Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

Can we talk about flaking?

Asked by nikipedia (27338 points ) October 25th, 2011

I organize social events fairly frequently. My hit rate on attendance is fairly low: I tend to invite everyone in the pertinent social group, and only a handful of people will show up.

Sometimes people commit and flake at the last second. Often enough they never RSVP in the first place and completely ignore the invitation.

I have been guilty of flaking on occasion, but in general, my barrier to entry is pretty low: I will show up to pretty much any social event that involves people who aren’t horrible and/or alcohol.

What about you? What’s your threshold for socializing? How often would you like to socialize, ideally, and does your social schedule now align well with that?

Are you one of these non-RSVPers? If so, should I just stop inviting you to things? What gives?

When you’re the inviter, do you take it personally when people flake on or completely ignore your invitations? Or is it a non-issue for you?

Feel free to give your perspective on flaking, inviting, or general social event attendance even if it doesn’t address any of the specific questions. I’m mostly just interested in what people’s thought processes are about these things.

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27 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I flake a lot.
Say what you will, I know it’s been discussed here before, and most jellies despise flaky people… but I’m not going to pretend. I have agoraphobia, I’m an anxious person. Often I feel obligated to agree to social invitations because I have repeatedly declined past invitations or because the person inviting me is being pushy, and then when the time comes, I panic and don’t go. Most of the people who know me are aware of this, and it’s just an accepted thing. There’s always the chance that I will decide not to show up at the last minute, and it has just become old hat. I feel badly if there are hard feelings, but, not so much that I will force myself to do things that I sincerely don’t want to do.

I don’t need a lot of socializing in large groups. Maybe once every few months, and preferably at my home. I much prefer to entertain than to go out, even to someone else’s home. I do like one-on-one socializing, I do that more often. I’m less likely to cancel plans if it is just one other person.

I don’t mind flaky people, because.. well, that would be silly of me. So, if someone cancels at the last minute, I really don’t care.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t flake. I have that expert military training: when I’m told to be somewhere, I’m there. Lol.

If something comes up, whether it’s important or not, I’ll inform the person that something came up and I can’t go, or that I’ll be late.

Flaking is kind of annoying, but it doesn’t ruin my day. I’ve had people flake at the last minute, like when I was about to leave to go meet them…..but I’m just an apathetic person. So whatev, braaahhhh.

nikipedia's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf, do you tell people about your agoraphobia? That’s definitely a mitigating circumstance—I wouldn’t take it personally or hold it against someone if they bailed because of that, but I can also see why you would want to keep something like that private.

Would you rather not be invited to things so you don’t feel pressured to go?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@nikipedia my friends and family all know. Which is probably why they don’t get pissed when I cancel.
Yes, I would often prefer not to even be invited to a lot of things. When I say that I feel pressured to go, that’s quite literal. I asked a question about it somewhat recently, whether or not people who suffer from social anxiety ever feel deliberately pressured to participate in social obligations, even when they clearly don’t want to. The responses were mixed, but my personal experience is that certain people in my life will guilt me or coax me into agreeing to do something that I already know I don’t want to do. There aren’t many, I mean, most of them know better… but I think those that do it only intend to pull me out of my comfort zone and they mean well, usually. I still hate it.

wonderingwhy's avatar

What about you?
If I say I’m in, I’m in come hell or high water.

What’s your threshold for socializing?
Very low. I’m just as happy not.

How often would you like to socialize, ideally, and does your social schedule now align well with that?
I’d be fine with never, I can also put up with every other weekend or so if necessary (and I do mean “put up with”) at least for a while, that’s highly dependent on how “social” I have to be the rest of the time, it takes me a long time to “recharge”.

Are you one of these non-RSVPers?
Depends on the event, but yep.

If so, should I just stop inviting you to things?
Up to you, I won’t begrudge your stopping. If I’m going to show I’ll be there in time to help shop and set up or not at all. The best way to get me is to tell me you need help, then I usually say commit one way or the other.

What gives?
I use the same formula for when I have to organize something. I buy supplies based on the responses, if you didn’t or were late your still welcome but don’t expect anything – unless it’s an event, 50 or more then we’re usually well prep’d. If it’s RSVP only, I say as much and if there’s no room at the table, it’s your own fault. In my lack of response I’m attributing (mistakenly or not) the same analysis to you and setting my expectations accordingly.

