• Keeping Friends

Furious when a close friend is a no-show

Published: July 14, 2015 | By | 28 Replies Continue Reading
A woman wonders whether she should end a friendship over a July 4th no-show.



My BFF and I planned a very special 4th of July get-together—down to the details of who was bringing what. We were also planning a vacation with him and his partner, and me and my husband for the winter.

I was waiting for them to show up and when they were late, I texted him.

About ten minutes later he texted and said, “Sorry we aren’t making it.’

I then said, “What?? Why? You mean not at all today?”

Then about 30 minutes later he said in a text, “Just honor that we are not coming.”

That was it.

I hadn’t invited anyone else over because they are a gay couple and they had been disappointed in what was going on after the Supreme Court Ruling so I limited the get-together to just the four of us. We had multiple invitations to attend parties and it was the first time in 25 years my husband and I didn’t have my family over. I was so hurt and disappointed.

I won’t respond to him. I am so mad. I tried not to let it ruin the 4th of July. I have never dealt with anything like this or how mad I am at him. He texted me on Monday saying I hope you had a good weekend. The Universe taught me some good lessons this weekend. I did not respond and I don’t want to talk to him. What advice would you give?

Signed, Lara


Hi Lara,

When a close friend is a no-show without explanation, it’s always disappointing. In this case, you prepared for the get-together, invited him and his partner instead of your own family, and turned down other invitations. Although I don’t think you can blame your BFF for the decisions you made vis-à-vis other family and friends, it compounds the disappointment.

If this person chronically disappoints you, is unreliable and doesn’t honor commitments, you may want to re-think the friendship. However, if this was a one-time or first occurrence, it seems like he might have a legitimate explanation (although what he did was wrong).

For example:

  • Could he or his partner have had some kind of problem (health, emotional) you don’t know about?
  • Was his partner not onboard for the get-together?

If you feel very close to this individual, my first suggestion would be to let him know how disappointed you were and find out what happened before you decide to throw away a friendship. You deserve an explanation that will help you decide whether this is a friendship worth keeping.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (28)

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  1. xxxxxxxxxx says:


  2. Benjamin Clark says:

    I think all of this speculation is ridiculous and childish. Adult people who respect one another have healthy boundaries and healthy expectations even under the most difficult of circumstances. An authentic friend would have contacted you and said I’m so sorry but we cannot make it. ” We are having a serious relationship problems and I hope you understand…” or whatever the issue. He would not have to communicate every detail but you get the picture. Also I’ve learned from life to trust what friends DO not necessarily what he say.

    I’m a gay man and sadly have seen the immature side to the gay community. I had a lot of hard knocks before I finally grew up and took personal responsibility for how I treat others. That is a universal issue. I hope after 6 months now that everything has been resolved. I hope this has also been an opportunity for growth.

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi Lara,
    What a disappointment and let down ! I am sorry that happened to you. To top it all, you had to text him about his no show. I wonder if and when he would have told you that he and his partner were going to be a no show.

    I find that when asking couples over for dinner, drinks, al fresco meal, or coffee etc, I now like to say (by phone or email), check with…(your significant other /partner/spouse) and see if you both will be free at that time, and then email me back one way or the other.

    One of my husband’s friends was over at our house a few days ago. He and my husband both like the same type of music and they talk about new recordings, their play lists etc. Anyway, his friend was complaining bitterly that his wife had agreed that he and she would attend a large dinner dance last week, and the week before that she had agreed on his behalf that they would both attend a classical music performance in a large metropolitan concert hall/opera house. He attended both events with his wife, but he was furious that she purchased tickets and agreed, without his permission or knowledge, that he would attend.

    Jon said that he told his wife to STOP accepting invitations on his behalf without his knowledge, assuming that he will want to attend. He doesn’t like large dinner dances, and he hates classical music.

