Author Topic: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over? Update #31,#56  (Read 15395 times)

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BuffaloFang

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A best friend of mine started a public office job a couple of years ago.  She had always been somewhat flaky, but since starting her new career, she's been flaky to the point of cancelling about 50 percent of all the plans we make. Most of the plans have been small (Coffee, bike rides, races, etc.), but she just recently flaked on something that will cost a bunch of people a lot of money, and I'm wondering if it's even worth it.

BG: Last year we had planned a ski-trip. We were going back and forth about which condos to rent, and I tried my hardest to accomodate what she wanted in a condo.  As a result, we ended up not in the ski-town we were skiing in, but about 8 miles away.  The week of the trip, she had "something come up at work" and was unable to go.  She did not offer to pay her share of the condo, but fortunately I had other friends who ended up being able to use it.

At one point she requested I do a race with her and not invite my other friends (she really wanted it to be a just her and I thing) then later realized she had stuff at work so I ended up being unable to do the race (fortunately there was another similar race later in the year that I did with my other friends).

This last year to get together with some mutual friends and "do christmas" at our house.  A few weeks before she "suddenly remembered" she had promised another friend she would do Christmas with her and we ended up having to shuffle around times and everything so she could attend both.

Just recently we had been planning a group trip to a foreign country.  She and another member of the group were not getting along.  (The other member was actually quite hostile to her, but she was also somewhat hostile back).  Just this last week she suddenly decided she wasn't going to go, putting us out for her share of the (nonrefundable) hotels we had already booked as well as the cost for her share of the tours we booked. (all in all, about $500).  My DH has already insisted that she pay her share of the tour cost if we are unable to recoup the money from the tour company. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point/End BG

I had given her a lot of leeway in the beginning, because I realized her job had her working bizarre hours and was very emotionally draining.  However, I think after a year of her getting special consideration, she's begun to take it for granted that she can drop out of whatever she wants. She now has a set schedule, with very occasional deviations, and I'm just tired of being flaked out on. Honestly, it's to the point where if she says she'll be somewhere, there's only a 50% chance of her actually showing.  So I ask you, is this worth ending the friendship over? And if so, given the fact that we are rather close, do I owe her an explanation?  I considered either just refusing all future offers to get together, or sending her an email detailing what I've just said above.  Thoughts?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 04:09:30 PM by BuffaloFang »

weeblewobble

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 10:17:06 AM »
I agree. I think you should stop making plans with her. And I think your husband is right to insist she pay her share of the trip. She's gotten away with this too many times. Maybe if there are negative consequences for her actions she will reconsider her flakiness

BuffaloFang

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 10:23:13 AM »
Well, with the foreign country trip she actually has to eat the cost of her airfare, which in itself is somewhat considerable.  I wouldn't actually have blamed her for dropping out (the tensions were high and I can see how being trapped in a foreign land with someone you're not getting along with) , except for her history of flakiness.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 10:31:07 AM »
Why are you booking things for her without getting the money up front, especially considering her history?

I'd stop including her. If she calls you out on it, cite the examples you gave us. 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 12:46:11 PM by QueenofAllThings »

oceanus

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 10:40:54 AM »
Well, OP, I've read your post twice to make sure I understand. I'll limit my reply to answering your two questions.

Quote
So I ask you, is this worth ending the friendship over? 

Yes.

Quote
And if so, given the fact that we are rather close, do I owe her an explanation? 

No.

The TARDIS

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 11:11:50 AM »
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.

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Tea Drinker

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 11:14:47 AM »
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.
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ChiGirl

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 11:17:56 AM »
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 post...you 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.


doodlemor

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 11:19:27 AM »
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.

JenJay

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 11:33:37 AM »
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.  :)
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 11:35:42 AM by JenJay »

LadyL

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 11:34:24 AM »
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. 


POD. I had friends (a couple) who kept cancelling dinner plans that I'd initiated. Finally I said "let me know the next time you want to do dinner." They never contacted me about plans. I would refuse to have plans with this friend that involve cost or relying solely on her. Plans like "Suzy and I will be at a book signing from 1-3 if you want to join us" where it doesn't matter if she drops in or not are the farthest I'd go.

SingMeAway

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 11:47:06 AM »
Sadly, I too have a friend similar to this, though mercifully I've never been out money when she's flaked. I would never want to cut the friendship with her (we've been close friends for almost 30 years) though I have been disappointed many times. I've simply changed my mindset about how I deal with her. I put the ball in her court, i.e "Friend, you call me when you are available.".

