What to do about my friend - always cancelling

(50 Posts)
Alwaysasking Fri 25-Jan-13 09:44:31

I have a friend who is a serial canceller, every time we are supposed to meet there is some 'crisis' and she can't make it - She's run out of money, she's had a family argument that needs sorting, boyfriend's broken his leg etc... She always apologises profusely each time.

We were due to do something this Friday, I already knew it wouldn't happen. Sure enough she sent me a message yesterday saying her cousin has discovered she's pregnant and her partner has been cheating on her so my friend needs to go and look after her on Friday. Her message was the typical, long winded overly apologetic nature.

I didn't reply, but she has just texted me again "Hi did you get my text yesterday? Really sorry, having a hard time atm". So now I feel guilty, am I being harsh not replying?

Now either my friend is the most unlucky person in the world or she is embellishing here. Brief history, met her in uni, we were very close. Left uni 1.5 years ago and she moved home (30 min drive away) but is over here most weeks for her MA. I don't know what to do, WIBU to ignore her text today?

Flisspaps Fri 25-Jan-13 09:48:14

I'd stop making arrangements to see her.

bumperella Fri 25-Jan-13 09:51:06

I've a mate who is also a serial cancel-er and it drives me mental. I figured it was because she didn't really want to see me, so stopped inviting her to stuff - just waited for her to invite me. However, she still does call up to make arrangements to meet, but she still cancels, usually at the last minute. She doesn't just do it to me.
I think some people just are a bit dramatic and slightly lazy. You could speak to her about it or put up with it.

HKat Fri 25-Jan-13 09:53:35

I wouldn't ignore, that's quite passive aggressive. If you're upset she's cancelled on you again then tell her. I guess you need to decide whether you still want her in your life. I would be mighty pissed off in your shoes tbh, it's a massive pain when people do this.

Katisha Fri 25-Jan-13 09:54:04

She knows she does it all the time but is trying to transfer the guilt to you with the "poor me" stuff. If you enable this, it will go on for ever.

Don't feel guilty. You don't have to allow yourself to be mucked about all the time. I woudl disengage to be honest. Things change with friendships.

I do this sometimes. I have mental health problems and it can be unbelievably hard to force myself to go out socially, even when I really want to see someone. I also usually say "Having a hard time" or make up excuses. Is it possible that your friend is going through something similar?

Alwaysasking Fri 25-Jan-13 09:56:27

I never make arrangements with her anymore but as an earlier poster says she still makes arrangements with me, so I don't understand, I just assumed she'd stop bothering too but she still tries. I guess I feel guilty 'confronting' her over it after the latest sob story, what if it's true?

CremeEggThief Fri 25-Jan-13 10:00:41

Just text her back with a non-commital "Oh sorry to hear that. Hope she'll be ok" or similar.

Then make sure you're busy next time she makes arrangements. It's good that you don't try to make plans any more.

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Fri 25-Jan-13 10:02:07

I've had a friend like this - not friends any more.

I always got the impression that she thought making plans and then cancelling was as good as actually meeting. Like she wanted to be mates and feel wanted, but couldn't actually be arsed to make any real effort.

Next time she wants to meet just say, 'Nah, no point. You always cancel'.

Something might click in her mind and she'll realise how rude she's been.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 10:02:34

I would just say 'Let me know next time when you can definitely meet up, and I'll let you know if I'm free' and then leave it at that.

I always think of MH problems when someone does this; but then, I've had times in my life when I too have had borderline depression and being on the receiving end of it has been overwhelming. I appreciate it's hard to motivate oneself when depressed but I think thought should always be given to the other person. It's not a neutral act when you cancel at short notice, and when I've been depressed it's felt very targeted (irrational I know but that's the self-obsession of depression coming through).

I solved this by stopping contact with a couple of women who did this - I felt so very shit when it was done to me that I couldn't cope with seeing them any longer.

However one of those women was one of those social operators: have a person pencilled in and then see what turns up that's more interesting in the short term. I slightly despise her. If your friend is like this then just leave it and don't look back smile

Numberlock Fri 25-Jan-13 10:02:58

Funny how all this 'crises' only happen when you're supposed to be going out... She sounds like someone who thrives on drama and always having a project or person to rescue.

I would just fade out of each other's lives and accept that the friendship was fun whilst you were both at uni but some friendships don't go the course after that ends.

