General Etiquette > general

Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over? Update #31,#56

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You need to drop her. She joins when it suits her and begs off when it does not. That is not friendship, that is her using your kindness. I had a friend like this once and it isn't worth the headache and frustration. Don't make plans with her. If you want to remain friends, then get together for cheap things like coffee or shopping or girl-time - nothing that will be expensive to YOU if she drops it last minute.

Tea Drinker:
It's worth ending the friendship over, and while you don't owe her an explanation, it might be less hassle if you gave her one, briefly, rather than turning down seventeen consecutive "let's do X" suggestions.

Alternatively, you could start turning down anything that would cost you money (or significant time) up front, and tell her "Friend, with you canceling so often, it's stopped being fun for me, and I can't afford to cover your share of things when you flake on us. I'm still up for hanging out casually, or in a group, but you have to be fair: don't say 'yes' unless you're sure you can do something, and don't cancel unless it's a real medical emergency. If there's any chance that your job, dog, or brother-in-law's ex-roommate will override, don't tell me you'll be there."

The second works if you still enjoy her company when those issues don't come up; you aren't obliged to offer an alternative in a situation like this.

The real question is, do you want to end the friendship altogether, or just cool it down significantly?

I ask because it's not clear to me from your mention that you're rather close, and all the problems are of the "she's become flaky" variety, as opposed to the "she's become a horrible person and I can't tolerate being in the same room with her ever again" variety.

I'd definitely step back from making any plan with her that involves you depending on her in any way.  If she asks why, be direct.

I don't blame you for being thoroughly irked, BuffaloFang.  You have been treated very inconsiderately.

Another possibility for you is to let the friendship do a big fade out, and see if so-called friend makes an effort to remain close.  By this I mean to only invite her to things where her presence or absence would not make a difference, like a large party/gathering.  Refuse all activities that would be one on one.  Don't make any accommodations for her preferences, or change any plans for her.  If she wants to remain friends with you and your group force let her make the effort. 

Don't disappoint yourself by expecting a lot from her, though.  She might not be quite the person that you thought she was.

If you otherwise enjoy her friendship then I wouldn't end it, but I'd absolutely stop allowing her to dictate plans.

I would not invite her to vacation with me, ever, and if she asked why I'd be honest - "Friend, many times we've included you and you've had to cancel last minute. It ends up costing the rest of us a lot more money. In all honesty, we can't afford to invite you. I'm sorry."

More local, lower-cost things such as dinners out, tickets to events, parties, etc. I might still invite her but I'd plan around whatever was most convenient for everyone and if that didn't work for her I'd reply "I'm sorry to hear you can't make it, we'll miss you." and refuse to alter the details to accommodate her.

She'll either have a lightbulb moment and make an effort to spend time with you or she'll get upset and find a new group of friends. Either way you win.  :)


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