    So, Lara, maybe your BFF accepted on half of his partner and then his partner told him that he had NO intention of attending, and to stop making arrangements without his knowledge or permission. That could be it.

    It’s something to consider.

  4. Leslie Kay says:

    WOW ! I feel your pain. My boyfriend of 10 yrs ( we live together – I am disable) threw me a surprise birthday party for my 40th. No one showed up, no one called til after. Crushing on so many levels for the both of us. I think the hardest part is that you are so hurt and angry over the disregard that it is impossible to get beyond. But I think it would be good to a have a convo with your friends first before you write them off. If this is a common behavior then you most certainly need a convo. You have to explain how this made you feel and why. I would wait and see what type of response you get and take a look at the history you have with these friends – then decide how to proceed. I would safe guard my vacation for sure, though. I would plan your trip as if you and your husband are doing it solo and this way if they make it fine, if they don’t them that is fine too. You can remain friends and forgive them, but that doesnt mean you have to put yourself in a situation again that leaves your vulnerable to the same thing happening. Here’s the thing, if they get upset about that or dont understand it, then they dont get it and I wouldnt be making the same efforts anymore. My personal situation turned out just like that. I was a “baby” or had my “sensitive shirt” on. Or If i didnt live 45 min away it would be so different. I have come to realize that I was a friend to these people and I picked wrong people to be friends with. But my situation is different in that I had this happening a lot and then when I would address it or express my feelings on it, I made it worse for myself. So I sit without friends in this town we moved to. As sad as that seems it is less drama and hurt. So I accept it. Just remember when talking to your friends to be honest but open minded and be sure to do yourself right.

    • Mary says:

      A surprise birthday party you said. Am I missing something?

      If it was supposed to be a surprise – on your birthday – then perhaps your partner shouldnt have told you hed invited others and not upset you on your birthday by this useless hurtful information.

      Sounds like something else is going on to me.
      Perhaps your fiends like you but not him.

      I would be catching up with them alone if i were you.

      It was cruel to even tell you – if it was supposed to be a surprise- thee was no need to.

      Sounds like there has been a lot of stirring in the past to me.

      • Sam says:

        I kinda agree, your BF seems to capitolizing on this by telling you. Whether his intention or not, hurtful to you on your birthday. Especially cruel, if you can’t get out much.

        I would call up all your friends yourself and make giod fun plans with them pronto. Your friends may not be the problem.. consider it.

        Don’t shut down. Get out there with your friends!!

  5. Maddie says:

    He may be tiring of all the togetherness and event planning with you. Nevertheless his behavior was inconsiderate and rude. I think there is an underlying issue going on.

    • Maddie says:

      I also think we have to veer away from this whole BFF mindset, which may be too intense for the other party, and just have and enjoy friends.

      • Sam says:

        In some circumstances, I’d tend to agree with you. Generally though BFFs can be great.. it’s like adding members to your family. I have 2 BFFs, both live in other states now (I moved) but we will always be family. I do believe too many people rush into BFF (same as they do to primary BF or GF relationships) out of mutual immediate needs without respect to getting to know one another over periods of time. This can cause heartache and drama, when they aren’t the person you want them to be. 😛

  6. Sam says:

    1. He missed your party, you conscientiously planned with him and his partner in mind.
    2. He stood you up and didn’t bother to call
    3. He gave a veiled answer to what was happening
    4. He didn’t comsider your feelings enough to apologize for letting you down and/or let you know what happened.. in ten days. Even if he is embaressed why, he could call (or text, at this point) you an apology.

    To me, this is not a BFF.

    I have no idea, of your closeness, longevity, how he may have helped and supported you in the past. Probably, I would remain friends, but BFF absolutely not. He sounds very self absorbed to have not gotten around to apologize in any form within a week. You sound conscientious planning the party with him and his partners mood in-mind, and ignoring your own tradition of spending time with family. Perhaps that was a mistake. Maybe that was too much and him and his partner felt ackward. Of course, he should have let you know sooner.

