What Causes People to Be Flaky?


Flakiness is a tendency to make plans and neglect to follow through with them, be late for appointments, and generally be unreliable. It can be a frustrating character trait, and causes many conflicts among friends and in romantic relationships. While you do not necessarily need to put up with flakiness, it is easier to address and deal with if you understand some of its root causes.

Other Commitments

  • Flakiness is sometimes caused by the fact that people take on too much, or have too much thrust upon them. For example, people with children can sometimes be flaky because children take up so much time. What's more, children seldom---if ever---function on adult schedules. So, flakiness can simply be caused by taking on more commitments than there are hours in the day to follow through with them.

Different Standards

  • "Late," for some people, means arriving after a specified time. For other people, arriving "on time" means being extremely early. So, while you may find someone flaky, you may simply have different standards than she does. Different people have different priorities, and some people simply do not arrive on time as often as others.

Lack of Respect

  • Flakiness, like most attributes, is not a binary state. Rather, it occurs on a spectrum. If someone is consistently a few minutes late, he is not really that flaky. However, if he is hours late for events, or just doesn't show up when he says he will, you should think about how much he respects you. He may not respect you as much as you deserve, and you should ask yourself how valuable his friendship is to you.


  • Many flaky friends will only want to spend time with you when they need something, such as money, a shoulder to cry on or some advice. This is a product of self-obsession: they are not concerned with how you feel or what you need, but rather just concerned with themselves. So, someone who has a hard time conceptualizing other people's emotions will often be extremely flaky.


  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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