If it's a group activity with a few other people, knowing she will often back out (always for very legitimate reasons it seems), I will simply invite her by saying, "We will be a X at Y o'clock. Hope you can make it.".

In other words, I've tried to remove the power her flakiness has over me :D. If I invited her for coffee and she flaked at the last minute, I'd probably still go anyway, just to get out and not be sitting around fuming. Also, petty as it is, so I could say "Ok, well I'm going anyway, sorry you can't make it." because sometimes, with my friend, I honestly did wonder if it wasn't a bit of a control thing.

Lastly, as others have suggested, do not put yourself in a position of being out any money if she backs out. From now on in, any plans she commits to that costs is money up-front from her.

TylerBelle

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2013, 12:05:41 PM »
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. 


POD. I had friends (a couple) who kept cancelling dinner plans that I'd initiated. Finally I said "let me know the next time you want to do dinner." They never contacted me about plans. I would refuse to have plans with this friend that involve cost or relying solely on her. Plans like "Suzy and I will be at a book signing from 1-3 if you want to join us" where it doesn't matter if she drops in or not are the farthest I'd go.

I've done similar with a friend who was notorious for canceling. No difference was made if she initiated the plans or I did, or the timeline with planning, didn't matter if it was over weeks, days or even the day of. Also I let my frustration get the better of me once after one of her bailings, and told her that the next time she wanted to do something, I only want to hear about it when she was leaving her house and on her way to either my house or the activity place and not before. Later I learned through a mutual friend that it ticked her off and the next time I wouldn't be invited. Fine, if that's how it's to be.

She hasn't cost me money, either, but frustration and regret from losing out on things that at the time I didn't want to do by myself. Such as I wished I'd gone on without her to see actor Martin Landau in a production of Dracula when the show was at the theatre here (another of her cancelings, thankfully we hadn't gotten tickets yet). I too, have backed off over the years mentioned, and most of our contact comes from her, but it's mostly to chat, but I so agree with having her make the effort to fit into your schedule.



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BuffaloFang

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2013, 12:24:00 PM »
Thanks for your replies.  She is a great friend other than the flakiness, but the flakiness has just become such a huge factor, it's begun tainting the friendship.

It's not even about the money.  Fortunately the people planning the trip to the foreign country all happen to be comfortable, and it's a large enough group that it's not a big deal to pool together and cover her share.  It's more the complete disregard for the inconvenience and time other people put into accomodating her only to have all the time wasted.   Also, I resent the fact that I could be doing other things with the time I set aside for her; I've scheduled around meeting up with her, sometimes to my inconvenience, only to have her bail.

Another mutual friend of ours has called her out on her flakiness before, and she ended up getting angry and not speaking to this friend for a few months. They're currently back to being friends, but it's not as close as it used to be for obvious reasons.

Amara

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Re: Flaky Friend: Is this worth cutting our friendship over?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 12:33:52 PM »
In this situation I would cut off the friendship with an explanation. The reason is that she not only costs you (and your mutual friends) time, money, effort and consideration, she is disrespecting you in a big way. Her repeated actions are showing that she views you as conveniences rather than friends, or maybe a more accurate way to say it is to say she treats her friends as conveniences. When it is convenient for her.

This is disrespectful. It says "I care about you only to the point that it works for me," and nothing else. And given that no one has called her on it by demanding that she live up to the agreement she made and pay all costs that she voluntarily and perhaps eagerly took on she has come to view these events as no big deal. She can commit, back out, and everyone else will just deal with it. By not requiring her to live up to her chosen responsibility all of you have taught her that her actions are acceptable.

As I said I would cut her off with an explanation. That explanation would be the why--my second paragraph. But even if she apologized and promised not to do it again I wouldn't change my mind. The decision to no longer include her was made based on the kind of person she is, and that kind of person wouldn't have a role in my life.

ETA: I saw that you were typing while I was. Based on your above post I would still make the same decision. The fact that she got angry when called out on her behavior indicates that she sees nothing wrong with doing what she is doing. She feels she is entitled to do it. Why? Maybe because it's not about the money and she knows it. Maybe it's something else. But regardless of her reason(s) she is causing difficulty to others and is, again, being disrespectful. That's not something a friend should be to other friends. 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 12:37:57 PM by Amara »