Confessions of a Former Flake: It's You, Not Your Friends

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“Um actually … I’m not going to make it.”

When I was younger I used to cancel plans last minute all the time. It didn't seem to bother me when people cancelled plans either, because I was a teenager and time was abundantly flexible. Cause hey, there's always more around every corner to reschedule right? - - WRONG As an adult, I quickly changed my tune AND my flaky ways. I realized that my time was less viscous and in order to try to do all the things I wanted to do, planning became an essential ingredient.

I'll never forget freshman year in college I was late for a one-on-one that I had scheduled with one of my professors. He is still one of my all time favorite teachers, but less because of the lectures and more because of the other stuff in-between, the life lessons.

That day I was 20 minutes late to our meeting and when I rushed into his office I fully expected him to brush off my lateness so we could start the meeting as planned.

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Instead, he looked up from his work and motioned for me to sit and as I sunk into the oversized guest armchair in his office, he proceeded to work at his desk. I wait for him to speak, but he didn't say a word. I shifted and attempted to break the silence, but he held up his hand. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for him to break the uncomfortable silence with anything. It was excruciating. I hated waiting and not knowing what was going on.

After only 10 minutes, he looked up with a smile and said, "Shannon, if you want people to respect your time, then you need to treat theirs as if it were your own." I quickly apologized and we started our meeting. However, while I don't remember what was even discussed that day, I do still remember the lesson I learned when I showed up so late.

The really important thing we all should learn about being flaky is that when you flake you're basically telling that person you don't respect their time and time is our most valuable commodity. If someone is willing to give you some of their's, take care to respect the gift that is being offered, whether you choose to take it or not.

So, if you're still a flake, it's time to ditch the excuses and start owning up. Your relationships with others will prove to be much better for it. Here are some easy tips on how to immediately be less flaky moving forward:

Only commit to things you know you can follow through on.

You don't have to say yes to everything. It's better to do less and be consistent than to overbook and be known amongst friends privately as "the flake." Your word should be solid. Make it your intention to rarely deviate from anything you commit to. We all have to cancel plans now and then, that's life, but if it happens enough, than it has become a bad habit. Good news is that bad habits can be broken as long as we replace it with new better habits.

Stop waiting to cancel plans until the last minute

If you know on Monday that you probably can't make Fridays trivia night even though your friends are counting on you, don't delay! The sooner you let them know the better, it's about respecting their time and maybe giving them a chance to find someone else to fill in if they need.

Learn Effective Time Management

This way you are less likely, if ever, to be late to really important events and meetings in your life.

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