5+ Experts Reveal Best Strategies on How To Deal With a Flaky Guy
““There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
~ John Lennon
The urban dictionary defines “flaky” as “a person who is very unreliable. They commit to do things but rarely follow through. They will seem sincere when they make a promise. And perhaps they honestly believe they can deliver. Trusting a flake will only cause you frustration and heartache when they frequently let you down.”
Does his flakiness mean that he is not interested or is it part of his personality?
If his personality is such that he is just unreliable, you might want to save yourself the heartache. If he is habitually flaky and this is part of his personality, hang on for the ride because if it annoys you now, it will definitely annoy you later in the relationship. If he has always been like this, it is doubtful he will change. So don’t go into a relationship with a flaky guy expecting that you are going to fix, rescue or change him.
It is difficult to deal with a flaky guy by the nature of what he is, which is unreliable. If you are willing to continue the relationship and explore whether his “flakiness” is part of his personality or situational, you will need patience. If he is conflict avoidant and wants to spare himself an uncomfortable situation, he might flake out hoping that you get the hint. If this is his communication style, it will be a frustrating relationship.
Assess the situation so that you don’t waste your time.
If he is flaking out because he is not interested, it is best to cut your losses and move on. If he behaves like this now, it will only get worse until you get the hint and stop coming around. In this case he might not be able be direct and simply tell you that he is not interested and so he flakes out to avoid having to tell you to your face.
If you stop coming around and he attempts to reconnect with you every time he flakes out, you need to set limits. There is only so much you should tolerate and then it is time to move on. If he is narcissistic, he might play with you because he likes the attention but has no real interest in committing to a relationship. If you move on, don’t respond to his attempts to reconnect and get sucked back. It is a waste of time and energy.
Don’t play the guessing game.
He might be in a situation where he is a co-parent and still dealing with his ex. Maybe he is just not at a place where he is able to commit but he is still interested. His life might be in flux and he has other things going on that makes him unable to follow-through. Bring up his behavior and observe how he responds. Listen to what he is really saying. Don’t sugarcoat the situation.
If he is habitually flaky and unreliable, be direct and hold him accountable. How does he address your concerns about his unreliability? Does he acknowledge his behavior and make an effort to work on it? Does he take responsibility and show you through his actions that he is working on it? If he blows you off and dismisses your concerns, this is huge red flag. If he is telling you what you want to hear, but is not following through with actions, it is time to move on.
Set limits and give yourself permission to move on and cut your losses
It is okay to give him some time to work on his issues, but don’t let him off the hook by allowing him give you excuse after excuse. Ask yourself some hard questions. Is he immature? Does he feel entitled to be late or flake out because he thinks he is special? Does he commit to something and then back out at the last minute or is he consistently late? If he is late as a habit, this means that he does not respect your time. Remember, it is not your job to fix or rescue him.
Maybe you really like him and think he will change. Don’t go into a relationship with the expectation that he will change an aspect of himself that has always been a part of his personality. You can try, but you will end up frustrated and disappointed. Recognize that you have something to offer someone who will appreciate you and who you are. Don’t settle. You deserve to find someone who will value what you bring to a relationship.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
You’ve been on a couple of dates and you assume it went well.
You felt you were attracted to each other and the conversation seemed to flow. Why now is he not calling or committing to the next date? Perhaps he no shows or asks you out on short notice leaving you wondering and waiting for the next call. You must get clear on what you are willing to accept, but remember he is showing you his best behavior in the beginning of dating or a relationship.
1. Set clear boundaries from the beginning
Decide what you want and stick to it. Be specific on your availability if he asks when he can see you again. Do not give options. Too many options allow him the opportunity to have to get back to you. For example, “I am available on Friday evening.” If it is a last-minute invitation, you are unavailable.
2. Communicate clearly
Be confident in your speech. Remember you have options and that you want someone who is truly into you. Be assertive and confident when you are expressing your wants and needs. Remember you teach people how to treat you.
Don’t waste your time
Remember you and your time are valuable. Don’t waste it chasing after or waiting for someone who isn’t showing interest in you. He is either interested or he is not. Do not allow yourself to wait around wishing and hoping for a call. If it is last minute, he had nothing better to do. If he is truly interested, he will make sure that he is the first to get his bid in to see you. Either he is in or out.
3. Actions speak louder than words
Does he do what he says he says he will do? Call when he says he will? Pay attention to the signals the red flags.
4. Don’t make excuses for his bad behavior
Examine why you are willing to settle for this unreliable behavior. His cancelations, no shows and inability to commit to plans with you is not honoring of you or your time. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. The unreliable behavior is disrespectful and should not be tolerated.
Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC - www.lisaangelini.com
So you found a guy that you are interested in and you have discovered he is a bit flaky. Now what?
I think it is important to know why he is flaky. This could be a recipe for disaster if you don't understand why he is being flaky or it could just be something so very simple that you both will laugh at in the future.
My advice? I would ask these three questions.
1. Does he have a lot on his mind in regards to making changes in his life?
For instance, is he hyper focused on his work/employment and it comes across as flaky?
Does he have a big deadline to meet? Is he vying for a position in his company that offers more pay and benefits? Is he not meeting the needs of his employer and at risk of losing his job?
There could be many reasons he is acting flaky that is simply related to his job.
Could it be he is wanting to branch out and become an entrepreneur? Are his thoughts locked up in how he could break free from the corporate world?
Is he considering a move to a different part of the city? Downsizing? Upsizing? Moving to a new city and now he has a new love interest in his life, you, and he is contemplating what to do?
2. Is he trying to hide something?
Could it be that he has something he is not being truthful about and it is coming across as flaky? I don't like to think the worst of people, but sometimes it does happen that someone is hiding something, like a wife or another relationship, and it could come across as flaky.
Could it be that he lacks confidence in himself with relationships and as he is trying to hide the feelings of inadequacy and that looks like flakiness?
Is he so taken with you that he just can't think straight?
Not all flakiness is due to just being a flaky person. It can be just the sheer pressure of doing it right because he is so interested in you. It can be a time in his life when he is ready for a change in living arrangements, employment, unleveling friends, then you come along and now his heart is involved with feeling something special. It could be sheer overload of life itself.
And then, it could just be the dreaded flakiness of his personality.
Now, the final question,
3. Is this just his personality?
Is he just a flaky guy? Is it just the way he operates? Is his whole family flaky?
It could be it is just the way this guy is and if that is the case, then the question to ask is "how is this impacting me personally?" If you are with the guy that you are really interested in, yet his flakiness is making you crazy, that is something to take heed of immediately. If you are noticing that you are getting tense, upset easily with him or others, things that never bothered you before are beginning to get on your nerves now, your own nervous system is telling you that this is not what you want to be dealing with.
If that flakiness isn't related to just being non present to the moment because he has other stuff on his mind, you may want to think twice. Flakiness can put you in a position of being the "mom" and having to take care of every thing, every detail. You may find yourself having to keep him on track while managing every other aspect of your life.
It could also be endearing. It is just a little quirk that you find lovable? Does it add to his personality? Is the thing that was so attractive you to him.
It is so very individual, whether that flakiness is adorable or irritating and the best way to know is checking in with your own physical experience when you are with him or having to deal with the flakiness. Trust your body and if it is tight and constricting, that is a very definite negative response to a situation.
The only way you are going to know for sure what the flakiness is all about is by digging in and asking the hard questions and really paying attention.
You don't want to write off a good man that is just nervous or temporarily overwhelmed and it is coming across as flakiness. On the other hand, you don't want to be school monitor and having to keep him on track.
Get in there and discover what is really going on with him and make your decision from there!
Nada Hogan L.Ac, Dipl.Om, M.Om - www.nadahogan.com
Some women believe all guys are flaky. They don’t remember what you say, and they forget or put off doing things you ask for. I think it’s very important for us women to remember that guys really are on a different wavelength. That is, they are often thinking and planning in their own minds about entirely different things than we are.
So, first get his attention.
Too often, we just launch right into what we want to talk about or ask him to do something when we’re both involved in other activities. You’re bathing the baby, and he’s in another room working on a project, and you call out, “Hey, can you go get more diapers?” He yells back, “Sure.” You think there will be diapers when you are ready to put the baby down for a sleep, but he’s still working on his project. After all, you didn’t say exactly when you needed them, nor did he probably even register your request, because his mind was on his project.
When a guy is immersed in an activity, you’ll need to get his full attention before what you say will register. Be sure to make eye contact, because If he’s still reading, playing a game on his phone, or watching TV, what you say will never register.
The next step is to get him involved in the conversation.
Start with, “Can I ask you something?” Much better opening than “I’d like to talk with you about something,” which sends alarm bells through most guys.
Phrase as much of your conversation in the form of questions. It will get him more involved responding, and it appeals to his core desire to be helpful to you. (Note: If he doesn’t have a core desire to help you, why are you even in the relationship?)
Ask, don’t tell.
