• Resolving Problems

Dealing with an unreliable friend

Published: August 17, 2013 | By | 54 Replies Continue Reading
What do you do when an unreliable friend breaks dates and can no longer be trusted her for her word.


Hi Irene,

I’ve known my friend for just under a year. Although we get along well, she is unreliable and flaky.

When I suggest doing something, she doesn’t seem keen. She either says okay, and we’ll set a day to see each other or the classic response: “I’ll get back to you” – which she never does. As a result, numerous plans we’ve made either haven’t happened because they are forgotten about or she cancels them at the last minute with some poor excuse. Sometimes this happens when I’m on my way to meet her! She cancels plans she initiates, too, and says we never hang out enough, which I find confusing.

On the rare occasions that we do manage to meet up, she always makes an excuse to leave early and the whole thing is cut short. What’s more frustrating is that it’s because she’d rather spend time at home with her boyfriend whom she lives with!

So how should I handle this? Am I being unreasonable?

Signed, Lauren


Dear Lauren,

Of course, you aren’t being unreasonable! No one enjoys having an unreliable friend who consistently breaks plans.

It sounds like your friend truly wants to get together with you—or else she would simply say no when you ask, nor would she initiate get-togethers. But she may be having difficulties making plans and keeping them either because her boyfriend is making demands on her time or because she feels driven on her own to spend more time with him. One other possibility is that she is simply a poor planner/scheduler.

As far as you are concerned, the precise reasons are irrelevant. Friends should be more reliable and considerate than she is being to you. You need to talk to your friend and let her know you would prefer she not make plans rather than break them at the last minute. Ask her if she knows why this keeps happening, and suggest she put herself in your shoes and think about how she would feel if the situation were reversed.

If you are more assertive in setting limits and letting your friend know how you feel, this will hopefully be something you can work out together. Sometimes women are so swept away with romantic relationships that friendships take a back seat. You may need to find other friends to fill the gaps in your calendar if she can’t improve her track record.

Hope this helps.

Warm regards,


Tags: , , , ,

Category: Disappointing friends

Comments (54)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Diana says:

    I have a ‘friend’ who is very unreliable she doesn’t talk to me for months then all of a sudden an email appears asking me for help on some level or another. I have done as much as I can to be helpful to her. The other day I wanted a small piece of advice and called her only to have a non response from her mobile. Literally two minutes later a text message popped on to my phone saying she was too busy to talk. I am still waiting for her to call back. But guess what I do not intend to have any more to do with her – the woman is FLAKY. Life is to short to have so called friends who only take from you . . . at 57 she is stealing the time I have left to spend enjoying life. And tough luck lady now you are on your own!

    [Last name deleted by moderator. To protect yourself against spammers, please don’t use last names or any other identifying info on the blog. Thanks!]

    • Zoey says:

      I have a friend who cancels last minute all the time. They also ignore my texts for weeks and sometimes months. Once I texted them a couple times. And they never responded so I waited three months then texted them again. Just for them to say sorry I was busy! For three months? You couldn’t even text me back? lol I’ve talked to them before about ignoring me and about them canceling. They always say the same thing. “I’m sorry” like that doesn’t cut it. In highschool and on college breaks they would always make plans but never show up. Oh yeah I’m running late I’ll be there in an hour or they just wouldn’t show up at all. And I’d call/text nothing. Then two weeks later. I get a text that says hey! I’m like what happened to our plans a couple weeks ago. You never showed? They start giving excuses but they don’t make sense so you question them. Then they change the excuse to a completely different one. I once was really late for our plans and they were complaining that they had already been at the “place” for two hours waiting for me. I wanted to say you used to do this to me for years. I think you can wait for me. I also wanted to say now you no what it feels like. When they cancel plans it’s always the same excuse “I don’t feel good” “I’m to tired can we hangout another day” or I stayed up all night talking to a guy. The guy made me stay up. If I have plans I don’t stay up talking to someone I tell them I have to go because I have plans in the morning. When we do hangout which is hardly ever. Like I haven’t seen them since before Christmas. But of course we’ve tried to make plans since then. We always laugh a lot when we are together we can be very silly which I love because not everyone can be openly silly. I always feel like flaky friends care about you but don’t care at the same time. Btw! When they see coworkers or long lost friends when we are together they always go right up and talk to them. They are very bubbly and talkative. Keep in mind that they have lost lots of friends. We used to have a mutual friend but that friend never liked their plans always falling through so they ended it. Imagine trying to keep in touch with someone and they just keep ignoring you. It’s very draining.. I would love to see my friend more! But it never seems like she wants too. I remember back in 09 a college friend of hers wrote on her Facebook wall saying: hey I tried texting you during spring break a couple times but never heard back did you get a new number? My friend: no! Same number and I didn’t get your texts. I don’t believe that. Because In highschool during breaks she’d do same thing ignore me. And so I would call her home phone. Her mom would go into her room said who was on the phone. And I heard my friend say! UGH! She’s so annoying! So your friends wanting to hangout with you is annoying? Is my friend a introvert?

