Are you a crappy friend, or do you just have good boundaries?
Benjamin Jacobs, Contributor
Imagine this: you plan to invite a good friend to an event. In the days leading up to it, you feel a small bubble of excitement—you haven’t seen this friend in a while, and you’re looking forward to spending some quality time with them. But, last minute, with a vague explanation why, your friend bails. Sound familiar? If so, you could be a victim of a long time Vancouver trend. Meet the famed BC Bail. Welcome to flake culture.
British Columbians, particularly Vancouverites, have developed a bit of a reputation for this increasingly common phenomenon. At face value, it can be seen as very disrespectful. Almost like a non-verbal statement of “I don’t want to be your friend anymore”, or “I found something better to do.” In some cases, that’s exactly what it is and that’s pretty shitty.
While it’s tempting to point fingers, these situations are often more nuanced than we make them out to be. For some, social situations are overwhelming, or perhaps they’re dealing with stressful life events that they are not comfortable voicing. It’s easy to jump to conclusions, but last-minute cancellations can be for a valid reason, even if they are not verbalized.
Many people argue that cancellations should only occur for serious reasons, but some things are simply none of our business. We impose expectations based on the extrovert’s agenda, but what about the introverts trying not to offend? Introversion is not just something that people need to get over, or work through. While introversion is a spectrum, many introverts need time to recharge on their own. That said, regardless of introversion or extroversion, our lives are busy, and sometimes it’s hard to predict a draining day at work, or stimulus overload.
We need to be more accepting of different people’s social needs. Perhaps the B.C. Bail isn’t the slap in the face we assume it to be. Instead, maybe it’s a sign that people are more in tune with what they need and the boundaries they need to set for themselves. That doesn’t make it okay to ghost your friends, or to always be a maybe on the Facebook event invitation, but saying no should not be the mortal offence we make it out to be. That said, maybe give your host a heads up the next time you’re planning a flake out. There’s nothing worse than making food for six, only to have to eat it all on your own.