May 11, 2018


Are you a regular plan-canceller, exhausted from an over-committed diary? Or are you frustrated at being blown off by flaky friends?

For this week’s #BORNATDAWNLIFE we are exploring the modern issue of ‘flakiness’ (cancelling at the last minute in favour of a night in) and whether it’s justifiable in our over-scheduled lives or making us lonely and a bad friend. We’re inspired by Caroline O’Donoghue’s recent piece for Grazia.

Flakiness has been given a 2018 reboot with serial-cancellers openly labelling their actions as ‘self-care’. Caroline shares her frustration at being both the flake (the night you desperately wanted soon descends into a Netflix slump, Instagram faff and ‘numbing inertia’ rather than relaxation) and the flakee, especially when the catch up is badly needed.

As 21st century women we’re fed mixed messages; an expectation to keep committed friendships while simultaneously finding inner solace. Life is too tiring, sad or worrying at times and poor health can force us to retreat and genuinely need to reschedule. Yet, Caroline argues using self-care to gently let friends down may form a cycle of loneliness that becomes hard to break.

Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes debated ‘for’ and ‘against’ flaking for Red last year and offered some fascinating views:

  • Dolly explains, rather than defends, flaking. She believes it provides surprise free time, can be a by-product of tireless people-pleasing and fear of disappointing rather than malice and an early night alone can be good. We all get tired / double booked so the occasional flake is OK, as long as we judge carefully and ensure our loved ones still feel treasured.
  • Pandora on the other hand is fiercely reliable and insists that plans are not to be ditched; that our iPhones allow us to be culturally selfish and freely cancel at 6pm citing ‘too much work’. She believes being physically present and making our mates feel valued, rather than disposable, is vital and flaking guilt is easily outweighed by seeing a happy friend.

What do you think? Is flaking inexcusable and hurtful? Or simply attributed to our busy lives and therefore acceptable every now and then? We’d love to know your thoughts…

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