When you’re the inviter, do you take it personally when people flake on or completely ignore your invitations? Or is it a non-issue for you?
I don’t care if they ignore it (though if the number gets too low I might scrap or reconfirm things), but if they drop out at the last minute that bugs me. If you say you’re going to do something, do it, end of story. Unlike the RSVP issue, that will get you uninvited to future things.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am not huge on socializing, but whenever I get an invitation I RSVP whether I will be attending or not. When I say I will be attending, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I attend. It is not too tough to give a call to let the host/hostess know whether or not I will be there.

When I host a get together I am really bummed when folks don’t even bother to RSVP. I am bummed when people don’t RSVP then show up. Worse though to me is to RSVP to the positive then not show up. Like I said, how hard is it to just make the call or send the email? I have regularly experienced both of these as a hostess and I really don’t like it, maybe that is why I don’t socialize much.

tinyfaery's avatar

I rarely have social get-togethers at my home and when I do it’s usually just one or two people, or family, so I don’t really have any problems with people flaking on me.

I always RSVP. I think it’s rude not to. If someone took the time to write out an invitation, then the least I can do is give the courtesy of a reply, whether I plan to attend or not.

I used to be very flakey about plans, but I had anxiety issues. (I still do, but meds and therapy has done a lot.) Now, I will flake on occasion, but only rarely. Now I just begrudging go. (Why. I’m not sure. I have to at least try to be social, no?)

L.A. is notorious for being full of flakey people. I think I’m just used to it. Everyone is just too cool for school.

wundayatta's avatar

I rarely host events with people who flake. Usually it’s family and friends, and these people take the event very seriously. If they can’t show, they tell us. They RSVP, although in some cases we have to call them to get the RSVP. My wife is quite strict about that.

I did once organize an even for my grad students and my boss. Only my boss and his wife showed. We had a great time, but I’ll never invite grad students to anything again, unless it’s on campus. I had thought that grad students were closer to real people than to students, but I guess not.

nikipedia's avatar

@wundayatta: I had thought that grad students were closer to real people than to students, but I guess not.

:( :( :(

CWOTUS's avatar

Shit, now I’m feeling bad because I’ve never gotten an invitation from you.

bob_'s avatar

“I had thought that grad students were closer to real people [...] but I guess not”

So you are surreal, @nikipedia?

DominicX's avatar

I tell the truth. I almost always RSVP, but I don’t flake. If I say I’m going to something, then I’m going, and if I don’t want to go to something, then I will say so. I happen to be someone who likes to socialize a good deal, but there are still many things I’m invited to and simply don’t want to attend; I never say I will and then don’t. I happen to think that’s a terrible thing to do. And there’s a difference between clicking “I’m Attending” on Facebook and then not showing up and calling your friends, telling them you will be there at a certain time, and not showing up/canceling. There are levels of flaking and some instances of it are worse than others.

nikipedia's avatar

@bob_, I am a figment of your imagination.

@CWOTUS, consider this your invitation to a very happening Halloween party in Huntington Beach. There will be themed drinks and prizes!!!

tinyfaery's avatar

Can I come? But wait. I don’t want to flake. HB is a bit of a trek.

Jude's avatar

Sadly, I’m flakey. One of my faults.

nikipedia's avatar

Flakers, reassure me that it’s nothing personal. Boyfriend and I had a long conversation last night in which he was surprised that I took flaking personally, and I was surprised that he didn’t.

Jude's avatar

It’s not you, it’s me (really). For me, it has to do with anxiety.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Ditto, what Jude said. It’s definitely not personal.

CWOTUS's avatar

Thank you for the gracious invitation, @nikipedia, and no matter that I coerced it out of you. Sadly, I will have to decline this time, but I hope that you will keep me in mind for future events. It sure sounds like fun.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m an RSVP’er and if possible, I like to show up to gatherings where my friends will be. That said, I rarely get to show up to much because my weekends are my busiest workdays.

In other people, I dislike flaking and not RSVP’ing. With the internet and texting, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for people to not at least acknowledge an invitation. My group of friends aren’t the flaking type but I hear it about others all the time and wonder if the majority of people are just socially disconnected.

YARNLADY's avatar

I avoid people who have shown by their actions that their word is not to be relied on. I can always be relied on to keep my word, and I expect the same from others.

