Ok, today’s post is going to sound like I am complaining. That is only partially true.
Really this post serves as a guide, maybe even a warning, to those non-Native Californians (and particularly Angelenos) who move here/stay here awhile and haven’t learned the nuance that this city/state has among the people- flaking.
“Living in California is like living in a bowl of granola; what ain’t fruits or nuts, is flakes.”- Gallagher
So, I mentioned the LA Flaker in one of my previous posts, 10 Lessons I Learned in the Business World. I’ve opted to expand it here because I have experienced it nearly daily for about two weeks now. I hope no one takes offense to this post- I think of it more as a personality trait of a LOT of Californians- whether North, South or Inland, but especially LA County. Maybe even Orange County. Just like the brashness of NYC or The Seattle Freeze– it’s a part of the local culture. Flaking.
Comedian Barry Sobol stated it as a difference between coastal attitudes, paraphrased by www.silverdragon.com:
“The difference between New York and Los Angeles is reliability. If you say to your friend in New York, ‘We will meet at this theater at 8pm tonight,’ that is not a suggestion. That is a statement of fact! And, at 8pm that evening, your friend will be there. In LA, you could invite over a dozen friends to do the same thing, and maybe one or two will show up, one by sheer coincidence that he happened to be there when you were. In New York, if you don’t show up for an appointment, you have to furnish a reason: ‘Joe, what happened, I was at the theater, you weren’t there, I had my balls between my ears goin’ what the hell happened to youse?’. In LA, no event is too important not to show up to. You could say, ‘Drew, I have an important open heart surgery tomorrow, could you give me a lift tomorrow morning to the hospital?’ and Drew would say ‘Sure!’ Three days later, when you finally hear from Drew, you ask, ‘Drew…? What happened…? I had to take a cab to the hospital, where were you…?’ Drew would say, ‘Oh, dude, I’m sorry… I flaked…’ ‘I flaked!’ is his excuse! In LA, they don’t even have the decency to lie to you!”
I also think the surfer/hipster/artsy/laid back mentality has something to do with it. It’s like everyone has a million hours a day to f$#@ around. They can just sit in traffic for 3 hours, and look for parking, or valet, and take their sweet time- NBD.
Here are the basics to understanding your new-found LA Flaker friends.
Definition of Flaking According to the Urban Dictionary:
n. An unreliable person; someone who agrees to do something, but never follows through.
1. John called in sick to work again today. He’s such a flake.
Definition of an L.A. Flaker According to the Urban Dictionary:
1. L.A. Flakers
An elite team of professional flake artists whom never follow through on things they commit to.
Charles said he would be here at eight o’clock!? He flakes out so much he must play for the L.A. Flakers.
I find they are typically born/raised in California and/or arrived here prior to their 22nd birthday (I have met a few non-Flakers who are native- Lolo 🙂 )
How you will recognize an L.A. Flaker:
1. You make plans to see someone. It can be a friend, a date, whatever. They literally bail on you that day, if not hours before. Via text or phone.
2. You have tickets to something/attending something/meeting someone at something and they text that they can’t make it because: they are hung over, the forgot they had another ‘thing’, they aren’t feeling it, they’re lying low, they slept in.
3. You make tentative plans knowing the potential for a flake out, and tell them you will text/call them the day of to check and see if they are up for it. They screen/ignore the text/call. They may/may not hit you up later – oh oops, love you!
As a Non-Native Californian, Your Initial Response to an L.A. Flaker May Be:
Bitterness? Annoyance? Lack of understanding?… I mean, I am a busy-a%% chick, and if I’m making plans with someone, this is the equivalent of me making time for this person. Precious time that can (and will be) used elsewhere if they are to discard it!
So that is how I felt at first.
After a while, I learned that flakiness is a ‘given’ behavior from pretty much anyone who moved here during their formative years (i.e. birth – college).
As a result of this, most Native Califos aren’t bothered by said flakiness because they are constantly flaking out on each other – and therefore it is considered standard operating procedure; it’s all cool and fine, because that’s the norm.
Response Options for a Chronic L.A. Flaker:
Option 1: Set boundaries. One option I began implementing is the Three Strikes rule- you flake on me three times, you’re out. Simple as that. Holds people who want to hang out with me accountable and weeds out the others who can’t be bothered.
Option 2: Have a back-up plan. Go ahead and assume that if they grew up in CA, they’ll probably flake on you. So come up with a Plan B. Have others that are non-Natives or have some proven non-Flakers invited to said outing/event. Natives can prove themselves as non-Flakers over time, but even the best of them fold here and there.
Option 3: Just suck it up- it’s part of the cost of living here. I still get annoyed by it, but there isn’t really much you can do. It’s just part of the culture here. I’ve considered making t-shirts and giving them to my worst offender friends. Let them know they are in the starting line-up of my LA Flakers team.
Option 4: ‘Dump’ the ‘friend’. At worst case, I’ve slowly ‘dumped’ said friends, as I can really take only so many times of being flaked on before it just gets old to me. And disrespectful.
I don’t think the flakers realize that over time it can affect a non-Californian, especially the busy ones. Even though the flakers can be annoying, most are really nice, great people- they’re just flaky.
And truth be told, some of the flakiness has rubbed off on me- only because I know that Native-Californians won’t take offense to me flaking. That being said, I try not to!!
I hope this guide was helpful in preparing you for living among the nicest flakes you’ll ever meet :).