What to do about my friend - always cancelling

(50 Posts)
Alwaysasking Fri 25-Jan-13 09:44:31

I have a friend who is a serial canceller, every time we are supposed to meet there is some 'crisis' and she can't make it - She's run out of money, she's had a family argument that needs sorting, boyfriend's broken his leg etc... She always apologises profusely each time.

We were due to do something this Friday, I already knew it wouldn't happen. Sure enough she sent me a message yesterday saying her cousin has discovered she's pregnant and her partner has been cheating on her so my friend needs to go and look after her on Friday. Her message was the typical, long winded overly apologetic nature.

I didn't reply, but she has just texted me again "Hi did you get my text yesterday? Really sorry, having a hard time atm". So now I feel guilty, am I being harsh not replying?

Now either my friend is the most unlucky person in the world or she is embellishing here. Brief history, met her in uni, we were very close. Left uni 1.5 years ago and she moved home (30 min drive away) but is over here most weeks for her MA. I don't know what to do, WIBU to ignore her text today?

sudaname Fri 25-Jan-13 10:48:51

But thinking about it - to keep saying youre busy when youre not is also PA hmm.
So really you should talk to her about it - but that would be a very difficult conversation admittedly. how do you politely say to someone - 'l actually think youre bullshitting a lot of the time' confused.

HecateWhoopass Fri 25-Jan-13 10:49:26

Was just about to say that, sudaname grin

sudaname Fri 25-Jan-13 10:53:54

grin @ Hecate.

i do that in RL too, think l have the perfect solution all sussed, then just when it's too late to divert, l notice the fatal flaw grin.

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Fri 25-Jan-13 10:54:23

I do think that passive aggressive is often the best, drama-free, confrontation-free way to end a friendship with someone. It can be really difficult to confront someone on their behaviour and people often take confrontation badly.

Presumably, if the OP's friend is always as busy as she makes out, she will barely notice the OP gently dropping her and declining invitations.

mrsshackleton Fri 25-Jan-13 10:58:00

I agree just text "yes". I had a friend like this, I stopped arranging dates with her - like you have, and when she arranged dates I said yes, if free, but 100 per cent expected her to cancel, which she almost always did. We now haven't seen each other for well over a year, her mother died recently and I called with condolences but left it at that. People who do this aren't worth the stress, others go through hard times and still manage to treat you respectfully.

Alwaysasking Fri 25-Jan-13 11:14:29

I was particularly angry as my ex is having ds this weekend (he only has him 1 weekend a month), but I didn't make other plans for tonight just incase she did stick to plans. No I'm childfree and at a loose end.

I replied saying "Yes I did, hope you're ok". And she replied saying "Kinda :/". Do I ignore?

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 11:16:05

You don't have to respond - she's not asking for a response. It's not the same as ignoring smile

Katisha Fri 25-Jan-13 11:17:13

Yes ignore. She is fishing for sympathy and trying to guilt trip you. Cos she knows it works.
She is not going to put "yes I'm fine now" is she because that wouldn't justify yet another cancelling.
Ignore for sure.

lastSplash Fri 25-Jan-13 11:17:32

I would text saying "yes, fine, don't worry" and just be completely casual and non-committal with her from now on. Be clear to yourself that your close friendship has moved on, but there is nothing to gain by burning your bridges with her or having a confrontation.

If she really insists on making an arrangement in future, only agree to meet her somewhere you would be going along to anyway (e.g. a party, pub, restaurant or whatever) and make sure you invite others also, so you won't be changing your plans if she cancels, or be relying on her.

Taffeta Fri 25-Jan-13 11:19:00

I'd speak to her about it. FFS you ae both adults. Tell her how it makes you feel and see what she can come up with to alleviate it. Suggest you meet up less often but when you do she ring fences it.

Taffeta Fri 25-Jan-13 11:21:40

It's not a difficult conversation if you do it right. State the facts. Mention the last time and the time before that it happened, tell her how you felt each time. Tell her you don't like feeling like this. She can't dispute or argue with facts or your feelings, you aren't making judgements.

Then ask her what she thinks. Then work on solutions together.

lastSplash Fri 25-Jan-13 11:23:25

Not too late to make plans with someone else for tonight OP! Go see something great at the cinema if no-one's free, or take a bottle round to a friend's house if they're all stuck at home because of kids...

idococktailshedoesbeer Fri 25-Jan-13 11:25:14

My DSis was like this. She'd make a plan, then get a better offer or have some crisis and cancel at least half the time. So I stopped leaving nights free for her. If I still happened to be free when she was then great. She's had to get used to me cancelling as much as her.

canoodle Fri 25-Jan-13 11:25:58

I do exactly what lastsplash suggests. My friend did this all the time - we live in different cities so it is a faff to meet up tbh. Last time she asked me to make an arrangement (always way in advance) I just said we shouldn't bother as we always end up cancelling for one reason or another, and it would be better to do things spontaneously. She was fine with that. We still hardly ever see each other but I have known her 20 years and it isn't worth falling out over.

StrawberryMojito Fri 25-Jan-13 11:29:58

Don't reply, leave it for now. Let her make the next arrangement. I don't think that passive aggressive is always a bad way to go. You don't want to fall out but don't want to pander to her either. I have a friend like this, she's a nice person but fairly useless at keeping commitments, it's not personal and she's not going to change. You either accept it or just gradually lose touch.

My DB and his family are like this, and it does annoy me. But there are mental health issues (his wife has BP and clearly can't face people on occasions).

They live nearby, but we don't see much of them which is a shame. We are always happy to see them, and have a vague open invitation extended to them, but whenever we invite them, there is a last minute no, or a series of reasons why they can't make it....

I don't know what the answer is, as I feel guilty for not inviting them, but if I do invite them, it puts pressure on. Rather sad really.

If it was a "friend" I would lesson contact, and just text back "Ok then. See you soon. x" But make no effort to do so.

I would text back 'Yes I did. No worries though, I'd already made other plans' and just leave it at that.
No sympathy bit going on, base it on you rather than her!!
I also like what others have said about re-booking. Just say, no point, you always cancel on me.
I have a 'friend' like this but always plan things in a group so when she cancels it makes no difference to our plans as it's just her that is missing and we are all well used to it by now.

CruCru Fri 25-Jan-13 13:59:19

Perhaps (if you still like her) only arrange to meet her with other people? If she cancels you still keep your plans and if she doesn't then you also get to see her (although it may mean that she hasn't cancelled because she values a group meet up more / minds looking like a cancelling twat in front of other people).

LadyMcSplodge Fri 25-Jan-13 14:05:50

I second CruCru's suggestion. I have a friend that is very unreliable, both in terms of cancelling and in terms of being very very late. So now I only make plans with her if others are involved too. Then it doesn't matter whether she turns up or not or if she is late

givemeaclue Fri 25-Jan-13 14:06:29

You don't need to text her back. It's attention seeking behaviour, she sounds like she enjoys all the drama. It's not even her issue this time its her cousin but she says she is having a hard time? Let her get on with it

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 25-Jan-13 14:10:43

Yes ignore her text and as its a serial thing stop making plans to meet her.

ENormaSnob Fri 25-Jan-13 14:27:23

I would fuck her off tbh.

My ex friend continuously did this and I just don't speak to her anymore. She repeatedly did similar to your friend and the last time I replied "ffs, you take the piss"

Life's too short and my time is valuable.

HecateWhoopass Sat 26-Jan-13 10:57:43

oh god. Is she doing that annoying attention seeking thing of trying to make you drag it out of her?

I hate that.

Anyone who does the lone sad face or the :sigh: or spouts some cryptic crap with the clear intention of having you beg them to please tell you what's wrong gets radio silence from me.

If you've got a problem and you want a listening ear - spit it the hell out or bugger off. Don't piss about with sighs and sad faces and expect me to plead to please be allowed to know what's up.

Xmasbaby11 Sat 26-Jan-13 11:01:17

It depends how much you actually value her as a friend. If you want to remain friends, try to be more sympathetic. Maybe it's better to make plans at short notice as they will be more likely to happen.

JuliaSqueezer Sat 26-Jan-13 12:53:54

I have two friends who do this and what pisses me off the most is the "Hope you're okay?" bit at the end of the text/ email. Funny that they don't put that in 'normal' texts but only ever when they have been flaky/ told lies/ messed me about. It's almost like an admission of guilt.

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