On Not Being A Flake…

I am going to admit to a bad habit of mine, one which my mother tells me comes directly from my dad.  I have a long history of canceling on plans at the last minute, i.e. “flaking”.  Plans are made, by me or by anyone — those plans sound GREAT!  I immediately put them into my calendar and I honestly am excited and look forward to whatever is planned.  That is, until it is time to do whatever it is that has been planned.  Then, those plans, no matter what they are, seem like a terrible idea and throw me into a bit of a panic.  Why would I want to be out when I could be at home?  How can I be with others when I could be spending time with my family?  No one will miss me if I don’t go.  I have no business being out when I could be working or cleaning or sleeping or cooking or organizing my Tupperware cupboard or sticking my head in the sand or… well…you get the point.  I am a social flake.  I know it.  I own it.  I hate it.

As far as “real” responsibilities, I am not a flake.  I rarely miss work, I never skipped school, I have attended every single thing that my children have ever been involved in.  It occurred to me a few years ago that I was really not being invited to many social events anymore.  I asked a couple of trusted friends and the answer was the same across the board:  “You always cancel at the last minute whenever we have plans, so we just quit inviting you anywhere.” OUCH.

This is a flaw that I have mindfully been trying to improve.  Quite simply, if I have plans, I honor them.  I think that in the past year, I have made it to about 90% of social engagements/plans.  This hasn’t been easy for me.  I have to fight that old familiar instinct to cancel every single time, and every single time I go to a social event, I have to fight to enjoy it.  The voice in my brain is always telling me I should be at home or at work, and that I have no business being social and I can’t seem to shake that. Why is this?  I wish I knew.  All I know for sure is that my decision to cancel on plans frequently was adversely affecting people I cared about, and that was unacceptable to me.  So, I go, and I smile and laugh and socialize.  Out of the last ten events I attended, I enjoyed about 40% of them.  This was previously at zero percent, so there is progress; and where there is progress, there is hope that things will continue to improve.

One of my goals for 2016 is to continue to hold myself accountable for plans made and to not be such a damn flake.  I’m asking anyone who happens to read this to help hold me accountable as well. If you’ve struggled with this, please share with me what you’ve done to make it better.  Tell me why you think this happens.  It’s a work in progress, and there will be setbacks, but any step forward is a step in the right direction.  Much love.