    He stood up your holiday plans
    He didn’t call
    He gave only a veiled response.
    And hasn’t followed up with an apology or update.

    Without knowing your history, it doesn’t sound like an even match for BFF.

    If something traumatic happened I would of course be supportive! But if he didn’t tell you for ten days, then he isn’t very close to you no matter how he may act sometimes.

    Would I forgive him? Yes. Would I comsider him my BFF and go out of my way for him? No.

    Best to You,

  7. Mary Lou says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you. It sounds like it would have been a fun time, and the way you found out he wasn’t coming felt like a real blow to your friendship. He didn’t indicate that he gave any thought to your feelings in how he handled it.

    Whenever a friend acts out of character with me, I always try to give him/her the benefit of the doubt. When I read your post, my first thought was that something serious happened to your friend because of the way he acted as Irene suggested in her reply to you. Amy F gave some good examples of what might have happened, too.

    If he thinks of you as his BFF, and he was going through something with his partner, maybe he was texting in the middle of it and just giving you information without spending time to explain hoping you’d understand because of your friendship. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it gives it a context. Possibly he isn’t sure what to do next, and he’s embarrassed. So maybe it’s up to you to reach out first.

    While you are still angry, maybe you could write a letter (but don’t mail it) to your BFF telling him how hurt and awful you feel. Once you’ve had a chance to release your anger and hurt on paper, then when you’re ready, you could text or email your BFF and ask if he’s okay and if you can arrange a time to talk about the Fourth of July. Tell him you want to understand what was going on with him. If he’s your BFF, he knows he hurt you and that he owes you an explanation, and your invitation to talk about it shows you still care about the relationship and want to clear this up. His response to your offer will give you a clue as to the future of your friendship. You definitely need more information.

    I wish you all the best, and I hope things work out for you.

    Mary Lou

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Lara,

      first let me say I am sorry for the way you have been treated by a BFF of so long. I would be hurt as well. I think he owes you an explanation other than just honor that we are bit coming. If he valued your friendship as much as you do, he would have shared what was happening that caused them not to be able to come for a party you both planned for. This is very inconsiderate and i wouldn’t in the future plan another foursome with them. I would invite more of your friends and if they can’t handle that then you can say just honor my other friends. This is not the way a true friend treats you, and I would ask for an explanation and if he is avoiding giving you one, then maybe distance is in order until he realizes that what he did was not friendly at all. you deserve better treatment than that. I don’t understand why people don’t hold friendships sacred anymore. We are a disposable society and people behave as though no body maters except themselves. I hope you get the answers you are looking for. Best wishes.


  8. Shan says:

    I certainly feel the letter writer’s pain. We have a “friend” like this. He’s a great guy otherwise, but his flakiness often makes us feel like we just don’t matter to him and I’m just over it, completely.

    He’ll often commit to doing things with us, then the night before, text that he suddenly remembered plans he had made with another friend (we never seem to be the friends who he remembers he made plans with).

    One time I tried to confirm something with him and he wrote that a friend was trying to get him tickets to something else (plans and commitments never seem to matter) and that he’d let us know. He never let us know, never showed up and didn’t apologize for not showing up. This weekend, we even invited him camping and he said he’d swing by. Never did!

    Oh, and one Thanksgiving, he said he’d bring the turkey. A week out, he tried to flake on us by saying he had made other plans! WTF. Who commits to the turkey and then flakes? We called him on that, and he did show up.

    And so on and so forth…my coping mechanism has been to just not ever plan things with him or leave him responsible for anything, because he always messes it up. That did help keep my sanity, but after a while, I couldn’t get past the feeling that we were just being disrespected. He seemingly does not value us. I also get tired of having to remind a grown adult to do things.

    I’ll miss the good aspects of his friendship, but flakes, especially unapologetic flakes, really have no place in my life. I have lots of reliable friends, and I’ll be devoting my energies to those.

