What to do when she flakes

Last Friday, my friend Brian had a date with a girl he was pretty excited about.  He had met her at a party for young alumni, they had hit it off and exchanged contact information.  During the week, they arranged to meet at 7pm Friday night at his place and take things from there.

Around 6pm Friday, Brian calls her to confirm and make sure she has directions.  No answer.  He calls again at 6.30 — still no answer.  At 7.15 he gets a call from her saying that she fell asleep — so sorry.  By this time, Brian has already made plans with me to go watch a movie, so her loss is my gain.  He’s in a pissy mood, because he feels as if he’s been stood up, and that’s never a good feeling, and it’s making me reconsider that whole gain thing.

Levity aside, what’s the optimal response here? What do you do when a woman flakes, or just plain stands you up?

Let’s take a deep breath together — ahhhh — and consider the situation.  Because if you’re the one who’s been flaked upon, chances are you’re feeling an interesting mix of frustration and rage, which is not conducive to clear thinking.

Now let’s use some game theory.  Your ideal outcome is for her to come hang out with you so you both have a great time.

So what you definitely do not want to do is to to wig out, lose your cool, tell her off, say nasty vindictive things, or otherwise go ballistic on her.  It may feel good at the moment, but it kills your outcome.  The payoff is zero.  If you’re thinking about doing anything foolish like that, do it away from email or a phone.  Allow a few minutes for yourself to chill out and allow a cooler head to prevail.

Because she hasn’t shown up, it’s great in a way because now you have nothing to lose.  She’s already flaked!  This means that you can be a little cheeky and demanding in the next round.  If she responds, great; if she doesn’t, you lose zilch.  In poker, this is called free-rolling, and it’s a great spot to be in.

So you wait a day or two, or wait for her to call.    Now you tell her matter-of-factly that what she did was pretty bad, and you have no idea how she can make it up to you.  If she’s not genuinely contrite, you’re done — this is not the class of woman you want to spend your precious time and energy on.

But if she is a quality woman, she will want to make it up to you.  In the case of Brian, she apologized profusely and volunteered to drive the 2o miles from her place to come hang out in his hot tub — which is what happened the subsequent Tuesday.

So, to summarize: stay cool, call her on her bad behavior in a non-emotional way, and wait for her response.  If she responds affirmatively, feel free to escalate and become more demanding — “Well, that’s a good start, but I’m not sure if that’s going to cut it” — until you reach a suitable equilibrium.

Categories: Dating for Men

10 Comments on “What to do when she flakes”

  1. (r)Evolutionary

    Best Paragraph:

    “Because she hasn’t shown up, it’s great in a way because now you have nothing to lose. She’s already flaked! This means that you can be a little cheeky and demanding in the next round. If she responds, great; if she doesn’t, you lose zilch. In poker, this is called free-rolling, and it’s a great spot to be in.”

    When free-rolling, feel free to play it to the hilt. Find that equilibrium taking a bounce in your favor. This is called “Finding the Advantage in Disadvantage.” An essential Taoist concept, it comes with Sun Tzu’s stamp of approval.

    In essence, it doesn’t matter if you overplay your hand, if you piss her off, or if you do nothing, since she’s already displayed lower value by flaking, it’s a free shot on goal, since the default position for a man with value towards woman who flake is: “Next!” Of course there are exceptions, but the real question in dealing with a flake is this: does she have potential as a keeper? If not, hitting the ‘next’ button may be the most efficient strategy for quality men.

    Of course, even a ‘yes’ answer to the keeper question is not excuse to give her free pass on the flake-out. One must roll heavy when rolling free.

    1. Ali Binazir MD MPhil Post author

      Well said, my man. In poker, when you’re free rolling, you go all-in. That’s the whole point of the exercise. ‘Finding advantage in disadvantage’ — very Tao indeed.

