Confidence Building
For Men

How to Deal with Flakes (not the cereal variety)

June 14, 2011
▪ 3 mins read

You might not know the slang, but flake is something all of us have experienced

A girl sends a last-minute `my bus was late and now I can’t make it’ message. Maybe she goes AWOL in the days running up to that amazing date you’ve planned. Maybe she is a total no show, leaving you hanging at the bar. If you have experienced this, you have experienced a flake. You might not know how to deal with flakes which is why I have decided to write this blog post.

The immediate reaction to a flake is usually a jolt of rage, resentment and then disappointment. This is usually followed by an angry voicemail that burns your bridges with the girl forever. Understandable, but maybe not the best way of dealing with the situation, particularly considering that a flake isn’t a straight out `no’ it’s just a `not yet’. Not yet is a sign that more desire, or comfort, has to be created before they’re willing to put themselves out for you.

So before you smash your phone against the wall, just think about this for a second. First of all, recognise the reasons why they may have flaked. Then figure out how you can get them to commit to a reschedule.

You’re not their number one

Think of all the different people in your life: friends, colleagues, families, girls you’re hooking up with. If you meet someone new (unless they really blow your socks off) they’re not going to be your top priority: in fact, it would be weird if they were.

When girls flake what’s likely to happen is someone higher up on their priority list has got in touch, or they’re so tired from fulfilling their other priorities, that they can’t be bothered to meet up with you: the guy that quickly grabbed their number at the bar.

Sounds bad, but it’s just the nature of the beast that thanks to texts and emails, arrangements are much easier to cancel than they used to be: and people don’t worry so much about cancelling, as they have so much more choice.

You need to focus on getting her to invest more, go for a date that is easy for her to commit to and create more desire to overcome this. So that's one way to deal with flakes.

You lost momentum

Your place on their priority list will slide even further if you let the interaction lose momentum. You may have hit it off one weekend, but by the next, she may not even be able to remember fully what you looked like. Interactions are like any reaction- they go cold after a while. So if you lose momentum in-between, by not keeping her engaged with a brief piece of flirtation every few days, she may lose her incentive to see you.

The lesson here is to set a date very close to your initial meet. If you have to `pencil something in’ for a few weeks ahead then maintain good contact in-between. Build comfort and investment; don’t ever just assume it’s on.

Your Immediate Reaction

Now as tempting as it is to call people out on their (lame) flaky behaviour: this will never help you in the long run. This is not how you deal withflakes!

Not only do you burn your bridges with this person; but you’ve also let them know that you value them more than they value you. Instead, send a nonchalant `Hey no problem, I was getting my arm twisted into going out with my guy mates anyway. Catch you another time’ kind of message. Then give them a few days of `vacuum’ so that they miss you maintaining momentum.

Your Next Strategy

After a couple of days send them a message that’s mission is to re-engage them. Going for a date again straight away after they’ve bailed on you is probably not a great idea. This will feel like too much effort on your part. Instead try to get them hooked again with a ping message:

"Hey Sarah! Hope your weekend was fun in the end? I ended up having a crazy night out Saturday and was still feeling wobbly at work today, think my boss noticed..."

The message shouldn’t make any demands on her. So much so that it’s not even a big deal if she doesn’t respond. (which is a reasonable possibility so be prepared for sending a few more messages like this over the coming weeks).

However, if you get a warm, fast-ish, long-ish response from her it’s a decent sign to push again towards the meetup.

If she doesn’t bite though, be prepared to repeat the cycle:

  • Don’t seem negative/ angry
  • Vacuum
  • Ping message
  • Try again to meet if you get a good response

As long as you extend the vacuum every time you don’t get the response you want you can dodge looking too needy. Hit the six-month mark though and if you’re still playing this game I’d recommend a different strategy: either delete the number or post her a box of Kellogg’s. You decide how you want to burn the bridge! This is how to deal with flakes!

If you want to understand better why she flakes, read my blog on five reasons why she cancels on you.

Hayley Quinn smiling profile
About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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