"I Flaked" - Reasonable Excuse in California?

OK, so I just moved to San Diego, California, and since that time two people have stood me up; we made plans, and they simply didn’t show - no phone call before or after, no e-mail, nothing. It wasn’t until the next time we communicated that I got an excuse, which although one was acceptable (“I got lost”) and one was not (“I got a speeding ticket so I went home”), it doesn’t answer the question of why, in this age of cell phones and laptops, I didn’t get either a call while waiting for this person to show up, or a call or e-mail immediately upon their return home (and I think a call would have been appropriate in both cases).

One reason I’m not totally ticked is because in both cases they were supposed to meet me at home, and we had no definite plans, so it’s not like I was put out. But, still, rude is rude. In the large majority of cases in my life, if someone has stood me up, they’ve had to beg for a second chance, and, frankly, it happened very rarely, but now it’s happened to me twice in just about as many weeks.

My housemates, one of whom is a California native, informed me that, “I flaked” is an acceptable excuse in California and I should get used to it, for better or for worse.

I did call both people who stood me up on the carpet, and both were suitably chagrined and apologized for their bad manners. But I anticipate this may happen again. If/when it does, should I be outraged and stand by the view that this is rude and socially unacceptable behavior, or should I accept this as an excuse?


And suddenly I am struck funny by my own thought…


(“What Would Miss Manners Do?”, as opposed to “What Would Jesus Do?” or “What Would John Corrado Do?” I just found that amusing. :D)


yes it is a “standard” excuse in California, but you don’t have to get used to it. Stand your ground firmly and make those people behave better, their Mommas will thank you.

Perhaps things in San Diego are much different than Santa Barbara, but I don’t think people around here would consider “I flaked.” to be a viable explanation for not showing up.
Granted, I don’t know hundreds of people, but the people I do know would all find that rude. That includes natives, as well as transplants.

So, I don’t find it to be a reasonable excuse, especially if you are waiting in the rain while hungry capybaras are eyeing you up and down and your friend doesn’t show up to save you.
But, that doesn’t happen as often as you would think.


Esprix, OOOOOH! I cannot tell you how this irritated me when I lived in CA! Drove my little midwestern brain absolutely insane.

I personally just fine it thoughtless and rude, but no one calls anyone on it so they keep doing it.

Good luck!

Man, I saw this comedian once who used that. He was talking about the differences between California and New York (he had just moved to NYC). It was pretty funny. This was many years ago too, so apparently “I flaked” has been valid for quite some time. (The other part of the joke was how if you did that to someone in the city, they’d show up at your place the next day with a bat asking what happened to you)

Don’t know if you really care… just had to share.

OK, I’m very glad this subject was brought up. Not only do I live in California, but I was born and raised in Los Angeles - the world capital of “the flake.” LA is where the “flakes” call home - well, actually, they don’t call home - but I digress. Anyway, so, not only do I live in “flake city,” but I work in (hides his head in shame)… “the industry” - the cream de la cream of the flake. This is where the flake hones his/her flaking skills. Hollywood is the place of the Super-Flake. The alpha-flake, if you will. You’ve met no flake until you’ve met an “industry flake.”

So, even though I have been raised around the flake, I still never get used to them. Everyone here is creative and they’re all too lost in thought to be courteous and God forbid, call and say they’re not coming. I am actually the anti-flake. I’m always - ALWAYS - early to any apointment I may have. Not only am I early, but I’m at a minimum, 20 minutes early. Punctuality in a big thing in my book. A get a lot of weird looks from my fellow Los Angelinos when I tell them this.

When you’re a flake in LA, it’s considered “cute.” Plus, it means that you’ve got important things going on. It’s an unspoken way of bragging to other people about how important you are.

I dunno nuthin’ ‘bout the left coast, but here in Georgia "He needed killin’" is an acceptable legal defense.

Well, I’ve lived in San Diego on and off for about 15 years now and I’ve never had anyone pull something like that on me. I am familiar with the “look how busy I am” type of person, but that’s not a phenomenon limited to CA by any means.

Of course it’s rude and you may continue to chastise your friends. (There, doesn’t that sound like fun?)

I live for that shit. :wink:


And to chastise your friends properly, may I suggest the good offices of Ouchy the Clown at


btw, I lived in CA most of my life and it was never considered an acceptable excuse, no matter who tried to use it.

My stepdaughter, who is 14, was born and raised in San Diego. She flakes out on her own father. Constantly. Drives me nuts, but what can I say? Her 16-year-old brother, who was born in Columbus, Ohio but moved to San Diego at the ripe old age of six months, does not do this. Maybe it has something to do with the air in Californian maternity wards?

BTW, we live in Phoenix. There are far fewer flakes here.

No, it’s not an accepted excuse in ALL of California. Please, let’s not lump the entire state into one flaky mass. It may be in So Cal (which might as well be another state ;)), but i’ve never, ever had someone pull that excuse on me (I live in Central Coastal California). I would not accept that excuse at all and I am a California Native.

I wonder if it’s a generational thing, a social circle thing, or an occupation thing. All I know is that if any of my cohort tried pulling that as an excuse with a professor, master teacher, site supervisor or another student, they’d be handed their own esophagus. And that’s a good thing.

I flaked.
He flaked.
She flaked.
We flaked.
They all flaked!

It seems to be a commonly used excuse (along with “Sorry, brain fart!”) but not one that’s accepted as a good excuse.

I’ve lived in Southern California for 20 years, and while its not an acceptable excuse, it happens CONSTANTLY. Be prepared, even really close friends can do that to you b/c they don’t want to seem “mean” when rejecting your offer for an evening. You just learn which people to and not to depend upon, who is worth your time. You’ll figure out who is a true friend and who finds you as a social aquaintance. Also, if your housemate finds it as an acceptable excuse, s/he is probably a flake when it suits their needs. Be prepared, but don’t put up with it once you find a flake. There are a few of us out here who don’t accept it and won’t do it to you either, you just have to find us :slight_smile:

That is one area where Colorado is like California. I can see where it would piss people off, but since it fits into my natural instincts, I love the attitude. Basically on any agreed upon situation it is acceptable not to do it. The social faux pas is if the flaked on person takes offense, rather than the flaker, since it should be assumed that someone might not end up going through with it. There are situations where flaking is unaccpetable, such as failing to bailing your friend out of jail(unless the chick was really hot :)). A real friend, or worthwhile business relation, wouldn’t be offended if your heart wasn’t really in it.

What a bunch of bullshit - plus a nice way to dodge personal responsibility.

If you say you’re going to be somewhere, be there. If you don’t want to go, don’t say you will in the first place. If you have to back out, call ahead of time, even if it’s some lame-ass excuse like, “my heart’s not really in it.” Leave me standing in the rain waiting to meet you for dinner and you won’t have a second chance to do it to me again. And then I get the blame? How fucked up is that?

Sadly, I’ve had people do this to me. “Why are you getting so mad? Jeez, chill out!” As if I were the one who did something wrong by breaking my word, leaving someone stood up and then not taking responsibility for it.

Thankfully, the friends I already have here aren’t like this.