  2. Marc

    Flaking (for me) is a deal-breaker. Yes, I know that I might miss out on a cool woman or two, but as a high-quality guy, I put in a lot of time and effort to be someone worth getting to know. If a girl has some bad behavior(s), whether it’s flaking, projectile vomiting at inopportune moments, hitting people in the forehead with a ball-peen hammer, lying, or whatever… is it really going to get any better further into a relationship? If you don’t like her behavior now: STOP REWARDING IT WITH A RELATIONSHIP. After all, she *should* be putting her best foot forward early on, so she can win you over. If she’s not willing to do that, I wad her number up and move on to the next girl– and you probably should as well. If all men demanded better treatment from women, I sincerely believe women would treat men better in general, and the higher quality you are as a guy, the more you can and should expect correspondingly better treatment.

    Is that harsh? Yes. Do I probably lose a few women who just think I’m only interested in sex? Yes. Do I have to deal with nonsense from women? No more than once.

    Of course, your friend Brian did not mention whether or not he established some commonalities with this girl, built value by suggesting things she’d want to participate in, *and* made a case for why the chance to go out with him needed to be taken right away (think limited-time event, which won’t be repeated soon). Once you do that, take a tip from dentists, doctors, and other professionals who call to confirm appointments the day before the event. Then if there is a genuine conflict, you give the other person the opportunity to reschedule gracefully, as well as saving yourself time and hassle if she cancels. Make alternate plans before the confirmation call, so if she blows you off you can truthfully say “No problem, I had been planning on going to (other event) sometime anyhow, so I’ll just do that.” After that, the ball is in her court to re-schedule, and if she doesn’t, then you know exactly where you stand.

    1. Ali Binazir MD MPhil Post author

      This is so excellent that methinks I will send it to the group. Great mindset of what flaking means, how to put a price on yourself, and the proper dating hygiene of how to set things up and confirm. Textbook, baby, textbook.

  3. Joe

    When I began reading these newsletters, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see how the other half lives, so I signed up for a dating advice for women newsletter from another provider. And Ali stresses the fundamental gender-symmetry in much of his advice anyway. I was disconcerted by the sheer number of “deal breakers” suggested to us readers. Flaking, moving the relationship too quickly, too slowly, any oddities in dress or mannerism, both sides were constantly if he/she engages in such an activity he/she does not deserve you. You deserve a higher quality individual.

    Seriously? You are millitarizing both sides, and hyper sensitizing them to even the slightes injury. Both sides also advised their pupils to play it coy, allow the other person to pursue you, show more interest etc. So between all the perrying and thrusting and dissimulating the fact that one is in fact perrying or thrusting, where is the room for trust?

    And seriously, do we want to start describing people as higher-quality than others? Especially since, realistically, so much of someone’s market price has to do with physical beauty? But

    Where is room for the other person to improve, to grow in all of this? Your tips seem to show us how to become a great catch in this fishery of flesh that we call the modern dating scene, but isn’t all the stress and tension, caused in large part by our own propensity to treat others, and love itself as a commodity?

    A suggestion, spending some time talking about deal makers. Attributes of another person that make them worth the long haul and how to spot them amid the flaws etc.

    If people are attuned to noticing and creating those the dating scene might be a bit more hospitable.

  4. Kristal

    Hi Doc

    I thought I’d check. Do the same rules apply if a guy flakes? Do guys actually “flake”, or if they allow that to happen are they “just not that into to you”?

    1. Ali Binazir MD MPhil Post author

      Thanks for the note, Kristal! Guys flake, too, and I think it’s a much bigger sin for a man than it is for a woman. So much of what it means to be a guy is for your word to be your honor. Trustworthiness, reliability, support — these are essential components of the masculine essence. If a guy flakes without a really good excuse, he’s pretty much disqualified himself.

  5. Mike

    what if the girl flakes and doesn’t reach out until after a week and her apology is that she had personal problems to take care of, does the guy respond to that or does he just move on?

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