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How many chances do you give people?

I was supposed to hang out with someone yesterday, but they apparently forgot that they made plans with me and cancelled on me. They mentioned next time, but I didn’t respond. I’ve been cancelled on so many times throughout my life and I’ve given people chance after chance after chance. They always forget that they made plans with me. It just shows me how unimportant I am to everyone.

I’ve recently cut some people off because I’ve already given them too many chances. With this person though, this is the first time they’ve done this to me. Should I give them another chance if they reach out, or should I be done with them?

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33 Comments

  1. It’s not that I’d give them **X** chances or whatever… I’d just recognize that this is who that person is: someone who is unreliable

    Stop making yourself available to this person; but no need the go out of your way to exclude them.

    Like I still invite unreliables to BBQs and whatnot. If they show then cool, if not I won’t even notice

  2. It depends on the context, really.

    Say we have plans at 2pm. If you text me at 11am and tell me something came up and you can’t make it, then it’s no problem. If 2pm rolls around, and I text you, and get no response until 5 pm, and you dropped the plans we made to do something with someone else, I’m pretty damn annoyed.

    Something the other person may not recognize, in your situation, is how often you’ve had to deal with that kind of thing, and how frustrating it is for you. Tell them. “Hey, what you did happens to me a lot, and it’s getting very frustrating and it makes me not want to make plans with you. I know you only did it one time, but it happens to me so often it really fucks with me. So if we make plans and you have to cancel, please just let me know in advance so I don’t waste my time.”

    It can be difficult to be that forward with someone, but the results are worth it. Either that person vanishes from your life, or they become more aware of how their actions effect you and it stops happening. Either way it’s a win. IMO, anyways,.

  3. Once CAN be enough. If we had plans and you cancel and you make ZERO effort to reschedule or plan something else or even make a comment suggesting we’ll do something later…..bye. I value my time. If they don’t value yours, that’s disrespectful.

    My 2 cents

  4. Many. Some friends are just shit at not over-committing. They’ll say “sure, I’ll be there” to virtually everything. Then on the day the decide what they’re actually going to do. Those are the friends that I’ll invite to a group event. If they show, fine. If not they feel left out and that’s their own problem.

    If I value their friendship then I just balance that character trait (forgetful, unreliable, perpetually tardy). They might not be the best man/maid of honor at your wedding, but they still get an invitation.

  5. If a meeting you made a week ago is important to you, confirm the day before to make sure that something hasn’t come up on their end. Some of the responses here almost sound like people “testing” others to see if they are loyal/committed/etc. Not cool.

    As for how many times is flaking on plans ok, it’s not a number, because relationships aren’t binary – like on or off. It’s more like “The more unreliable you are, the less I invest in our relationship.”

    So if someone flakes on me more than once, I don’t have any anger, no “they’re done” and then shutting them out of my life sort of thing. That’s way too childish. And it takes too much of my mental time for a relationship that clearly isn’t worth too much.

    I see it more that our relationship isn’t that important to them, so I just put more efforts toward my other relationships, and I think of them as acquaintances more than friends.

    But don’t let yourself get upset about any of it. People come and go from your life as you come and go from others’. Focus on finding better friends and being a better friend to them.

    The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

  6. More than one for sure. You might be doing your friend a favor by cutting them off. I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who is so bitter that they won’t even give me a second chance.

  7. Pretty much everyone in my life except two people have been given unlimited chances. Those two exceptions were cut from my life permanently though. one was one of my middle and high school friends and the other was pretty much my best friend from all ages other than as a small child.

  8. I say three times, then it’s off! Then again, you have to give them a warning, like a strike system.. unless it was something horrendous like getting hit by a car or a relative died. Just forgetting might be fixed by using the calendar on his/her phone etc. Try to find solutions, yet have a system and three times seems sufficient.. maybe even reset the system every 1 or 2 years so not to make it too strict.

  9. For me it’s not a chance counter, just minimax. If it’s someone I’ve known for a while and like spending time with, I’ll easily forgive things like cancelled plans etc. If this is the first plan we’ve ever made or I was already awkward around them for other reasons, I might not continue contact.

    If you really enjoy the time you spend with the person when you do hang out, you could just accept the cancels as a flaw in an otherwise likeable personality. If you don’t care as much about them anyway, it’s ok to just give up on them.

  10. Folks get maybe two or three chances to flake on me without a reasonable explanation (better than “I forgot”), then I just don’t invest in them.

    I’ve been in the same spot you have, only with someone I was interested in dating.

    After the second no-call, no show, I told her to never contact me again.

    That was 15 years ago. We talked a few times right after that, because she’s terrible at directions. She kept inviting me to do stuff with her, which was really insulting to me considering where we were and why.

    So, the first couple of times, I ignored that portion of her messages and just replied to the other stuff.

    After a few exchanges and another invite on an outing I had NO faith she’d show up for, I just blocked her everywhere and moved forward in life.

    She tried to add me on Facebook at some point in the last 5 years with a new account, so I blocked her there too.

