friend“: Learn the signs and symptoms of depression and encourage treatment; find out what to do if the depression worsens and how to provide support.
We featured Dr. Brady from www.bradyesque.com on the Super Friend Groups Talk Radio show discussing “Friends, Celebrities and Suicide with Dr. Jonathan Brady“ so you can listen to his angle on this topic too.
Remember…. A great friend starts with you!
Image courtesy: By psyberartist (seated_alone Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
© Glenda Shaw_Superfriendgroups.com 2013
Please note: I hide specific and identifiable details in my friend stories as these stories are examples of behavior and not meant to hurt anyone. These stories are based on my opinion and perspective, except when the people written about are in the public domain.