  2. Moody says:

    I agree with a few people on here saying ‘Don’t be a people pleaser!” Here is a solution, dump them! If your “friends” constantly bailing on you, ignoring your texts/phone calls, not inviting you out when they go out- they are NOT your friends! The fact that this forum even exists with so many good people on here writing about their $hitty friends who could care less about the friendships all together- is extremely sad. Who has the time looking for solutions to these “problems” ? There is no solution. These so-called friends, don’t even care to respond to some of you, and you’re on here worrying about them and their friendship. Don’t. I was in the same situation more than i would like to admit to. I had friends who used, ignored,and took advantage of my good nature, and then as i got older and understood what and WHO matters, i said ‘%$*& IT!’ I will no longer kiss anyones ass or put up with anyone’s depression or mood swings, or whatever other excuse some people on here wrote about. We all have problems and busy lives, that’s life! But if i value my frienships, i MAKE sure i put the effort into that relationship! It’s just like you wouldn’t be sticking around with your BF/Gf who treated you like crap, never took you out on dates, and just didn’t care about the relationship at all. Same thing with friendships! If someone doesn’t value your friendship, there’s nothing you can do that will make that friend reciprocate your value of it! That’s the sad truth. And even if some of you DO actually suck it up and put in the effort, trying to be understanding and all, chances are – it won’t last for long. At some point you will get sick of being mistreated, ignored, disrespected, and walk away. I suggest saving the stress and your dignity, deleting their number right number off your phone, and moving on.

    [Last name deleted by moderator. To protect yourself against spammers, please don’t use last names or any other identifying info on the blog. Thanks!]

    • dee dee says:

      Hi, I know what you mean on unreliable friends. I had a high school friend whom I’ve known since I was 1 5 years old. I was only her good friend when her b/f wasn’t around (breaking up and getting back together again). She would cancel on me at the last minute and we went on a weekend trip to another city and she was in a bad mood b/c her b/f told her to take a hike. I was so miserable the whole weekend long. As soon as things were better for them, I didn’t exist.

      She said the same b.s, let’s get together, hang out, etc. If we did get together, the whole conversation was centered on her – my b/f this, my b/f that, it irritated me.

      So, in our 30s, I ran into her downtown and we took the express bus back to the suburbs where we both lived. She said the same crap about getting together and then I said, “when are you going to learn to say what you mean and mean what you say”. After that, our friendship dissolved which was no loss for me. My Mom was proud of me b/c she felt my “friend” was only using me.

      Another friend did the same crap – I was her friend when a man wasn’t around. She was a tramp, going from one man’s bed to another, she fooled around with my best male friend on Friday at the prom, slept with the home improvement guy on Saturday, and then slept with another man on Sunday (he was 46, she was only 17). She would lie to her parents saying she was going out with me (partly true), but as soon as I would meet her, she would bring a man she was seeing (she was then 18, he was 31), it got on my last nerve. She had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized, this was in the late 80s, when no one knew much about mental illness, she was schizophrenic. So after she was released from the hospital, she couldn’t go out in crowds (we were 19 by then) and everytime I’d invite her out, after an hour, she’d want to go home. She ruined me and another friend’s New Year’s Eve b/c we paid money for a club and then after 12:00 am, we had to go home. Enough was enough for me, I made new friends in college (she dropped out) and started socializing w/other people. She’d get mad at me and her own mom would call my house asking why I don’t invite her out. I told her Mom that she’s unstable and it’s not fair to the others if she comes along and is moping around all night.

      I got rid of her, b/c she was damaging and toxic to my life and now, she has no friends to speak of and is very lonely. She was a compulsive liar, tramp and didn’t understand why people backed off from her, but good riddance to me. She even called me a whore, slut and bitch behind my back, but i ran into her sister and told her the whole truth about my “friend”, what a liar she was, how she used me to see these older men, how she lied to her mom saying she was staying at my house and then it was another lie and what she did on one weekend with three different men – now who is the whore, bitch and slut? My “friend” never bothered me again and no one came towards me saying anything about her.

      Thanks for reading this.

  3. Samantha says:

    Hi I really need some help I am in middle school and I have been having problems with my friend since kindergarten she used to have anger issues she claims she doesn’t have them any more but wow I hate her then I like her again I think it has something to do with she live on the next street and she used to have no life so we could hang out all the time but we alepways do what she want. And never what I want she has physically hurt me punching kicking pushing twisting my ankle also feeding me ginney pig poop and I can’t be mad at her because she spreads rumors about me ( never true) and we’ll just yesterday made plans I wouldn’t care if WE DIDNT have plans since Monday!!!! Then she said I could come but the bray she invited said NO I got so mad we had those plans before them and don’t even get me started on Christmas she told me for three weeks that she was making my present and when she showed up with nothing but Starbucks I mad I didn’t need a present but the fact that she was lieing to me I was mad and it just not me who she bosses around her poor parents who are nice she is horrible she thinks her mom is a servent or so thing please I need advice

    • Brittany says:

      I am sorry you are in that situation! Advice: Don’t willingly let anyone disrespect you. You are your own person and you are allowed to decide who let in your life and who you don’t! Ask yourself: Is it really worth it? How much are you willing to take? Just because you can take it doesn’t mean you have to! Look out for yourself babe.