  9. Laura says:

    My biggest issue with this is that you had to contact him to find out he wasn’t coming. He should have *phoned* you in a timely manner as soon as he realized he couldn’t keep the date. A text is bad manners and cowardly in this situation. You need to talk to him (not text) and find out what happened. If this is the 1st time he’s cancelled last minute, I certainly wouldn’t end the friendship over it.

    It’s a lot of work shopping and cooking for one couple! If I’m dealing with someone prone to cancelling, I order in, and not until I know they’re on the way.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Laura, I agree with your last comment about dealing with friends who tend to cancel. We have some dear friends who’ve pulled this a few times in the past. They seem to have problems with planning ahead, so they cancel at the last minute periodically. We still enjoy them very much — great people, otherwise. However, we have learned: (1) Never order theater or concert tickets with people who tend to cancel out at the last minute. (2) Never invite these people to elaborate dinners requiring lots of shopping and planning. Keep it VERY casual and save the fuss for the people who always show up. (3) Have other dependable friends as well!

      • Laura says:

        Good points (1-4), Elizabeth. I have a relative who I love dearly, who has a lot of drama in her life caused by her young adult children. She probably enables it to a certain extent but her good points greatly exceed this issue so I work around it. 🙂

  10. lottie says:

    Hello Lara,

    I am sorry this happened to you. It was a dirty trick at the last minute that you and your hubby did not deserve.A last minute illness or whatever is no excuse and to top it you got a “cowards way out” by receiving a text. So cheap.He hadn’t the guts to telephone you. How disgraceful. In my opinion something better turned up so they went there instead.
    Friends don’t pull stunts like that. Learn from what happened and put it in the past although every now and then it will come back to sting your mind.
    They have no respect for you or anybody else,just them them them.I would not even want to discuss the matter with them,or what feeble reason they had for the no show.
    It is so rude which goes to show they got away with it and most certainly wouldn’t give you a thought if they needed to do it again,to you or anybody else.
    People like that aren’t worth a breath. Best wishes Lottie

  11. Mary says:

    Hello Lara,

    Your hurt and angry too. Thats understandable. You probably confused as well.
    It does not matter if your friends gay or purple @ being gay has nothing to do with it. If he knew he wasn’t coming, he could have and should have had the good manners to let you know.
    Of course we are only hearing your side, and perhaps his er boyfriend is jealous of your friendship. Really the way he did that to you isn’t important as much as the how.”
    That was rude and callas imop.

    Dont ever let anybody disrespect you and dont be told its you- its not. Hes had time to pick up the phone since and call you. Yes he does owe you an explanation ,as to why he didnt tell you he wasn’t coming not- why he wasn’t if he didnt like.
    I would take a lesson from it and next time invite some girlfriend or married couples and family.

    You were sweet enough to put his feelings first wanting to cheer him up forsaking all others and this is how he repairs you.

    You have every right to be upset, shocked and hurt by my advise is dont go back for seconds.

    I am really sorry this happened to you after all your planning but make the next 4th of July even better.

    I think you need a hug- so sending one.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    When someone doesn’t show up for a party you’ve planned together — especially if they had promised to bring something or share with food preparations — it’s not just about missing the party. It isn’t just about bad manners. You made plans together, your were excited, and you were counting on this best friend to share the fun with you. You have a right to be disappointed — especially since it was a special holiday gathering. Nobody should invalidate you for having hurt feelings about this.

    That said, you do need to talk this over carefully with your friend. I certainly wouldn’t dump over this, unless you don’t feel you’ve mended the friendship after an honest discussion about what happened. Your friend’s cavalier attitude about canceling was hurtful. Had he given you ample notice, even a day ahead of time, you’d still be disappointed — but would have been able to make alternate plans. That would have been common courtesy. He didn’t give you that. People who care about each other can do better.

