Thursday, May 14, 2009


A few years ago I spent countless hours writing an article titled "Why do people in LA Flake?"

I suppose flaking isn't synonymous with only Los Angeles. But, I do have a theory that people in LA are generally more flaky than anywhere in the world.

I spent countless hours thinking of theories as to why people flake.

Maybe it's the prevalence of the entertainment industry in LA. Where thousands flock here from small towns all over the country with stars in their eyes. Not the smartest bunches.

Or maybe it's the traffic. Yes, because we have so little public transportation, maybe the lack of it is why people flake. Because driving everywhere sucks. Sometimes it's nice to just sit in a cab or on a bus or subway for a bit. But who takes the bus or subway in LA?

Then I thought it was because of all the cool last minute invites - from movie premieres to concerts. Someone can't make it and suddenly you find yourself with an opportunity to walk the red carpet. Or take in an amazing show. Certainly, I can understand why someone would flake under these circumstances.

But then, just recently, a friend had this startling statement.

"Why should I go somewhere if I don't feel like it?"


Is this really a reason why some people flake?

Holy crap.

I mean, where do I even begin with a statement like that?

Well, let's see, first off, that's an incredibly selfish statement to think let alone make let alone actually live out.

I mean, I'm an only child so yeah, I'm probably used to getting my way more than most. But Jesus.

Ok, the issue here is of respect. Because you make a plan with a business associate or friend. And that person blocks out time in their day for you. Time they could spend lunching, dining, drinking, or hanging out with another friend. Or doing something else fun. Like going to a concert or a movie. Or going for a walk or run. Or playing golf or a game of tennis. Or hitting the gym. Or going on an African safari. Or walking their dog.

I think you get my point.

Anyhow, by blocking off time or "setting a date and time" to hang out with someone, you are taking up time in their day that they might otherwise use for someone or something else.

So when you flake on them, especially hours or minutes before you're supposed to get together (and you're not lying in a ditch by the side of the road or vomiting from food poisoning) what you're really saying to the person is, "Person, I really don't value your friendship and I rather do something else tonight even though that completely f's up your day, afternoon, evening, etc."

Then, there is something called "keeping your word."

Where I come from, the east coast, when you say you're going to be somewhere at a certain time, you're there. Sure, we all hit ridiculous traffic or what not, but we're still there to meet someone.

So when you make plans, especially with a friend, by flaking and simply not going at the last minute - or even day of - that really sends the message that you are not a trustworthy person. You are a flake. You can't be counted on to follow through with what you say.

And in LA, who needs to mistrust anyone any more than they already do?

Sure, we all have our busy lives and priorities. And I am a lot more forgiving of a friend that is say, a single parent, who flakes, than someone who is just single. Because I can barely take care of myself some days so caring for another human being 24/7 is something that must be immensely stressful, especially in LA where you have to drive frickin' everywhere.

Anyhow, that's just my .02 for what it's worth.

I'm not perfect. I'm not saying I am.

But how often do you flake?

5% of the time?

I'd say any of the last 4 are completely unacceptable.


k evans said...

I really get annoyed when people flake on me, but I also understand that it is a problem and plan around it. My days are never ruined when people flake because I always have something else to do if they cancel. It's sad when I am really looking forward to seeing someone and they can't make it. But, at least they usually call. If I am expecting to see someone and they don't show and don't even call - that is bad.

jennifery said...

K Evans,

Yeah I think I have had particularly flakey friends. So I cut them out of my life if they do it too much. My day gets ruined because I work for myself so my nights out after work are way more important to me than to someone who works in a big office all day long, ya know?