      • Jan says:

        I’m a mature woman in a city that’s very hard to meet friends in fact even people in their 30s have like 4 friends at the most here. I plan on leaving in 4 months or so. I have a close make friend we dated and he wanted friendship. I have known him 2 years he’s in my apt building. He has always kept his plans he made with me since I met him except a few times in summer when we first met . He spent alot allot of time in a French town where his friends and golf and family are. Lately we made plans I’d go visit him when he gets ask. He would say he’s text me when he leaves it’s 30 mins drive. I’d get ready. He would text he’s now going to dinner with golf friends, then hrs driving a guy home and at times he drank. So last weekend it was 4 hrs by the time he was suppose to meet me to when he arrived at 300 am. I was so mad. This time he said hes jamming at his brothers and will come right back home so I agreed. He did this many times in winter we met on friday nights. So last night by 1250 am I texted are you on your way. He called and said he’s with 5 guys they went out to eat and that he is going right hom3 to sleep as he has an early morning golf test at 900 am. He did not say sorry either time. He said he will call me at 100 pm today so I said why are you taking me out he did not answer. He’s French and I dony speak it. I don’t k or if he’s doing this on purpose to me or what

  4. Lorraine says:

    I’m going through exactly the same thing. I put up with the let downs for months, feeling hurt each time and not being able to truly look forward to the next meeting as it probably wouldn’t happen. The final straw was cancelling on the morning by text for a dinner I was cooking for her and her family. The excuse would have been acceptable if all the previous cancellations hadn’t occurred but the reality is it was just more of the same using a recent event as an excuse. I therefore let her know of my hurt from these actions and all the recent previous cancellations providing examples. She replied with abuse calling me selfish and accusing me of assassinating her character when in fact all I had done was highlight the let downs I was experiencing. A week on she is refusing to talk to me, we are both hurt but deep down I know I must move on. I don’t believe she intentionally wants to hurt me and I still love her dearly but sometimes you have to put yourself first as in my case I could take the hurt no more. Day 7 and I am starting to feel a little better. Time will be the healer. I have left the door open for my friend but I have no idea if she’ll return.

  5. Harald says:

    I had a friend that never kept his word nor honored our appointments. He never called and said he couldn’t make it, he just disappeared, and when I called him to ask where he was he was either at some party living it up or elsewhere doing something else not really important. After a few years I just moved him from my friend circle to the aquaintance circle. Meaning I said “hi” when I saw him, but stopped looking him up or making appointments. It was my only way of stopping the frustration. Maybe it was overly drastic, but in the end I thought “Can I truly call this person a close friend?”.

    • Kath says:

      Yes Harald, I had this same experience but when I raised the issue with him, he would twist it around back on me, saying I was overwrought! He never apologized, as a result I too have moved on. Felt he played me though. What sort of a friend was he? He was OK to start with, but it became so one-sided, he would always cancel on me etc…. Never said sorry. Don’t know why they have to do this, its crap. Best to move on from these ‘friends’. They are NOT friends at all.

  6. IBikeNYC says:

    When did expecting mature adults to actually DO WHAT THEY SAID THEY WOULD get turned into “Being Judgmental?”

    What am I supposed to do with all this extra food I’ve prepared, or these extra tickets for which I paid?????

    How am I supposed to know when you really WILL be here versus when you’ll decide that whoever called you while you were on your way over has a better offer?

    When and how did things get to where I’m derided as “needy” if I object to being dumped at the last second?

    Don’t you DARE tell me to “not take it personally!”



  7. Thatguy says:

    No way. Take that personally, and write these people out. Friends don’t constantly bail. Ditch em, don’t be civil. Be blunt, and say what you really feel.

    Don’t be a people pleaser. Stand up for yourself.

  8. LP says:

    Maybe your friend has a mental illness, like depression, or bipolar disorder. No one ever seems to ask this question of a flaky friend “are you ok?” How about everyone who is up on their high horse about flaky friends asks themselves, “have I ever asked my friend is he/she is ok? Or do I just get annoyed and not really care enough to bother digging deeper as to why they are a chronic canceller”?

    I went through 5 years of being a flaky friend when I was in an abusive relationship. The #1 reason I bailed on my friends last minute, was usually because I had just been abused, either physically or emotionally, to the point where I physically could not drag myself out of the apartment and sit through an entire dinner pretending I was fine.

