How to flake without appearing flaky

Jan. 18, 2019, 2:00 a.m.

Growing up with strict parents has plenty of drawbacks, let me tell you. I could never just shout up the stairs, “Be back in a couple hours!” and go on my way. Any kind of outing required a full interrogation until my mom knew the answers to who, what, when, where and why. However, there is one undeniable benefit to having parents whose most commonly used phrases include “no” and “absolutely not”: They can always be your scapegoat.

We’ve all been there when you’ve made plans with someone and then last minute realize you’re going to have to cancel. Or maybe you just aren’t in the mood to go. Nobody wants to seem flaky, so in the past, my parents were always my fallback. “My mom won’t let me” was nonnegotiable, unsurprising and took all the blame off my shoulders. Now that I don’t live at home anymore, this response is obviously quite useless. Here are five ways to flake without looking flaky now that “my parents said no” is no longer a valid excuse.  

1. Work

We go to Stanford, so by definition, we have a ton of work. Especially now that it’s winter quarter and the “cold” means more and more time spend indoors, “I’m at the library” will rarely be questioned.

2. Being sick

Again, especially during the winter, people are on high alert to avoid getting sick. Saying “I’m feeling pretty sick” will likely scare most people away. Surviving the freshman plague was hard enough.

3. Doing laundry

It probably takes me at least three hours to do my laundry every single time. I wait until my laundry basket is nearly exploding before making the trek all the way to the laundry room. Between carrying multiple loads, having to flip each load and waiting a ridiculous amount of time for the dryers to take my clothes from soaking wet to disappointingly damp, laundry is an all-night ordeal.

4. Helping a friend

“I promised I’d drive Sara to the airport!” or “I promised Sam I’d help him loft his bed!” will both do the trick. It doesn’t really matter what the favor is, as long as it’s believable and something mundane enough, whoever you’re flaking on won’t want to help, too.

5. Sleep

My roommate assured me that’s she’s used this excuse several times herself. Just wait until after the time of whatever you don’t want to do has passed, and text whoever invited you, “Sorry, I was sleeping.” No one can argue with that! “I’m just really tired” works equally well, depending on the context. If you can fake a yawn, even better.

Of course, alternatively, you could also just tell the truth and own up to your flakiness, but with these excuses, there’s no need for that.



Contact Elizabeth Dunn at eldunn14 ‘at’    


Login or create an account

Apply to The Daily’s High School Winter Program

Applications Due Soon