I don't do much fighting with my friends or family. Over the past decade, I have had about four friend dumpings (frumpings) occur, and all of them involved a friend who was a bit of a flake.
It would be easier to point fingers and play victim here, but I'm not totally ignorant; I know if there is a similar thread tying together several of my failed relationships, well, the common denominator is me.
Flakey friends make me lose my shit.
I read some quote that went something like “The person who is late is usually in a much better mood than the person left waiting for them.” I feel this hard. I like to consider myself a pretty understanding, compassionate person. But when someone flakes out on me consistently, my shit gets sloppier than Nicholas Cage. My anger issues come out, my control issues come out, and I am just not pleasant.
It has gotten to the point that I worry I just can't make friends with people who tend to be flighty. This is sad, because some of the most creative, most inspiring and all around innovative people are the flightiest. Their brains are so full of juicy jam, they can't remember to make it to dinner on time. Or at all.
Everyone double books a Sunday or gets crippling cramps or has an accidental hangover once in a while. That's no biggie. I'm talking about the people who are dependably undependable.
When someone keeps bailing or blowing me off on the reg, I take it to mean they view their time as more important than mine, and I find this seriously disrespectful. Also, it hurts my feelings, man!
And when I feel like I am being disrespected, or have hurt feelings, I get super ragey and will probably talk to the offending party like they are an infant. I'm not proud of that, and I am working on it. I know it's not particularly charming.
After my most recent frumping, I clocked an embarrassing number of hours psychoanalyzing myself in a bathtub while listening to Cat Power, and I have concluded that in addition to feeling disrespected, the reason I am so rigid about people sticking to their word is because I myself am terrified of wasting anyone else's time.
Being late, or failing to do something I said I would do, makes me sweaty and nauseous. So I meet the deadlines I make, and don't make plans if I think I can't stick to them. Because I make sure to follow through on my own word, it frustrates me when others can't follow through on theirs.
Not to say I don't fuck up every now and then! Of course I do. And you can bet that when I do, I rage at myself more than I ever would a friend.
I have this merry best good friend, K, who used to be horribly flakey. Eventually, I began banking every plan I made with her as tentative, and it had a negative impact on our otherwise great relationship. She would bail, I would bitch, and a fight would happen.
But when we weren't snarking, we were totally gooey on each other, and we wanted to work out our issues so we could continue to impress people with our mad Twister skills.
In order to avoid a frumping, we agreed that K would try not to overbook, and I would try not to lose my shit if she has to change a plan at the last minute.
It's working pretty well. She bails less, I bitch less. I asked her how she has been keeping up with her end of the bargain. “I'm back on my meds,” was her response. Her OTHER response was that she sets reminders in her phone, she double checks her calendar before making plans, and she has stopped saying “yes” to things just to be nice.
Also, if she knows she can't follow through on something, she tells me right away instead of anxiously avoiding it and then waiting until the last minute, which usually exacerbates the situation.
I try and keep up with my end by reminding myself not to be such a bitch when friends can't follow through. I even have stupid little mantras I repeat, like “compassion.” Because the bottom line is that I love/respect my friends, and when they flake, it hurts my feelings because it makes me think they don't love/respect me. Then I lash out, which isn't mature, and doesn't reflect my true feelings.
But if you boil it down, the reason I get so angry is because I love them? Maybe? Also, insecurity is at the root, as always.
This has been helping:
Okay, when was the last time you were frumped? What do your friends do that makes you lose your shit? How do you deal? Did you watch that Nicholas Cage video? You really need to. Here it is again.