Nobody likes being told what to do. So, ask if he has the time and if he’s willing to do what you’re asking. Also, check out if he even knows HOW to do what you’re asking or if he needs anything from you to help in the process.
Get a commitment.
It isn’t just about whether he CAN do what you’re asking, but also whether he’s WILLING to do it. If you’re sensing a reluctance on his part, don’t ignore that. Ask him more about whether he’s comfortable or willing to actually do what you’re asking.
Get a timeline set up.
Ask when he’ll be able to do what he’s said he’ll do. “Next week sometime,” isn’t clear nor accountable. In fact, it’s better to get a commitment for a time the task or event will be accomplished. “Can you have it done by Friday,” makes your request clear and involves a more specific commitment.
You’ve made a request, you’ve gotten a commitment, and then nothing happens. Don’t just ignore the situation, and certainly don’t launch into an angry attack. It works really well to take the attitude of curiosity, but it has to be done without rancor or sarcasm. Inquire about what didn’t work, and offer to help find a solution. And, actually it will be most helpful if HE comes up with the solution. At this point, your conversation will give you clues about what isn’t working in your communication process.
Hostility and hurt feelings.
If you notice hostility in yourself or in him, or you feel a sense of buried anger or frustration or hopelessness in this process, it’s time to get some professional help. These feelings indicate some unresolved issues between the two of you which will only pop up again and again until they’re solved.
When either of you is exhibiting passive aggressive behaviors (i.e. purposefully tricking or lying to cover up your negative feelings), then this relationship is in deep trouble. If you’ve been using the steps that I’ve outlined here, and your partner is still not following through or you get a strong feeling he’s angry or baiting you, then you need to ask yourself and him whether this is a relationship either one of you wants to end.
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com
What happens when you are dating a flaky guy?
A guy who is flaky may not be responsible, caring, committed, a good communicator, reliable, be settled in his career, sensitive, emotionally available and compassionate because he is not attuned to what you want and what you need.
How did you wind up with someone like that?
Does he sometimes show kindness, humor, charm and tenderness? Of course he does, and that is what “sucked you in”.
But here you are dating a guy who flakes out. You may not hear from him in a while, or he doesn’t answer your texts right away and he will probably get away with it for as long as he can. And when you finally say something, he’ll then text you something endearing and your interest in him is renewed.
The only way you’ll ever be treated the way you want is if you let him know this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
Let him know your self-worth is important and that you deserve to be treated fairly and with care. That if you are not a significant part of his life, then you are not interested in being in this relationship.
You have to let go of any expectations about how things will turn out.
Rather than expecting him to change for you, you are really exercising you right to be treated well – a lesson that should carry you through all your relationships. Don’t allow him to come and go into your life as he pleases, but rather exert your power to respect yourself and honor your full integrity.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Dating under the best of circumstances is hard enough. Trying to date a “flaky guy” seems like an exercise in futility.
What is a “flaky guy” and will he change?
First of all, don’t pursue dating someone with the expectations that they will change. A leopard does not change its spots. You cannot change someone’s essential nature. Trying to do so will leave you frustrated and disappointed.
When I hear the word “flaky” I think of someone who is irresponsible, undependable, untrustworthy, immature and self-centered. Does this sound like fun? Is he relationship material?
If this sounds like someone you are dating, the question to ask is not how to deal with him, but why are you trying to date this person?
This sounds like an issue related to your own lack of healthy self-esteem and self-worth. I would spend your time exploring this.
Get a therapist, relationship coach or a good trusted friend and discuss your dating history and how this relates to your early experiences with men. Explore your beliefs about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
I have had clients tell me over the years that they have no idea what a healthy marriage is because they have never seen one.
This makes it very hard to know how to choose a healthy partner and develop a loving bond.
If this describes you, it may be necessary to work with a professional to re-pattern your vision of what is possible. You may need to discuss your dating experiences with this professional to get feedback on what is healthy and what is dysfunctional. This will be time and money well spent if it prevents you from wasting precious energy on someone who will ultimately let you down.
If you see yourself repeating patterns of dating unavailable men or men who exhibit some kind of toxic behavior such as addictions, dishonesty or chronic irresponsibility; please know you deserve better.
Healthy love partners are available but they will gravitate towards someone who is healthy in her own right.
The best way to deal with a “flaky” man is to grow beyond the belief that this is worth your time and energy on any level.
As you heal yourself and your inner sense of deservability, you will magnetize a higher quality man who can match your deeper needs, wants and desires. It is from here that a healthy relationship can grow and flourish.
Nancy Harris, LCSW, LICSW - www.nancyharriscoaching.com
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