  13. Amy F says:

    I’m confused. This is your BFF, but you don’t trust him enough that when he asks you to trust that he has a good reason for not attending your 4th of July party you aren’t able to do that for him? All this over a party? Honestly, if I were your BFF, after your reaction and lack of trust, I’d be the one who wanted to distance myself from you. Friendships require a certain amount of flexibility if they’re going to last, stay strong and remain drama free. I understand that you’re disappointed and angry, but your reaction seems out of proportion to the situation.

    • Mrs. Chen says:

      So Lara should trust him that he had a solid reason for the no-show but he however does not need to trust her enough to tell her what happened? Your advice only makes sense if she considers him her BFF, but he considers her just a friend among many.

      AND, on top of not showing up, he didn’t even have the common courtesy to tell her that he wasn’t coming!! She had to text him to find out!! I wouldn’t treat an acquaintance this way, much less a friend (let’s just assume that he doesn’t consider her his BFF).

      AND, this wasn’t a casual, last minute “I’ll meet you at the XY bar in a few” type of get-together. This is not only planned, but exclusive — “just us BFFs” type of engagement. She absolutely has the right to be furious.

      Lara – he has to give you a solid reason for the no-show. Irene mentioned some possibilities. If he refuses to tell you, then I would immediately demote him to “Just-another-friend” status. Friendship has to be mutual and he clearly doesn’t think of you as his BFF or he would trust you with the reason. And obviously you should rethink your vacation plans.

      • Amy F says:

        If I had a long term BFF who out of characteristically didn’t come to a party and said “just honor that we are not coming” I would assume something unavoidably negative was going on–a serious health crisis of a loved one, an adult child who was attacked, a sick pet, a death, an emergency–because these are things my close friends have dealt with over the past year or so. A lot of my friends are at the age with sick parents, many are breast cancer survivors, a few are fighting cancer. I don’t need proof to trust they have a good reason. They don’t owe me an immediate explanation and I know I’d appropriate, I’ll get one in due time. I also know that if I had a crisis, they would have the trust in me, because I’m steady, responsible and reliable 99% of the time.
        I wouldn’t have a BFF who was unreliable and who I couldn’t trust to honor that she had a good reason she wasn’t coming. Is hate to think she had to struggle through a dinner party with me out of obligation, when something in her life was falling apart, because she was afraid to take care of her own needs because she was afraid I’d be mad if she cancelled. That would make me pretty selfish, in my eyes. The way I view friendship, my need for someone to show up to a party doesn’t supersede my friend’s need to take care of herself,

        • Elizabeth says:

          Amy — your spin on this, or your viewpoint, would work for me too if the BFF who cancelled had said something like this: “I’m sorry. This is a real emergency. I will explain more later, at the right time. Please bear with me. Thank you.”

        • Mrs. Chen says:

          I expect common courtesy from my friends, BFF or not. To not even text her knowing that he is not going to show up is SO lacking in consideration for her that is hard to forgive. Unless someone died or he was just physically assaulted, there is simply no reason to not at least text her.

          And what do you define “in due time”? It’s 10 days after July 4th now and Lara still doesn’t know what happened. AND he still hasn’t called.

          Again, friendship has to be mutual. And while I don’t suggest that Lara drop him, I am saying that she needs to demote his position in her heart so that she doesn’t feel so disappointed when he fails to show her common courtesy next time.

  14. Ben says:

    Every person has to decide for themselves what they will put up with and what they will not. Nobody knows but you how important this friendship is to you. You have given us a brief snapshot. There is a sense of loss with friendships I got to the breaking point over. Life is not a dress rehearsal. I try and learn from each situation to see where my blind spots are. Sometimes when I am very angry about a situation and time passes I get to a different space. A good wise friend of mine who lived into his mid 90’s used to say, “I have to choose my words carefully so they won’t hurt so bad going down if I have eat them later.” Another key mantra of mine is “the definition of ‘insanity’ is doing the same thing expecting different results.”

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