    The fact is, if you don’t ask, they will never bring it up. These are the friends that would rather “phase you out” than deal with the humiliation of having to admit to you that the reason they keep cancelling is because their boyfriend just tried to kill them, or they are so depressed they would rather sleep and pretend they don’t live in this world rather than “pretend to be happy” because quite frankly, no one likes a downer when they’ve “made plans”.

    • cindy says:

      I don’t know. I think this is a bit harsh. If you are being abused, you need to tell someone. I understand that this is hard to do, but it isn’t your friends’ fault if you never confided in them. No one can force themselves into your life. You have to invite them.

  9. Hurt says:

    Am currently dealing with someone like this, my husband and I have been friends with them for many years, but they are so unreliable! They say they’ll be there but don’t show up(mostly for events WE host), or say they’ll help out then say they can only help a little. Or bail at the last minute after committing to helping us with a rather large task. This is very infuriating considering that hubby and I are ALWAYS there for them, physically AND financially. It’s making me feel like we are nowhere near as important to them as I thought we were. It doesn’t seem fair to always be there for someone when they can scarcely be bothered to help when you need them. This person says they consider US great friends! If they thought we were such great friends, wouldn’t they make more of an effort not to flake out on us all the time? They also get offended if we dare mention that we are not surprised that they bailed again! I’m sorry to say that I’m starting to feel like we are being taken for granted (and maybe taken advantage of). 🙁

    • Frustrated says:

      Hey, I’m in the exact same situation with a person I consider to be my best friend. I’m looking forward to reading the responses to your comment 🙂

    • Denise says:

      So I have to ask: with all these negatives and frustration, why do you continue to see them? What positive(s) outweigh all of this one-sidedness??

    • Denise says:

      Hurt, so I have to ask: with all these negatives and frustration, why do you continue to see them? What positive(s) outweigh all of this one-sidedness??

      • Hurt says:

        Denise, I honestly don’t know! I have been asking myself this question for a long time, why do we consider them such good friends? They are fun to be around and they help out and show up SOMETIMES but that’s about it. Their behavior is very selfish, I have told hubby that I am done going out of my way to help out people who can barely be bothered to help us or anyone else for that matter. He agrees of course, he’s the one who’s tired of helping them out financially because they don’t pay us back. So now our friends will find that we are not as ‘accommodating’ as we used to be. It goes against my nature, but I feel it’s justified, I am sick and tired of being treated like a doormat.

        Frustrated: I hope you find a solution to your dilemma as well, best of luck.

        • Denise says:


          Wow, I’ve had other people troubles, but have never known people who are selfish and fun to be around. I wouldn’t want to be around selfish people. Taking your money without paying you back–I don’t know your situation, but most people don’t want to ask for repayment because it’s awkward or will hurt the friendship or ______? If they say you’re un-accommodating or unhelpful or try to play the friend card, just simply say your budget is too tight if you’d rather not mention the past non-repayments. I think you’d feel stronger and it would useful for future situations if you did mention it. It was a loan, not a gift, so don’t feel guilty. “Doormat” seems right here; also, being used.

          My present situation is less intense, but still hurts. I thought I’d started a new friendship with someone I only had positive, fun conversations with + laughter. Then, suddenly, no more responding to my messages. I’m trying very hard not to be judgmental or bitter, to give the benefit of the doubt, to stay neutral or hopeful. I may know the reason one day.

          • Hurt says:

            Hi Denise, sorry it’s been a while. Things are better for now, in that I am not as angry as I was. But I stand by my previous decision to no longer let them walk all over us. Maybe my depiction was a bit biased because of my anger, they are not HORRIBLE people, they are just more selfish than others. For example if we have a party and they agree to come, they will bail if they are invited somewhere else that seems more ‘fun’ to them. They put what they WANT to do ahead of what they SHOULD do. Maybe I’m too judgmental(according to some people), and maybe I expect too much, but I feel like people should do what they say they will do.
            Did things resolve themselves with your new friend, or are you still wondering what happened? Leaving you hanging like that is not cool, they could at least explain themselves.

  10. Lynn Hatter says:

    so helpful to read the comments. I have two friends with this problem. One emails or texts to plan lunch a week in advance and then I don’t hear back until after the date with an excuse that she was so busy and apologies but sure wants to see me. She is the one asking for lunch so I can’t understand this. With the second one, we alternate suggesting getting together and she has broken about the last 6 times we planned, at least two of which were after the time scheduled. Last time I texted two days in advance to confirm and it’s now a week later and I haven’t heard from her. Clearly our relationship isn’t a priority if we can’t even meet for coffee. I am writing this relationship off and no longer giving it priority and have no expectations of friendship from either of these ladies. My time is reserved for those who respect me and show up!

    • Mel says:

      Very helpful to follow similar situations to my experience of being invited to meeting up for meal dates, and the person cancels just before the planned day . So annoying and especially let down showing no respect my time is just as important as yours, what makes matters worst no apology and rescheduling. This left me personally feeling very irritated eventually after much consideration and thought I decided to contact her, and told her outright how ill mannered and rude she immediately went defensive and told me it was all in my head … Glad to have expressed myself and have walked away.