Is it normally you that asks her if she'd like to do something? It could be that she justs says yes when put on the spot despite wanting to say no. Or perhaps she has a mental health issue that makes it difficult for her to go out/face the day/interact with people sometimes. Do you know if she's actually off doing something else when she cancels on you?

The sensible thing would be to stop making plans with her and if she notices then you should be honest with her and gently tell her how let down you feel. This doesn't need to be the end of the friendship but clearly some changes are needed.

FruOla Fri 25-Jan-13 10:04:44

I don't think you need to confront her over the latest sob story. Just text back a brief "yes I did get your text" and leave it at that.

The next time she tries to make an arrangement with you, would probably be the time to say "what's the point? You're always cancelling on me."

Actually, I'd probably be too much of a wimp to do that blush grin, but if you don't want to be confrontational just find an excuse not to meet her.

(X-posted!!!!)

awaywego1 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:06:19

I cancel a lot. I know it's shit but quite often I can't face people, don't feel I have anything to offer, feel ill. Maybe she does have a hard life or maybe some of it is excuses for the above.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 25-Jan-13 10:07:28

You make a very good point there Stephanie.

Op, I would reply "yes, I did get your message and sorry you are having yet another drama in your life that means you need to cancel me again".

Then forget her.

But I am 'ard, me.

Alwaysasking Fri 25-Jan-13 10:08:26

Nope it is always her asking me nowadays. Her latest test read "Hey did you get my message yesterday :/ Having a hard time atm. Hope you're okay".

So maybe I should say "Sorry you're having a bad time hope you're okay"? And when she tries to make plans in future just say I'm busy? I'm so sad about it, we were so close.

I don't think she has mental health issues, she seems to go out a lot with her friends at 'home'. I'm wondering if she just can't be arsed driving here, although as I said she is here usually once a week anyway with her MA.

Katisha Fri 25-Jan-13 10:10:29

Don't pander. Just say yes got your text thanks.

And mentally start to disengage now, because yes, I think this friendship is moving on and away. Probably through logistics. It happens.

Alwaysasking Fri 25-Jan-13 10:10:46

Oh and I'm not confrontational at all... I guess I am quite passive aggressive shock. And I'm concerned about being 'harsh' with her incase all her excuses are true... But I always find it hard to see the bad in people grin

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Fri 25-Jan-13 10:19:30

I would do as CremeEgg suggests; a non commital text and then make no further plans to meet up with her. There is no point, you know she's going to cancel and every time she does it you will feel even more pissed off and annoyed.

HighJinx Fri 25-Jan-13 10:23:52

If you're upset about it then I think you should tell her.

If you feel that she may genuinely be having a hard time then just text back with a brief acknowledgement that you got her text for now. But when she tries to make plans in the future tell her how her last minute cancellations make you feel.

Whether you then give her another chance is up to you but I do think that you should tell her how her actions have made you feel rather than just saying "I'm busy" if she calls again.

HecateWhoopass Fri 25-Jan-13 10:26:48

I'd just text "yes."

If someone comes up with a wide variety of excuses there does come a point where you just stop believing them.

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 10:30:21

one of those social operators: have a person pencilled in and then see what turns up that's more interesting in the short term.

I suspect my friend is like this. SHE keeps inviting me over for a playdate then cancelling the night before.

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 10:35:35

People like that have no qualms, I think that's what makes me dislike them more than the actual act of cancelling. They see no problem with messing people about for their own reasons.

I had a friend who continually did this. Part of the problem is she works freelance, but even so, if it happens all the time, you just get fed up, especially when you know they make time for other things. In the end I called her out on it and she apologised profusely, agreed I had been hard done by, that I was a very valued friend she didn't want to lose and would do all she could to make it up to me.

I said I was not prepared to make plans any more but if she discovered she had a free night and wanted to do something she could ring up and see if I was free too. It happened once (I wasn't free) and I've seen her twice since then, both fleetingly at other events. She tried to arrange something once and she cancelled due to double booking.

We occasionally exchange texts and emails but that's it as far as I am concerned. Incredibly, I got a present and a card at Xmas and the card said "We really must see more of each other in 2013" but I'm not going to bother. I value my friends hugely but I value those that value time with me most.

sudaname Fri 25-Jan-13 10:46:00

l think to just ignore her text is a bit PA tbh. l would answer but as others have said l would just keep saying youre busy in future. Eventually you never know, she might realise she is in danger of losing your friendship completely as youre not prepared to be kept dangling on the off chance of actually meeting one day (presuming its not all genuine) and may pull her socks up on the reliabilty front.

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