Your Frustration-Free Guide to Dealing with a Flaky Friend

Save your disappointment and follow these expert tips.

Everyone has a friend that they often invite to dinner or birthday parties, only to have them cancel at the last minute, "oversleep," or simply forget to attend. So for this episode of "I Want to Like You," Real Simple editor Kristin Van Ogtrop talks with Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s Income Property and author of How to Add Value to Your Home, and Patricia Rossi, business etiquette expert and author of Everyday Etiquette, about decoding the people who text “I have to cancel tonight but I would LOVE to see you sometime soon!” five minutes before your dinner reservation.



1. Start with kindness. "Humans are not a perfect system," McGillivray says. "No one is going to follow all the rules perfectly." It might be a cultural difference, Rossi says. Or it could be that he or she hasn’t been disciplined or faced repercussions for their behavior in their personal or professional experiences. Give them a gentle nudge about your disappointment and try to get to the root of why they can’t be counted on. Maybe they've bitten off more than they can chew at work or maybe they have a sick partner at home. Yes, you’re seeking this information to be compassionate. But more importantly, you need this information to best plan for yourself around their needs and habits.

2. Factor in the flakiness. Once you understand the last-minute abandons, you can create tailored solutions, McGillivray says. If your friend stood you up on a lunch date just once because they forgot to write it on their calendar, don’t let it happen again. Note the behavior and send them a reminder e-mail or text the morning before. Realize you cannot change their habits, but you can plan to keep the inconvenience to a minimum.

For more tips like these, listen to the full episode below, and don't forget to subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes.