Dealing with an unreliable friend can be very frustrating and inconvenient and it often leads to ruptures in friendships. When dealing with a friend that always leaves you hanging, it is important to assess if this is a friendship that is worth keeping. If the friendship is valuable to you, it is important to accept your friend's unreliability and try to work around it.
Try to find out why your friend is so unreliable. Your friend might be selfish and irresponsible, or there might be something behind her inconsistency. Take some time to analyze the situation. A common reason for leaving a friend hanging is having a hard time saying "no" and over-scheduling, or perhaps she commits to and then bails on dinner dates because she is struggling financially. If your friend was dependable in the past, she might be going through a difficult situation at home or at work that is keeping her from following through with plans. Many unreliable individuals live a chaotic and disorganized life. Your friend might just have a hard time keeping track of her commitments. If you suspect this is the case, giving her a friendly reminder the day before you plan to meet might solve the problem.
Talk to your friend about how the situation makes you feel, recommends Dr. Irene S. Levine, a professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Tell your friend that you really value her friendship, but that you feel very frustrated and hurt when she leaves you hanging. Share specific examples of how being stood up affected your own plans, such as "I felt upset because I took off a couple of hours from work to meet with you and I was left hanging." Use "I" rather than "you" statements so that your friend does not feel like she is being judged.Give her time to share her own perspective and discuss the obstacles that keep her from following through with her commitments. Create a plan of how your friend can better keep up with plans and notify you with more advance notice when she has something come up.
Don't rely on your friend when making plans. Being stood up by a friend is especially frustrating when it wastes your time or ruins your plans. If you know that you can't count on your friend, don't make your plans dependent on her. Invite her to social gatherings or events, but don't expect her to make it. That way, you will be pleasantly surprised if she does show up, but won't be upset if she doesn't. Include other friends when you make plans together so you can still enjoy your time with other friends if she doesn't show up. Always have a Plan B if your friend agreed to help you or do you a favor.
- If your friend leaves you hanging in important life events, such as your wedding day, or seems to keep up commitments with everyone except you, it might be a sign that she does not value your friendship. Consider distancing yourself from this person and breaking off the relationship.
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