“an unreliable person. A procrastinator. A careless or lazy person. Dishonest and doesn’t keep to their word. They’ll tell you they’re going to do one thing, and never do it. They’ll tell you that they’ll meet you somewhere, and show up an hour late or don’t show up at all. Also spelled “flakey”, or “flake” in the noun form”. Source, The Urban Dictionary.
When I was old enough to start partying (at aged 17 or so) I was *that* great friend you wanted to be around. Up for anything, everything and a loyal gal pal. I also couldn’t handle any kind of alcoholic substance very well (a characteristic that I still possess now) and yet I consumed it as though I could. Which meant that on a night out I turned into a drunken idiot who did crazy things and thus made their friends belly laugh and cry actual tears of joy. Thank goodness we didn’t have social media back in those days because none of that evidence of my puerile behaviour exists anywhere. Lols.
My flakiness though started creeping in when a serious boyfriend came along. A crime that I guess a lot of us can relate to. In my early-to-mid twenties I stopped dancing on tables at 4am like I was Beyoncé and snogging random men in bars, because, well, then I had a nice boyfriend at home — who I really liked. Instead I chose to spend time with him and more often than not I would end up cancelling last minute on my besties.
I wanted to go to the cinema with him and eat popcorn from the same box. I enjoyed watching TV at home with him on a Friday night. I also elected to go shopping with him too on a Saturday afternoon rather than asking my trusty friends who had previously been there for me through every fashion craze going (shell suits and scrunchies anyone?).
The absolute worst case of me being a flaky friend though came when trying for a baby and going through IVF. I was newly married to Dave, in my early thirties and in full-on I NEED TO SETTLE DOWN mode. I longed for a little family of our own and couldn’t wait to start growing our brood. But those months felt very long and there was much disappointment to contend with.
At that time in my life (after a few failed IVF attempts) I was nearing desperation to have a baby. I had reached a point where I would try anything to get pregnant. So I completely cut out alcohol, got as fit and healthy as I could and ate well. I treated my body like a temple. Because, as I had no control over what was going on medically, it was all I could do to help.
In all seriousness though, I do believe that during our ‘trying for a baby years’ I actually had a touch of depression (even though this wasn’t diagnosed by a medical professional). On reflection I had some of the symptoms, such as being withdrawn, continuous low moods, having little self-esteem, feeling tearful, feeling irritable and finding it difficult to make decisions.
Similar to the traits of a flaky friend?
Even though I truly needed my friends at that arduous time (probably more so than in my entire life) I pushed a lot away. I didn’t want to go and celebrate other people’s anniversaries by getting wasted after 3 bottles of wine, nor did I feel up to attending all the baby showers, Christenings and 1st birthday parties that seemed to come in a tidal wave during that time. So I would end up cancelling on them a lot and subsequently lost touch with a few good pals.
As a 39-year-old woman right now, with twins who are 6 and having been married to Dave for over 10 years, personally I am in a great place with my happiness and confidence. I am thus well aware of how ghastly being a flake is and feel quite ashamed to have been one previously. I have therefore worked incredibly hard in the last few years to ditch that ‘flaky friend’ badge.
I have also made a little pact to myself to make the lives of my close friends a top priority of mine. So not only do I attend most of the lunches, coffees, dinners out that are arranged, but I also listen to my girlfriends when I am there and help chat through their problems.
As a reformed flake I’m also very tolerating and understanding of those who are one; because even though it’s an amusing term that magazines like to have a little fun with, there usually IS something underlying as to why people act in that way (as there was in my case). Plus, with so much pressure on women these days to be successful at work, as well as a wonderful mother, partner, daughter, friend etc, we simply cannot be all of those things all of the time. There will be occasions when you need to cancel on a fellow girlfriend because you have a deadline/the baby threw up on you/you’re the epitome of knackered.
So yes, we’ve all been a bit flaky in our lives at some point to someone/a group of mates…if we’re all truly honest. No one is *that* perfect and many of us go through turmoil in our lives which can lead us to feel withdrawn or low and thus not feeling like socialising. But, as with anything in life, good and honest communication on all sides is the key to sustaining those special friendships that truly do mean the world to us.
Love, Jess x
GET MY LOOK: