Do you sometimes also feel that urge to flake out? And when you do and give in, what is the reason that you give your friend, who is particularly excited about whatever you had planned?
Before you answer these questions, let’s consider for a minute what Flaking Out actually means.
Intransitive verb: 1 slang: to fall asleep; 2 slang: to be overcome especially by exhaustion.
Yeah, that might be two of the reasons of flaking out, but that’s not what I meant. Let’s try the Urban Dictionary:
Verb: To cancel previously agreed upon plans last minute, or simply not show up.
Yes, that’s more like it. Although, if I run under a bus and am consequently not able to show up, I would not categorize that as “Flaking Out.” So the real reason is relevant (not the one you tell your friend).
Back to my initial questions.
Sometimes? Let me put it this way — MOST of my engagements, (with the exception of weddings, dates and events that involve free food or drinks), pass through the screening of one simple question: “Would I rather sit in my room and do nothing?” If the answer isn’t immediately, “yes” to the plans that I’ve agreed to or made myself, about half of them will end in me never answering the question and simply not going.
However, I can’t say that I always have the same reason for deciding to bail on plans. But lately, as in the last 5 years (I don’t measure time like society does), the reasons for flaking out have either been sleep/exhaustion or the increasing desire to be left alone. I honestly identify some plans as a sinister opportunity to stay home instead and miss out.
Really, flaking out is almost as rewarding as the guilty pleasure of eating a late night, unhealthy snack in a low-lit room after your health-nut roommate has gone to sleep.
The best part about bailing is having circles of friends that also do it routinely. It’s like a middle finger to obligation, which is pretty much what life in your 30s is all about anyway. In NYC, there is always something going on, so it would be nearly impossible to exercise the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) lifestyle after you’ve done it for 10 years already…unless that’s your thing.
Hmm, so is it a sign of the times or is flaking out inherent with living in NYC? Perhaps both? I recall that in the Netherlands, where I am from and lived until age 35, people do not flake out as much as in New York. Or perhaps I (try to) hang out too much with you resulting in this experience?
But there is probably some truth to the FOMO fatigue. People in New York are always busy doing something, going somewhere, or wanting to be involved. Perhaps there is an overabundance of agreeing to events and appointments for Fear Of Missing Out. But when the actual day of the event arrives, the fatigue creeps in and people start to bail out.
I would say, just relax and don’t over-commit. There is always tomorrow for another eventful day in New York City with lots of opportunities to flake out.
It’s funny, it seems like it is, in fact, due to an overload of things to socially engage in when compared to the amount of solo time folks realistically need in order to have a balanced life. Though I joked about guilty pleasures in flaking out, there is a positive vibe I experience whenever I decide to relax my mind and body, and shut out the buzz of the city, instead of forcing myself into a social outing that is–a lot of the time–just taking place to avoid “boredom” a.k.a. responsibilities.
I do feel like there is a sort of luxury in having the option to bail on social settings and outings with friends that should not be taken for granted. As we age in life, opportunities to socialize will not always be as available as they are or even were, and that’s when the real FOMO disease sets in, followed by regret. Way to end on a high note, right? Now that I think about it, perhaps our next column should be about loneliness in a crowded city.
Until then, cancel all of your plans this weekend, it’s supposed to be great sleeping weather!
Krystal & Yako