  11. hailey says:

    ive known my friend for over a year some she can be kind of bossy and sometimes she would rather play animal jam than with me. she is an only child and i think she is spioled she also treats me like a slave but she is kind of my only friend in the naborhood mostly because nobody can play.

  12. Caroline says:

    The minute you ‘kindly’ share your real feelings about being let down by any reliable,flaky friend you will either be met with
    – a fake ‘ok i’ll take that on board – no changes
    – denial that they behave badly and one ridiculous example of when you were once late (never mind the 42 times they flaked) will be held up as a reasonable comparison -leadiing to an argument which you won’t win

    they will never speak to you again- so angry are they that you called them on a behaviour which they are unwilling to admit to.

    Reason people are flaky? because of immaturity and selfishness. They refuse to see how they affect others lives and will not take responsibility.
    As an artist I have a lot of creative friends who are naturally flaky but the ones who care about me know without me having to call them on it that you show up when you say you will show up and you make plans ahead of time with no drama!
    You must not take this personally, what you can change is to question yourself – why am I pouring energy into a flake who doesnt respect my enthusiasm and loyalty? Why am I wanting something that they’re not willing to give? if I told this person I was going to give them a thousand pounds would they plan ahead and turn up on time. Hell ya! So dont let them off the hook by thinking theyre ‘naturally disorganised’. If they had a hot date they’d also plan ahead and turn up. Please please cut these toxic users out of your life!

  13. Emma Bee says:

    Maybe ‘ole Dr. Phil had a point when he said, “We teach people how to treat us.”

    I have dealt with this situation for several years from a “friend” who almost never keeps a planned meeting, to the point where if she does make it, I am shocked. That is clue number one that something needs changing, such as my approach to the situation.

    This thread has been very helpful and opens my mind to a broader view as to why ishe might be doing it. Maybe, like many, she likes the idea at first but when the appointed day arrives, she has gotten over it and regrets having made plans. We all experience that from time to time, but hopefully not often, nor with the same person repeatedly,

    Since you cannot really change another person, only the way you react to them, I am going forward with a new approach: any new invitations from her will be regarded as tentative concepts that I won’t commit to readily, if at all. This will serve to eliminate my expectation and inevitable disappointment, along with any resentment. For her, she gets the bonus of no pressure on coming through, which would probably be a relief.

    Then I will continue to use my spare time on more reliable, less frustrating pursuits.

  14. Julie says:

    WOW!I’m so glad I landed here. I was having a problem with a friend I really cared about, but was super unreliable. A couple of days ago after she canceled on me at the last minute once again, I decided to kindly explain to her how I really wanted to be friends, but her standing me up may affect our friendship in the long run. I mentioned to her that I understood how busy she was and requested that in the future we not make plans. I suggested that she contact me the day of and if I’m not doing anything we can hang out and this may be the only way to save our friendship.

    I didn’t hear back for a couple of days, so I decided to give her a call. I left a message letting her know that I hope she was not mad at me. Asked that she call me when she gets a chance and hoped she was ok. I also explained that I was doing this because I cared about her and didn’t just want to write her off and would like for us to have a good friendship where we can communicate with each other. No response.

    Though I felt bad feeling I may have lost a friend, I still had no regrets, because I really did not like her making me feel like she wasn’t respecting my time. I have had times when I didn’t feel like hanging out, but I never cancelled. I just don’t like to do that unless its a must, so why should she feel ok doing so with me? Anyway, to make a long story short, I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone in this and made the right decision in expressing how I felt.

    I would never set out to hurt anyone, so this type of behaviour never makes sense to me. I recently had to break up with a boyfriend of five months for the same flakyness. He wouldnt let go and couldnt understand why i didnt want to continue to try. Hellooo..i’ve talked to you about this many times. I have been trying. I had to tell him I was dating someone else for him to leave me alone. His friend tried to talk to me to get him in my good graces, telling me he cared so much about me, but this is just how he is. Claiming they are best friends, but he treats him this way as well, but he is a great guy. Huh? If the person is never there for you when you need them, how are they a great person? Some people are just the way they are and there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to let go.

    I have a great group of friends that i’ve been friends with for years and I feel very lucky. I’m always up for new friendships, but there is no way I’m letting anyone in my life or trying to sustain a friend with kind of personality.

  15. Linda says:

    I had a friend who cancelled plans at the last minute too. At first, I believed her excuses, and let it go. Then, a pattern emerged, and I spoke up. We talked about her cancelling all the time and made an agreement to just not make any plans anymore. How stupid is that? Real stupid. I’ve moved on and made lots of other friends. But, about 3 months ago this friend called and made a plan with me (all her idea) for a Saturday afternoon. It had been a long time since I had seen her so I agreed to the plan. She called all week, on Monday, Wednesday, and even Friday talking about how fun our plan was going to be. Then, the next day, on Saturday, about an hour before our plan….yep…she called to cancel.
    I let her know how I felt about it, and her answer was that I think that the world revolves around me. I hate that bitch…she’s off my list forever now. If I never see her again, it will be too soon.

