That Friend Who Always Cancels

To be fair, the friend in question is under the grueling Japanese work schedule.  She seems beaten down.

She cancelled last time, but begged to reschedule for a third time.  Okay, three times of bad luck.  Now she’s sent a text canceling again because of work.  I’ve known her for years.  I believe her 100 % that it was work, but I can’t help being disappointed.

If instead of a friendship this were my husband or a guy I was dating doing this, I’d probably start to get really hurt and angry. Since it’s just a friendship, there is a much higher threshold of “that’s too bad” and “Oh, I understand.  Things happen”.  

The expectations feel very different.

But I’d be lying if it wasn’t taking its toll on our friendship over the years.  This isn’t the first time.  Almost 70% of the time she’ll cancel.  Even back in college, she could be this way. It was always “a project came up” or “I have to study”.

And she did.  She would end up studying.  She is not lying over this.  I don’t believe that.

She does this to other friends to.  We’re all used to it.

Even when she came up with the plan herself, asked to do this, and said she was excited, there would 50% of the time come a sudden, “I’m so sorry, but…”
She is a good person, yet I think friendship is very low on the totem poll of priorities.  Everything else comes first, and by everything else I mean studying and work.

I imagine if my husband has this same view, I’d be at the bottom of the priority list and I’d have to accept that painful truth.  It makes me grateful that he does put work lower and works (when he can) to find a way to keep his promises.  Even when we were just dating, he would almost never cancel.  To the point that when work was slamming him, he’d work extra on different days just to keep his promise on something.  (I didn’t know until afterwards).

He always tries to find a way.  A few months ago, it looked like we’d have to cancel a special evening we’d been planning. Then he bargained with a co-worker to switch their Saturdays, so he’d work their Saturday shift and they’d work his.  Boom!  Special evening back on.

It is the sincere trying that I appreciate.  Sometimes he fails, yet he will do his best to make it happen if he must move heaven and earth.  His word is his bond.
I don’t think I could take being in a relationship where you’re always the first thing that gets cut.  I’ve had points in my life where I was super busy (working three jobs in college and taking 16 hours), yet I always honored my commitments as best as I could.

When I say I’ll do something, I’ll do my best to make it happen.  Only if I really must, do I cancel.  My father thinks I put too high a priority on such things and I get more hurt by it.

He’s probably right.

I suspect the real problem here is that this friend and I put friendship at different values.  To her, it’s not a big deal to cancel most of the time.

She is a sweet and lovable person (if one can meet her). We go way back.

However, there is this anger and resentment in me that has been festering about this issue for over a decade.  Even in college when it was summer vacation, she could cancel for the slightest of reasons.  “I forgot to make rice. I’m sorry, I have to go home and make some”.

When I do succeed in meeting her, I get a big hug. She is always very friendly.

However, I feel like I just should give up on her.  It’s always been this way. It’ll always be this way.  I’m so grateful this isn’t playing out in my marriage.

This would be painful (death by a thousand paper cuts) if my husband did this.  I won’t do anything.  I guess we’ll just be “friends on paper”. Those people who still say they’re friends, yet never meet anymore or talk.  It’s already 90% true anyway.

I don’t want to be angry at her. I feel even worse because of course I’m only a friend and of course her job and other things will come first. I can’t argue or complain because her “reasons” will always be a higher priority.

I can’t take these continual letdowns, that meeting her is just a question mark on the calendar.

She’ll do what’s best for her, and I’ll do what’s best for me.

It’s just so sad… to me at least.


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When I was in my twenties, I moved to Japan and met a man there. We embarked on our adventure through life and love. I have lived with him in Japan ever since. We want to start a family, but that is proving difficult. I struggle with infertility. We almost had a child, but that ended in tragedy. Now we enjoy each day and hope that one day we'll hear the pitter-patter of little feet and the bubbly laughter of a child. In the meantime, I enjoy writing, love, studying, traveling, and working. These posts are my thoughts and stories of my life here.

15 thoughts on “That Friend Who Always Cancels”

  1. I had a “friend” do this to me. Literally every time we had plans she cancelled, so we never got to meet up once. I eventually told her in the kindest way possible that she was an asshole and should fuck off. I never felt sad about it either. I’m not interested in people who can’t make time for me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And if you decline to accept the excuse, then it makes you look unreasonable. The only way to “win” that game is not to play, or, to only make plans that work for you regardless of “flake” attendance. XO

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, that’s what I hate the most about flakes. You’re always made to feel bad if you don’t accept their excuse. You’re always the bad guy.

        Your time is never important, but their time is super important.

        I’ve cut out most of the flakes in my life. I’m tired of the games.

        My other red flag in friendship is people who, when you ask, “Do you want to go for coffee?”, and they say “yes”.

        But then go around your back, whining, “M… is so mean! She asked me for coffee when she knows that I have problems saying no! I don’t want to go! She doesn’t care about my feelings!”

        When asked, “Then why did you say yes?”

        They whine: Because I didn’t want to be the bad guy. She made me say no!


        Can’t stand that type. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Having no friends for over 3 years and just now meeting the greatest group of people, I value them as family 🌸 Family, to me, comes first. That most likely why your husband works so hard to keep his promises. Maybe, even after all these years, she still sees you as a friend. I, personally, wouldn’t cut her out completely, but I would focus on strengthening my other friendships or make a new one. A breathe of fresh air is always nice ~ I hope you aren’t too sad about it all. Here’s a flower to cheer you up 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My sister and I often talk about our “flakey” friends and it drives us mad! It is especially difficult if you are planning a party and want to know how much food or drink to buy and then some of those friends will be vague about whether they are actually coming so you don’t know whether to count them or not but they do then show up or the other ones who cancel last minute. I’ve two Irish friends here who seem to cancel more often than they show up to things. It’s frustrating and hard to be friends with someone like that! Though like your friend, when they do show up they are really nice and apologetic about the other times! Like you, I also try to be very reliable and when I make a plan then I always try my very best to be there and would rarely cancel. It’s hard when other people don’t treat arrangements in the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, flakes are so frustrating. The worst is how they always have an excuse so you can’t say anything without coming across as “not understanding”.

      As for party flakes, I find it’s almost a special breed of the. They say “yes” to your event, but then cancel if something they think is “better” comes along.

      These days my favorite people are reliable ones who value arrangements. They cause less stress.


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