She’s a flake. Why does it upset me so much?

punckrok asks:

I’ve been seeing this girl that I met from OkCupid for at least a month now… and we’ve hung out maybe 6 or 7 times if I had to guess. Things were seemingly going really well, other than the fact that she was slightly flaky and canceled our plans often. She would always suggest rescheduling so I didn’t really give her a hard time about it though. Last Saturday, she canceled our plans because of pending rain (which isn’t a great reason IMO, but whatever) but we were supposed to hang out in the park on Monday. She said she would play in my softball game and bring a couple girlfriends too since my team needed extra girls.

So Sunday night, she asked me if she could invite someone else since the girls couldn’t come. And I told her that we had plenty of guys, if that’s what she was asking. And I also asked her “Isn’t that kind of weird to ask me if you can invite another guy. Lol”. Then she didn’t respond the rest of the night. And she didn’t respond to anything on Monday. And I haven’t heard from her today either. Did what I said really give her a reason to disappear and ignore me? I felt like we had built up a level of trust, and I’m really surprised she would do something like this.

Is it normal to be pretty upset about this? Any ideas what could be going on here? Any perspective would help…

Demetrius says:

Punckrok, have you ever heard of the fable called The Scorpion and The Frog? It’s the first thing that I thought of when I read your story.  Assuming you and my readers have not read it, here it is (don’t worry, it’s short,  emphasis is mine):

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

 

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

 

Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

 

You’re probably wondering why I brought up this fable and I’ll tell you why. I wanted to talk to you about the nature of people, hope, indifference, the roles that each play in dating and wrap it all up in a neat little bow at the end if you’ll just bear with me.

People show you who they are pretty early on when you start dating them, whether you realize it or not. Yes, people can show you their best version of themselves, but the real version is always right there in front of you. Whether you choose to accept it or not is up to you. If you realized early on that this girl was flaky, how did you think things would progress in your relationship? In what possible world would she come through when you need her if she’s flaky? Her nature is her nature, and expecting anything more from her isn’t going to make her give you more. It will always lead to disappointment.

Part of the reason we date people who are flaky, or have any other negative personality traits is hope. We hope that their better nature is worth it, or that they’ll stop doing certain things that we don’t like. In the end, a flake will be a flake, and a scorpion will sting you if given the opportunity. The fact that you were 6 or 7 dates into seeing her doesn’t change who she is, which you already knew, and hoping that she wouldn’t be flaky wasn’t going to stop her from being flaky.

Finally, let’s talk about Indifference. If you’re a new reader you probably don’t get why I call it the “Tao of Indifference”, so I’ll tell you why. I’m all about being indifferent about things that don’t matter, but more importantly and more applicable to your situation, I’m indifferent about people who treat me with indifference. One of the things that I am indifferent about is flaky people. I don’t care if someone is flaky or if they flake out on me, but that also means that I don’t give them any sort of thought at all. Should you be upset by the fact that the girl you were dating was flaky? No. Will that make you a doormat? No. If someone is habitually flaky with you, they’re telling you to not take them seriously. If you choose to take them seriously knowing that they are unreliable and give them your time and energy, you have no one to blame but yourself when that trust and energy is wasted on them. To put it plainly, if someone you are dating treats you indifferently, you need to treat them indifferently. If she was flaky, why did you think she’d be anything other than flaky toward you? That doesn’t mean to just let people treat you poorly, it means to not put your faith in someone who isn’t worth it.

Yes it’s normal to be upset by people going back on their word, but after 6 dates and constant flaking, you should have known that she’d flake out on you. You’re upset because of your expectations, which this woman clearly did not deserve. What’s going on in is simple, she doesn’t take you seriously or doesn’t consider you to be someone she needs to give any consideration to. Either way, don’t dwell on her flakiness, drop her, and move on. Don’t be the frog that carries the scorpion across a stream.

Learn to recognize a person’s nature and avoid getting stung in the future.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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