  16. “Dealing with an Unreliable Friend”- It is very tough to handle unreliable friends. They just make you sad on various occasions. You want to enjoy your time with him or her but they don’t take it with heart. According to my opinion if you have a unreliable friend and he is not kind with you then do the same as he/she do with you. Only by doing this they can know what is being to neglect your loved ones.

    • kim says:

      Thank you for your insights. I do have an unreliable friend- cancels on the last minute, calls and DEMANDS for my time when she’s free. Although I don’t cancel plans on the last minute to give her a dose of her own medicine, I started NOT making plans with her unless it’s a group thing. In that way, even if she cancels on the last minute, I can still do as planned, without her. She’s frustrated that “I seem to be very busy lately”, but my response is : Yes, I am. I feel good that she no longer has any chance to waste my time.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Does it really matter why this or any other ‘friend’ continually cancels? What matters is being around people who treat you with kindness and consideration.

  18. Denise says:

    You make plans with someone who constantly cancels, gives poor excuses, cancels her own idea plans, and spends lots of time with her boyfriend. If this were happening to me, I’d think of a few possibilities:
    1)She doesn’t want to spend time with me. Instead of saying no, she’s not interested or no longer thinks we have enough in common, she stays vague (not keen) or just cancels with poor excuses hoping I’ll get it.
    2)She treats others like this and it’s just a general problem she has. 3)She decides later her boyfriend is more interesting than plans with you.

    If she won’t give you a clear, honest explanation, you should move on. People who like you enough to share their time will find a way to do so, be honest that they are too busy or make a stronger effort to reschedule.

    I remember hitting it off wonderfully with someone at work. I left the position and suggested we keep in touch and was hurt when it didn’t work out. I never doubted the person’s sincerity and wondered what happened; still sad about it.

    Hope this helps.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Denise and Lauren,
      Yes, Denise , I totally agree with what you said, especially in Point 1. I used to work in the same office as a woman who seemed a lot like Lauren’s friend. She told us that she had trouble in saying “no” to acquaintances, co-workers and friends, so instead she pretty much always said YES, accepted the invitation, and then just didn’t show up, or faked out at the very last minute with a lame excuse. She said they would “get the message” that way!Yikes! Some people are just callous, and have no feelings for others unless it is strictly to THEIR benefit. Once she agreed to go and see a movie with a co-worker, and she left her waiting outside the movies theatre …and her cell phone was “conveniently” turned off. The other girl was furious the next day, understandably. When this “woman who could not/would not say NO”, got another job at a new workplace, she promised to “keep in tough” with a number of people. Needless to say, she didn’t.

      Some people are just like that. They really don’t care about other people’s feelings. They are just wired differently. Don’t give them multiple chances, as they REALLY don’t care. They are selfish and narcissistic. It’s sad, but that’s the way some people are, and chances are, they will never change for the better. sometimes, you just have to move on, for your own good.

  19. Janet says:

    I can really relate to this- I have had a couple of friends like this over my adult years and it is extremely frustrating!!! One friend I had seemed as if she was clearly interested in a friendship with me, but whenever she would suggest a get-together with me or together with our sons, who are approximately the same age, she couldn’t seem to get it together or would leave me hanging. One of the last times we attempted to get together socially, we talked of an excursion to a museum over a school vacation – she seemed interested, but I waited around for her call one morning and into the early afternoon, and finally gave up, just took my son and went with him. I took a break from her for a year or two -during which time I continued to get positive signals from her which was very confusing. I gave her one last chance, we tried to arrange a get-together, but it was the same old thing, she left me hanging so I gave up on her entirely. When I see her we are friendly to one another and always have something to talk about, but that’s it. I never quite understood what went wrong with this friendship as this woman is clearly a capable person, an attorney married with two children, so in some ways I blame myself. As opposed to me, she does have a career and many other friends, from college and her community, so I wonder how it is that they accept and put up with this behavior!

    • Katie Fritz says:

      For Janet and others. I also can relate to all your comments as I have one friend (23 years) who was a fun friend and we would do things 4-5 times a year and have a lot of fun. Several times through out this 23 years she would do something extremely flaky and hurtful and we would lose contact for a year. She always initiated the re-contact.
      However my comments are in response to Janet’s comments; she has many friends and long term friends and is a very successful person. I also question how others put up with this behavior , making you question …am I the only one she does this to. I have learned recently as this has behavior has become more frequent,
      to be noncommittal to her requests and as a result, she doesn’t follow through and we see each other very little now.

