3. The White Rabbit
The Chronically Late FF
Symptoms: You both agree to meet at In-N-Out to get burgers at noon on Saturday before you go to a movie. It is now 12:45 and you are STARVING and the movie starts in 15 minutes and her ass is not there. You’ve been texting her “WHERE R U” every five minutes since 12:15. She texted that she was leaving the house at noon, just as you sat down. You are furious and also not surprised—she is constantly wildly late, so late it’s as if she lives in a separate time zone. This is, what? The third time she’s done this to you in as many months? And it’s not like you’re some crazy stickler for punctuality! You’d be fine with five, 10, 15—heck, 20 minutes—but now YOU’RE GOING TO MISS THE MOVIE, and wtf, she lives less than a mile away from In-N-Out. What the hell is taking so long?
Diagnosis: The White Rabbit is either unbelievably bad with basic time management, a dawdler (as in, she has a hard time getting ready and out the door of her house, or leaving social situations without stopping to chat with 18 people), or…she might not be very good at thinking about other people. Let us assume, because she attends school or work and has not yet failed out or been fired, that your flaky friend understands basic time management. That leaves “she’s a dawdler” or “she’s not thinking about other people” as the only two explanations.
Treatment: The strategy for both the dawdler and the self-involved, chronically late friend is the same: Wait for her only until you become annoyed. Then leave without her. Casually. For me, this is almost exactly 20 minutes after an agreed-upon time. After 20 minutes and one “dude where are u?” text, take off. Do the thing you were going to do, but without her. Or do something else—she’s kept you waiting long enough. The White Rabbit knows that almost everyone else shows up to things on time, and expects you to be there at the appointed place, at the appointed time, waiting. She gets away with this because most people wait for her. You do not have to wait for her. She can text you when she finally gets to wherever you were supposed to meet. If she’s upset, lay out your logic: “You were really late, so I ate already.” If you try the waiting-then-calmly-leaving-as-soon-as-you-get-annoyed strategy a few times, you’ll notice something: You will be less irritated with your friend, because you are honoring your own time and doing what you wanted to do. And your friend, if she really wants to hang out, will start showing up a lot closer to the scheduled time, because now she knows you won’t wait for her.
4. The Indifferent One
The FF Who Is Not As Invested in the Friendship As You Are
It has to be said. Sometimes someone is just not as interested in pursuing a friendship as you are. It happens. It sucks when it happens, but it happens.
Symptoms: You text to ask what this person is doing Friday night. She texts back that she’s not sure yet. You ask her if she wants to sleep over. She says she thinks she can? Maybe? What time? You say 7 PM, and she says “Great.” Friday evening rolls around, and she’s MIA; no calls, no texts, and oh hello! At 9 PM, you see an Instagram of her…hanging out with two of your other mutual friends. Cool. She’s done this before—she also said she’d meet you to go thrifting and then didn’t show up. When you asked her about it, she shrugged and said, “I had to do something for my mom.”
Diagnosis: This FF is not acting very much like a friend. She is treating you badly, and that is not OK. It’s possible something is going on with her that you don’t know about, but it is also possible that she is less interested in being friends with you than you are with her.
Treatment: This is a hard situation to be in, and it can be sad, but it’s something that’s happened to a lot of people (me included!), and you can get through it! If it seems too confrontational or awkward to ask this FF directly why she is treating you the way she is, to deal with this, you could try giving off a sudden, radio silence when it comes to invitations to hang out. No more texts about Friday night sleepovers, no more invites to go thrifting. See if she invites you to do anything. It’s possible that she’ll come back around and want to hang out after you stop inviting her to lots of things, but it’s also possible she won’t. In this case, flakiness was her way of moving on from a friendship. HER LOSS!
You don’t have to put up with flaky behavior from friends you love, my babes. You also don’t have to cut flaky friends out of your life. You can accept them! Love them for who they are! …and make sure they know how to treat you (an equally important member of this friendship), too. ♦