Author Topic: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle  (Read 2277 times)

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wellisawstar

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Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« on: October 22, 2012, 10:12:34 PM »
I am in a graduate program. In our first year, we were put into small groups to work on a project. I befriended one of my fellow classmates who I will call Frieda. Frieda and I usually hung out with another friend of ours. We were part of a research group later on last year. However, Frieda started acting a little strangely. She stopped hanging out with our other friend, with whom she was close. She started working a lot rather than spending time on classwork, and she cancelled on plans about 90 percent of the time. At that point, I decided it would be best for me to focus on my other friends and just enjoy Frieda when she was present.

However, Frieda has started to email me about dinner plans. We had plans for a week ago, but she decided to go home early from work. Then she asked to reschedule. Twice.

I'm getting very tired of making plans with Frieda unless it's in a group situation where the plan won't be harmed if one person doesn't show. I don't want to keep rescheduling one-on-one dinners with her because I'm very tired of her canceling at the last minute. It's also pricey to eat out regularly, and she has never attended a dinner at my house (party or not). However, we're going to be around each other a lot for the next few years, and I don't want to handle this situation poorly.

When Frieda asks about dinner again, what's an etiquette-approved response?

mbbored

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 10:40:19 PM »
I suggest saying that you're very busy for the foreseeable future.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 11:07:34 PM »
I don't think it would be out of line to nicely ask her if she's really committed to showing up this time. I think with her recent history, it's a fair question. Point out, in great detail (so she knows it's a big deal) all of the times that she's canceled at the last minute.  Stress that you really want to meet with her, but you're starting to feel jerked around by all of her cancellations. 

Alternately, if you don't want to be quite as blunt as that, I'd still make it a point to ask her quite often if she's free, if she has a lot on her plate that day (whenever you schedule the outing), etc.  Make her REALLY commit.  AND, just start with dessert or coffee, not a whole dinner...easier on your pocketbook.  Or better yet, only be willing to make plans for either of your houses.  She had her chance for her type of plans and she cancelled...several times.  Now you get to make the plans.

onyonryngs

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 11:10:53 PM »
I think that you can be honest with her.  Tell you that you'd like to go out to dinner, but as she's cancelled three times you want to make sure the plans are firm so you know to turn down other offers. 

Slartibartfast

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 01:06:37 AM »
"Sure, I'd love to do dinner sometime!  It seems like you've got a pretty busy schedule, though, as do I.  How about you call me sometime when you're free, and if I happen to be free too we can do something?"

Doing that puts the emphasis on her to actually do the arranging (i.e. bothering to think of you and call you when she's free), and it lets you be the one who decides whether you're free enough to join her or not.  Then, if she is thoughtful enough to call you once or twice (even if you can't go), you can try to make more firm plans because she'll have shown she's at least thinking about it.

rose red

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 10:38:00 AM »
I would do a combination of all the above.  "I'd love to see you, but you've canceled in the last minute the last three times.  I canceled invitations because we had plans.*  Like I said, I'd love to see you, but how about you call me sometime when you're free, and if I happen to be free too we can do something?" (<-----Slartibartfast's wording)

*Even if it's not true.  Might be PA and a lie, but it gets across that people's lives and time are affected by her actions.

O'Dell

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 11:40:33 AM »
"Sure, I'd love to do dinner sometime!  It seems like you've got a pretty busy schedule, though, as do I.  How about you call me sometime when you're free, and if I happen to be free too we can do something?"

Doing that puts the emphasis on her to actually do the arranging (i.e. bothering to think of you and call you when she's free), and it lets you be the one who decides whether you're free enough to join her or not.  Then, if she is thoughtful enough to call you once or twice (even if you can't go), you can try to make more firm plans because she'll have shown she's at least thinking about it.

I think this is your best option. It lets her know that you have noted her pattern of behavior and expect a little more effort and reliability on her part. Although I think subbing something more like coffee/drinks than dinner for the reasons cited above. Well...unless dinner means fast food. ;)
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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wellisawstar

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Re: Flaky classmate -- want to stop the cycle
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 05:53:17 PM »
"Sure, I'd love to do dinner sometime!  It seems like you've got a pretty busy schedule, though, as do I.  How about you call me sometime when you're free, and if I happen to be free too we can do something?"

Doing that puts the emphasis on her to actually do the arranging (i.e. bothering to think of you and call you when she's free), and it lets you be the one who decides whether you're free enough to join her or not.  Then, if she is thoughtful enough to call you once or twice (even if you can't go), you can try to make more firm plans because she'll have shown she's at least thinking about it.

I think this is your best option. It lets her know that you have noted her pattern of behavior and expect a little more effort and reliability on her part. Although I think subbing something more like coffee/drinks than dinner for the reasons cited above. Well...unless dinner means fast food. ;)

I agree. I think I will try this the next time this happens.