  20. Alex says:

    I have been through this exact thing with someone. I took it hard because I don’t befriend lots of people in the first place. I began blaming myself for the flakiness. I decided, after way too long and too many “I forgot” episodes, to walk away. I had the conversations and asked the questions. She knew how I felt but continued to do what she wanted or “doing me” as she put it.
    It has nothing to so with anyone as to why someone is rude and inconsiderate. Even if that person doesn’t enjoy your company there is absolutely no reason to be rude. As adults we should be able to say that we aren’t compatible rather than accept invitations and extend invitations that we don’t intend to follow through with. It’s that simple.
    In my case, this person sought out people who would put up with their bad behavior. I was supportive towards this person and I even got to the point where I was ok chit chatting with that person but I didn’t ask to get together anymore. The last straw was when they asked me to do something for them that I deemed important. Again, no follow through after I’d asked them to please not do that again.
    See, this person knew I cared and that’s what they were looking for but they weren’t looking it reciprocate or even respect me or my feelings. For me, that’s what it comes down to … Respect. When someone doesn’t respect themselves they certainly won’t respect you. Disrespectful and inconsiderate behavior towards others shows what that person feels about themselves. When I realized this it was easier for me to walk away without the conversation, etc. I just decided I didn’t want to deal with it anymore and that person hadn’t added anything positive to my life, so why continue on?
    We all have our faults. Someone might be flaky but they might be an awesome friend otherwise. That’s when you can overlook certain things. If you can’t say that that person has added anything positive to your life then letting go is a must.

    • Samantha says:

      “As adults we should be able to say that we aren’t compatible rather than accept invitations and extend invitations that we don’t intend to follow through with. It’s that simple.”

      I personally accept invitations because there are people who won’t take no for an answer and will be very emotional about it. Just to shut them up, I show up for their invites. And hate myself for doing so afterward.

      • Alex says:

        As it’s said … We do whatever we do because there is a payoff for us. You’re saying that you don’t want to deal with someone else’s emotions. You don’t have to. Their emotions are theirs to handle. The truth might hurt but a lie is much worse. I wouldn’t suggest compromising yourself at all. I’m not suggesting to be heartless either. This really isn’t a black and white issue. Different circumstances and personalities definitely lend to our break up techniques or lack thereof.
        I’ve had to end interactions before. Sometimes it just fades and a few times it was someone not taking no for an answer. I wasn’t nasty about it. I tried my best to be gentle but firm and honest. I didn’t point fingers.
        I say incompatibility because no one is better than anyone else. It’s about not sharing the same core values, interests, etc.
        All we can ever do is be honest. We don’t have to be jerks in telling the truth. If someone doesn’t take no for an answer after you’ve been clear about your intentions and feelings then it’s up to them to deal with their own truth.
        I hope this clears up what I was trying to say previously.

      • Denise says:


        These people who won’t take no for an answer and get very emotional–are you saying they keep asking and pestering? They sound needy and manipulative. I’d say no 50 times before accepting an invite from someone who does this. Hope next time you can say no and stick to it so not to hate yourself afterward.

      • Lauren says:

        Sometimes, it is a good idea to have a list of excuses ready so that you do not have to accept invitations to go places that you do not want to go to. Practice saying no, and then it will be easier. Or you could say, let me check my agenda and get back to you, then e-mail your decline to the invitation. You should not have to go places what you do not want to go, and you should not have to hang out with people that you do not really like. People do not stay in bad marriages, so why should they stay in bad friendships. Sometimes it is best just to let it go. Then if you bump into them, you can always smile and say Hi, but you should not be inveigled or trapped into saying yes, when you really mean no.

  21. Lauren says:

    Hi, I also had a friend who was always flaking out at the last moment (sometimes the last second). When we DID meet up , she was often very late, and thought nothing of keeping me waiting for her for 45 minutes, without even turning on her cell phone! I got sick of her dismissive behaviour to me, she did other mean things, and she was very rude at times. So in the end , I decided that I did not deserve this disrespectful treatment from her. Now I have cut her loose, and I spend time with other friends who are much better people. We don’t know what her problem is, but it made me feel bad about myself, so I decided that enough was enough. I am not her doctor or her psychologist, and I cannot help her. Why make someone a priority in your life, when you are only an option in their life.

  22. Lauren says:

    Thank you Irene and to everyone else for their replies. I really appreciate it!

    I find that I’m beginning to trust this friend less and less. I understand life can get in the way of things so it’s not the end of the world if we can’t meet up. But it’s excuse after excuse and she’s definitely making a habit of this. I’d love to spend time as a group instead but we’re never free on the same days so it’s rather difficult!

    I think there’s an issue of money behind her flakiness and I’m very understanding of that (even if it is because she’s spent it on two holidays this year!) e.g. she’d plan something to do so that it doesn’t break the bank but most of the time, she cancels.

    It’s great to know everyone has found a way to deal with their flaky friends. I know how draining it can be! I’ll definitely try and bring this up with her – even though I’m not the confrontational type. I’m just wary it may come across as if I want her to choose between her boyfriend and her friends.

