Since the dawn of time, or at least since I’ve come out, I have had a very tumultuous relationship with “flaky gays.” Flaky gays, of course, are the guys that talk to you when they feel like it, leave you on read for days as the mood strikes, communicate cryptically as needed to keep you hanging on, are unable to commit to a plan, cancel things last minute, and have a rotation of excuses ranging from the flu to a life-changing-brunch to keep you perpetually frustrated. A flaky gay most readily presents himself in the dating world, but are equally available in the friend, coworker, or even family variety.
As I write this, however, I can think of many guys who at one point or another have considered me a flaky gay. It’s easy for me to sit here in the glow of my Macbook and go off on those who have flaked on me – but to get to the root of why any gay is considered flaky, I have to examine why others would attach the same label to my own behavior. Generally, I consider myself very on top of my relationships and schedule. Lord knows I haven’t taken a day off of work going on 5 months (and those sick days do not get paid out at termination). I generally like to be present. I’m the type of guy that makes a plan with a friend and puts it in my calendar. I generally respond to texts instantly. I clear all my e-mails, check all notifications. You won’t find a red icon on my phone – not saying it’s healthy, but it’s me.
So why would a guy ever fix his mouth to call me flaky? For me, flakiness might be situational. Generally, flakiness occurs because someone is unsure. Unsure if they want to date you, unsure of what they want for themselves, unsure if they have time for a friendship, unsure of whether or not they would rather do something else. I think very few gay people are straight up flaky (i.e. forget to show up, totally slipped my mind, etc.). If you are being flaked on by a gay person – they likely have some baseline interest in a relationship with you, but not enough to commit to plans. Perhaps, also, they think you’re nice to talk to but don’t want the same end result as you (be it a friendship or romantic relationship). They don’t want to be mean and they also don’t want to lose the basic connection with you, so they string you along and hurt you with their flakiness instead.
So why have I been flaky in the past? To my credit, I’d like to think I don’t just string guys along. If I see absolutely no chance of a relationship, I generally won’t talk to you for my own gain. I also don’t make physical plans and not show up or cancel without ample notice and a valid reason (that’s just wrong, ya’ll). That said, there are tricky situations (i.e. coworkers) where you have no choice but to communicate, which sometimes gets confused as wanting a work spouse relationship or out-of-work friendship. But, I digress. I usually keep it real with guys, so my own flakiness mostly stems from a selfish need for attention and/or not knowing what I want at a given point in time.
I may be talking to guys that totally seem nice, cool, and fun, but I am unsure if I am ready to commit to whatever it is they’re seeking. I may be talking to a guy for a limited purpose – we connect on a particular hobby, they are physically beautiful but I don’t connect with them mentally at all, etc. I enjoy talking to these people for whatever the limited purpose may be, but am unable to come out with the harsh truth: “I am just talking to you for attention, and am not sure I’d ever want anything more than this. This may result in me seeming like I want to make future plans, but having no certainty that I’ll stick to them.” Kind of an ugly statement to have to make, but it is true, and it is better than making someone feel like they aren’t good enough or did something wrong.
I try to remind myself of my own behavior as I come across flaky gays. As frustrating, infuriating, and sometimes hurtful it is to be on the receiving end of flakiness, I have to believe that almost all of us have engaged in this behavior at some point in time. Out of our own weakness, pain, selfishness, or hell – even being busy – we all flake. All you can do is keep that in mind so the flakiness of others stings a bit less. Furthermore, it is always incumbent on you to know what your own limits are. If someone flakes on you once, you should believe that they might do it again. If someone flakes on you in a completely disrespectful way, you should probably cut them off before they hurt you again. We only have to endure the flakiness we allow ourselves to tolerate. It’s a common gay behavior that will undoubtedly continue, but the ball is in your court as to how to interpret and permit it in your life.