    I’ll give you a few chances if your life is hectic. If you’re just unreliable, I won’t make room for you in my life.

  11. I wouldn’t give a set amount for each person as each person is different. Was it for a good reason? Is it for someone who you’ve known for a long time? Is it someone you find close to you or just merely an acquaintance? I wouldn’t compare a friend I’ve known for 10+ years missing out 10 times versus the friend I’ve known for 2 years who has missed 4.

  12. A lot of it is contextual. Did they tell you like a week in advance they’d double booked and need to reschedule or was it like the day of? There’s a line you have to judge whether or not it’s been crossed.

    For the most part I will tone down my efforts with unreliable people. They’ll still get cursory invites to group stuff but I’ll more or less stop tryinf with 1-1 stuff.

    Also, if you feel your time has been disrespected, you have the right to tell them that. Say something like “I understand your need to cancel, however I had other things I could have done today if you had told me you couldn’t hang out earlier. I feel like you don’t particularly see my time as valuable or something to be respected. I’ll leave it to you to figure out when you want to do something with me next, and I hope it can work out, because I do actually want to see you.”.

  13. This totally happened to me yesterday. I cut off the person, went shopping and now I feel better. I am done being disappointed over and over again. I want people who respect me as much as I’d respect them if the situation was reversed.

  14. >I was supposed to hang out with someone yesterday, but they apparently forgot that they made plans with me and cancelled on me. They mentioned next time, but I didn’t respond. I’ve been cancelled on so many times throughout my life and I’ve given people chance after chance after chance. They always forget that they made plans with me. It just shows me how unimportant I am to everyone.

    Yeah, you are unimportant. What do you want from us?

  15. I think with the first time, it’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, if it becomes a pattern, then that person is just flaky and not worth investing time and energy into, IMO.

  16. Depends on why.

    I’d ask them why it’s happening and make a conversation out of it, focusing on them and keeping the discussion “about you” to how their being late makes you feel — e.g. “I’m curious about what’s going on when you are late or miss plans we’ve made. Anything going on you want to talk about?”.

    If you’re considering cutting them out anyway, the worst thing that happens is you still cut them out, but now have a good reason for it. More likely, a productive conversation would come from it and you may have an even stronger bond than before. Either way, you’ll have an idea of how to approach the same situation next time.

    Having a friend that genuinely first seeks to understand is very rare.

  17. I don’t have a particular number, but after cutting A LOT of people out of my life, I am generally a lot more cautious with how much time I (attempt to) invest in others.

    If they don’t make much of an effort, or only do when they want something, I’ll just ignore after awhile.

  18. Context is everything. One of my buddies who I probably get along with better than anyone else is flaky, but I don’t think I could cut him out of my life. I could call him up randomly with nothing in mind to talk about and we can easily be on the phone for hours shooting the shit. I just learned to be more passive when it comes to hanging out with him.

  19. That’s not cool. It’s not cool to stand somebody up and I get why you would feel like you’re just not important enough to remember and nobody wants to be around a person who treats them that way.

    I had to reply to this though because it reminded me of this EPIC fight I had with my best friend at the time. We had been best friends for years. We often used to meet in the mornings for coffee before we went to work all day in the same building (different firms).

    One afternoon she rings me wanting to have a drink after work with something REALLY important to tell me. I had just found out I was pregnant and I was still processing the news so I didn’t want to drink and I also didn’t want to meet her for a non-drink because I knew she would take one look at me and figure out something was up. I wasn’t ready to tell her I was pregnant yet.

    So she carries on for a while trying to make me go for a drink but I convince her to meet me for coffee before work the next morning instead. So we agree to meet as soon as our regular cafe opens because she says what she has to tell me is really exciting and she needs lots of time.

    One of the symptoms of my early pregnancy was feeling really tired. Like exhausted. But I hadn’t yet figured that out. I always wake up early, so much so that I never used to set alarms. I can just naturally wake up whenever I need to.

    Except when I’m in the first trimester of pregnancy. I woke the next morning to my phone going off and it is my friend screaming abuse at me for standing her up. She said exactly the same things that you are saying and I totally understand why she and you would draw these conclusions. My friend was saying she was sick of not being important enough for me to have a drink when she needed me last night and now I couldn’t be bothered setting an alarm to meet her at the coffee shop. She was so mad she said she didn’t want me in her life anymore because I treated her like shit.

    In the end I think it was only news of my pregnancy that made her reach out and talk to me again. She was really mad and honestly believed my actions showed I didn’t care about her. That could not have been further from the truth. I loved her. I was so upset by how angry she was with me that my husband was going to call her up and tell her that he was worried the stress our fight was causing would harm my pregnancy. It is possible that some people do genuinely forget or have other things going on and they are really sorry they stood you up. I would only cut them off if they did this repeatedly and didn’t have an explanation. But I remember my friend didn’t seem to understand just how tired I was when I tried to explain it to her. I just think it’s always better to try to work it out before you lose a friendship for good.

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