Kayak8's avatar

I am an admitted flake. It is due, in part, to the business in my daily life. I do well with a reminder right before the event. I love email invites with a link that I can click to add it to my calendar (then I never miss)!

HungryGuy's avatar

I don’t flake (and people who do flake drive me bonkers). If I say I’m going to be somewhere or do something, I’ll do it (unless a meteor hits me on the head or something). If I’m not sure I can go through with something, I’ll be non-committal about it and say I’ll try to be there, but I can’t promise. And even then, I’ll do my best to carry through.

Symbeline's avatar

I usually decline when invited, or make it clear in some way that I’m not interested in the invitation. I’m not a social person, I don’t like gatherings that last for too long, so I do my best to avoid it. I get straight to the point because I don’t want people to insist and I don’t want to fuck around. I often seem very rude and cold, yet people still keep inviting me to shit.

That doesn’t mean I’m not flakey sometimes. It’s happened. Sometimes I agree, but then don’t go. One last instance was this Summer. In fact it’s even worse than flaking…I went. And left like half an hour later. But eh what are you gonna do. People seem to forgive me.

As for people doing that to me, which is rare, since I don’t set up social events ever, besides movie nights with friends and shit… well, if they don’t show up, that’s fine. Whatever their reason. Never upset me much at all, and they usually tell me in advance anyways.

blueiiznh's avatar

If I commit, I am there.
However, life gets crazy and shit happens. I don’t worry about if somebody else flakes. It’s their loss.

I did have a case of uber flake this summer when I planned a 40th bday party for a friend. I was a touch nervous about the numbers because the room had a max and I had a $1000 minimum commit. So one family of 4 said they were coming and 15 minutes into the event I got a text that they couldn’t find a parking spot (In Boston on a summer weekend can be busy, but really..). An hour later i noticed a text that said they headed home (60 minute drive). I seriously don’t think they even left home. Oh well, their loss.

augustlan's avatar

I’m not very social, and tend not to commit in the first place. I’m usually a “maybe”. My friends and family all know I’m like this, so I think they’re used to it by now.

When I do commit, I have to admit that sometimes I flake (but I always call or email to say I’m not going to make it after all). Similar to what others have said, it usually has to do with my anxiety, but might also be due to my illness (bad fibro days are not very good for socializing). For sure, it has nothing to do with the person hosting the event. I promise. <3

Allie's avatar

Personally, I love to socialize. I go out a lot with friends – and I don’t mean the same group of friends over and over. I have a few friends who are kind of homebodies, but they still like to hang out, so we drink or play games or watch movies at someones house. I have other friends who love to go out to bars and maybe grab some food then just bar hop. I have more friends who are really into pub quizzes, so we go to various pub quizzes several nights.
Ideally, I would be able to socialize more, and later, but thanks to my horrible job I usually have to wake up around 6am (yes, yes, go on about how that’s what most people do and that’s life – whatever) so on any given night we go out I like to be home by 1am. I’m a night owl and don’t do mornings well, so waking up at 6am is hell for me anyway, but doing it after five hours of sleep sucks even more. Although, not having a social life might actually kill me… or my soul… or both. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked….
If by RSVPing you mean to something like a Facebook invite, well, for large events from bars or venues that invite hundreds of people, no, I don’t always RSVP to those. If I’m not going, I just delete or ignore the thing altogether. If I am going, the RSVP is more to let my friends know what I’m doing so they can maybe come with me. If it’s a personal invite from a friend, then I RSVP to let them know if I’m going or not. If I say I’m going though, I’ll be there. I try not to flake on people, because when people flake on me it annoys me to no end.
As for inviting people to my own events, if it’s a big enough thing like a house party or someones birthday where you might invite a lot of people, then if a handful flake or whatever I don’t mind that much because most of the people do show up. (In my experience, people don’t usually flake on house parties and birthdays – free booze.) If it’s something small where 10–15 friends are getting together for something and people flake, that kind of bugs me. Typically we all talk about getting together at some point and everyone agrees to it, then we plan it and someone goes, “Oh, I can’t make it.” It makes me want to grab them by their face and say, “Then why did you agree to this in the first place!?” If I knew someone was’t available for a small get-together on a certain date, then I/we wouldn’t have made it for that date. C’mon now, people.
..... and that’s how I feel about that.

P.S. – I feel like I rambled quite a bit in there – sorry.

Edit: I don’t take flaking personally, but I do find it annoying.

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