MPF: Marginal Propensity to Flake

I am sorry, there is no simple formula to predict how likely your friends are to flake.

Like an unfinished research article your professor is rushing you to publish, there is still much work to be done on how to adequately predict the propensity to flake. There are quite a few variables at play here, and I am still weighing their impact on flakilihood.

Most of my observations are based on the past five years of living in San Francisco, a place where people are as flaky as a kouign amann from b. Patisserie.

Sidenote: If you haven’t had a kouign amann from b. Patisserie, you haven’t cried real tears, but that’s for a future post – a love poem.

The predictors I will discuss below have been determined to have the most impact.

AGE

While there are a few exceptions, if someone is between the ages of 22-34, they’re more likely to flake. This is not because Millennials are selfish. This has to do with mobility.

As we grow older, the radius we roam expands. As children, our radius is dictated by our parents. As we leave our parents’ care and go on to college, the radius expands. There is not just an expansion, but a shift of the center of the circle. It becomes centered on this institution of indentured servitude (college).

By the time one has graduated college, and begun their life, their roam radius has expanded substantially. Armed with disposable income and acting as the captains of their destiny, they find themselves in unexpected places at unexpected times.

As they become older, they start families and/or settle into routines. Obligations shift the center of the circle and the roam radius shrinks.

After this point, as you age you becoming increasingly immobile. If you want someone who is always down to hang, try your senile grandpa in assisted living. While you can’t be assured that he won’t flake on you mentally, you won’t get a text from him reading, “UGH, sorry crazy day – rain check?”

HOW THEY MAKE PLANS

You know that friend that will text you and ask if you want to have dinner in two hours? He sent that text to four other people.

Not to say that those who make spur of the moment plans tend to flake more. Those who regularly make plans in that manner are more likely to flake, because EVERYTHING is tentative.

Then there are those who make plans they can keep. Your plans have become part of their schedule, and they will undertake the necessary preparations to make sure they can honor them.

NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP

Here’s where FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) comes in play. The nature of the friendship is something that previous discussions FOMO never really touch on.

Close friends make plans because they’re invested. They’re more invested in your life, and invested in sharing what’s going on in their life. Newer relationships are less invested, therefore the propensity to flake increases.

The OBOes (Or Better Offer) of your friend circles are less likely to keep those commitments. And sometimes the better offer is a bowl of pasta and Netflix.

NATURE OF THE JOB

If they’re truly a busy person, they won’t flake. People who have demanding careers and full lives tend to honor the commitments they make because they don’t know when they’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of free time.

Everyone is SFBusy™ which means that you’re too busy to schlep 10 blocks, but not busy enough to spend 3 hours on Instagram.

WHERE THEY WERE RAISED

Y’all Californians act like you’ve never seen a watch before. Anyone who has spent significant time on the east coast tends to be prompt. California born and raised – start times are merely a suggestion. You guys, seriously, you make brown people embarrassed.

NATURE OF THE MEETING

You wouldn’t flake on a job interview for a job you really wanted, would you?

EVERYONE POOPS, EVERYONE FLAKES

Everyone flakes. Sometimes, you have a bad day at work and the thought of accompanying a friend to a networking happy hour makes your skin crawl. Sometimes, you find yourself unable to put on pants after exiting the shower.

Circumstances, frequency, and how it’s handled is what really matters in the end.*

*I was referring to flaking, but I suppose this also applies to the “other” thing

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