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Need help understanding my friend's behaviour


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I have two friends from uni that I've known for several years now, and while we've all diverged in our lives we still chat and catch up a few times a year. Or we did until one of them started cancelling all the time. Of three attempts at catching up last year, she only turned up to one (and somewhat reluctantly)


Late last year she started insisting we should catch up (one on one). I wasn't going to invite her out again but I agreed to see her when she suggested it, and we ended up making plans for NYE. She cancelled a few days beforehand with an excuse I later found out was legitimate. I didn't care much because I got invited to a party anyway.


But then she again insisted we catch up, and kept asking me a lot of questions about my life and telling me very personal things about hers. I went along with it more out of politeness. But this time she did actually turn up when she said she would (and it was near my home so I was ok with that). She explained that she had been busy, stressed and suffering with mental health issues for a while. I got the impression she was getting over those issues.


Now I had plans with the other friend, and we invited Cancelling Girl who kept expressing that she wanted to see the other friend too. We finally made arrangements a week ago and then...

Yep, you guessed it. She cancelled. She asked if we could push it back to this week. So we agreed. And then earlier today, you will never guess what happened... She. Cancelled.


Now here's the thing. Normally I would walk away from this without much hesitation, because it seems that she doesn't really care about us. But here's why I'm giving it pause for thought:

She knows she has an issue with flaking

We're not the only people she does this to

I don't think she has that many friends (see previous point)

She quite clearly hasn't got it together on a lot of issues in her life (we're in our mid 20s)

She sent a very sincere apology tonight that did make a lot of sense for her current reasons (new job)


I just don't understand what's going on with her? My other friend shrugged it off because they barely talk to each other. But I do speak to her, and what's more is that she seems to want to talk about personal things. So I'm getting mixed signals here. I would love to have a better friendship with her and be there for her if that's what she needs - should I tell her that even though I don't see that happening with her current behaviour?

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I mean I'm assuming she's a big girl who can reach out when she needs to. I'm not sure what benefit there is to put any more stake into things. In your shoes, if you're really concerned about her and want to make yourself available, I think that's fine so long as you take into account her flakiness and only make an effort as far as you'd be fine it turning out to nothing on any given occasion, but I don't think it'd be worth pushing to be any closer.

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The problem with most flakes is that they're often as manipulative as small children, only they're better at it. Consider all emotional confessions to be the stuff that sucks you in even while they're useful to the flake as a cover for the unreliability. In other words, "You know my issues, so you'll be more tolerant of my behavior."


I'd skip that. You don't need to burn any bridges, but you don't need to hold them up, either. I'd just tell flake whenever she contacts you that you're open to spontaneous pings if she's ever in your area, and maybe you can meet up then if she catches you at a good time. But, as far as making any plans that reserve your time, you'd rather pass and reconsider that again in the future if she's ever on more solid ground.


This keeps your door open a crack, but it's on her to step up and walk through it.


Investing more in people who flake is just a wheel spin and an exercise in learning why it's never a good idea to do that.


Head high.

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