    What I’ve realized is that flaky friends like the IDEA of doing something, but when it comes to going ahead with the plan – they’d just rather not!

  23. Marty says:

    Over the years I’ve had two friends who exhibited undependable behaviors about getting together. One would accept and then want to change the activity, or later suggestincorporating two or three other things in the time we allotted though the first thing was focus enough. Or accept and then want to add other people to the plans and then try to accommodate their preferences. That friend really likes having lots of people around and likes to pack her free time. The other person would cancel by leaving a message or email, or wait until the last minute to say she couldn’t go. Or forget completely. So, rather than cut all the ties, and since I fundamentally like both people, I manage both people the same way. If I really want to do something, and not by myself, then I always include another dependable friend in the plan. If the flaky friend flakes out, I still have a friend to go with. When the friend who wants to pack more activities or friends into our plan, and it doesn’t fit my idea of a good time, I can decline and keep the original plan. Heading off the problem, rather than having a confrontation, has eliminated my angst and freed me to enjoy plans with or without them. People like this are in my friendship circle but they can’t ever be a BFF.

  24. Sparky says:

    Hi Lauren,

    I have no idea but your friend sounds really co-dependant on her boyfriend and wants to spend all her time with him. That is not a health relationship.
    Another thing, I am not sure but I am disabled, and I have to cancel plans I make with people at times because my pain/discomfort is very unpredictable. While there is no significant other in my life , my friends have had to learn, #1 due to my disability they need to make or have an alternative plan, #2, if they do not want to do that, some have left the friendship.
    People with disabilities are not always wanted around, because people get uncomfortable ( because they see that this can happen to them as well) and may not know how to deal with it.
    That includes co-dependancy, if she really is, then you need to set boundries or find another friend.
    I have also had a friend who rarely remembers anything so we agreed to make sure she writes it down in a calender & if you asked her something it was always “I don’t know” …talk to her find out what is going on. She may or may not realize what she is doing but the only way to really know is to ask her.


  25. kim says:

    Another possible reason could be the opposite.
    Someone might commit to seeing you and back out on the last minute because they couldn’t say no to you, but didn’t really want to go in the first place for a lot of reasons, which may not be your fault. It can be because the person really has a very limited budget, but can’t be frank about it, it can be because she values her days off & spare time and wants to spend it with her bf and he is her first priority, or she could be just a total scattered-brain who has no sense of keeping commitments etc. However, the fact that she has done this to you for a number of times plus the fact that she won’t decide on the details of your meet-ups and would say she’ll get back to you on this, but does not, could also mean that either she doesn’t enjoy your company so much or she just simply has no respect for people’s time other than hers. Too many possibilities. Maybe she likes seeing you, buy she has small issues like maybe she feels like you get to choose where to meet and what time, maybe she feels like seeing you only for a couple of hours but usually ends up staying out for more than what she wants, etc.

    What I’d do is talk to her about it. She needs to know that you feel like your time is not being respected. If you did already and nothing changes or if you can’t talk to her, Irene is right. Try to be more assertive. You can do this by:

    1. Not accepting last minute invites from this person, EVER. In that way, she’ll know that you are not available at her disposal.
    2. If she’s vague in meeting up, doesn’t want to discuss details, tell her “well, why don’t you think about this and get back with me on ___? or let me know as soon as you can so I can also plan my day”
    3. Even if you have agreed on a time to meet, always make a plan B, in case she cancels last minute. And let her know that you don’t appreciate her cancelling last minute, because you could have planned to do something else for the day.

    • tracy says:

      I like your number 4!
      I would say that her reasons for canceling aren’t worth the pondering. Put up your boundaries with what you are/aren’t willing to take and stick to it. Accommodating someone’s poor treatment of you just teaches her that you’re ok with it.

      • Lauren says:

        I agree. Do not try to figure out her reasons for flaking out…what does it matter. Do not enable her…if she keeps flaking out…let her go. It sounds like she is not really a friendly person at all., Why make someone a priority in your life , when you are only an option in their life!!! You deserve to be treated with respect.

  26. Amy says:

    I’ve known people like your friend and I’ve had to decide whether the friendship was worth the frustration of unreliability. I wouldn’t end a friendship over flakiness, but I would readjust my expectations and my priorities. With such a friend, I consider all plans tentative, meaning if I had last minute changes, I’d make them too, not as “punishment” for her behavior, but since the terms of our plans have been made by her. Of course, I’d have a discussion first, if I thought it was appropriate. With this particular friend, her excuses were her special needs son (totally justifiable) and her mental health (understandable, but I’m not going to be under her anxiety’s control. I empathize, but not when she uses the money for her meds for a manicure instead, lol). She simply doesn’t have what it takes to be a reliable friend at this time. The bonus is that I don’t get upset any more, and occasionally I have a nice time with her. But, she’s not a friend I will ever rely on to keep a date or to be there for me emotionally. Saves a me a lot of grief and hurt feelings.

Leave a Reply