Let’s flake on flaking

Jan. 25, 2018, 1:00 a.m.

There are countless memes to be found in every corner of the internet about canceled plans. About one-third of them are from the perspective of the person responsible for canceling — a twenty-five year old using their mom as an excuse. Some of them are from the perspective of those who are canceled on yet incredibly glad to not have to leave their beds. The remaining memes, and the smallest portion of them, come from the people like me — excited and eagerly anticipating said plans, only to be disappointed in the end, time and time again.

Before I started school here, I was so excited for the freedom of college. Back in high school, my friends and I would carefully plan things well beforehand. At least in my house, I had to give my mom some sort of advanced notice if I wanted to go out. But gaining the same freedom I was itching for also meant that everyone else was gaining freedom as well, and apparently, with great freedom comes little accountability. This entire campus is basically a breeding ground for flakiness.

Now, of course, I know that no one is required to follow through with plans that they’ve made, regardless of the scale. I’ve experienced everything, from fun off-campus dinners being reduced to boring dining-hall meals much to my dismay (and with nothing but the temporary laziness of my friends to blame), to plans for Spring Break being thrown out the window right in front of my eyes. Each time the plan is changed for the worse or completely canceled altogether, a little piece of my heart breaks off.

But why is it such a big deal to me? Why can’t I just get over it?

Well, for one, this isn’t an occasional occurrence. It seems like some sort of plan is canceled at least once a week. You may be thinking that maybe my friends just don’t like me, but I think the problem spreads wider than just the people around me. There was a meme going around Twitter where students were basically describing their school’s student body in 240 characters or less, and apparently Stanford students “shotgun Soylents and flake on plans,” at least frequently enough for the tweet to earn around 300 likes.

And the flakiness isn’t limited to plans for hanging out either. This quarter alone, I’ve had two friends ditch me in classes that they had convinced me to take with them. I even tried to meet someone to buy a textbook once and was stood up outside of Tresidder. As we all know, Stanford students possess a certain “intellectual vitality,” and along with this, I suppose, flaky tendencies.

Honestly, it just seems like such an avoidable problem. I’m not talking about the times where plans are canceled because of a legitimate excuse. We’re all adults, or at least trying to be, so it’s understandable that sometimes things come up. But if you’re someone who finds yourself consistently canceling on your friends, instead of getting their hopes up only to have them come crashing down when the actual time comes, perhaps just stop making plans that you know you’re not that excited about in the first place. This alone would probably cut the frequency of flaking in half.

Next time you’re canceling plans, think about how it feels for those of us who hate the disappointment and actually look forward to all plans that are made. I challenge you to step into the shoes of the other person. I mean, you may as well. You canceled on them. They’ve already had to take their shoes off anyway.


Contact Kassidy Kelley at kckelley ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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