“I’m not perfect by any means,” I told him. “But if I tell you I’m going to call you at a certain time, I’m going to do it. If we make plans to have dinner, you can expect me to show up. If something unforeseen happens, a traffic jam or a sudden illness, I’ll text you and let you know. I won’t just not show up. And I’ll acknowledge that we had plans.”
“Oh good,” he said. “You don’t know how rare that is.”
I frowned. “Actually, I kind of do. Unfortunately.”
“Done to you a lot?” he asked.
He promised me he’d do the same. I thanked him. But even as I did, I didn’t quite believe him.
I made mental space for him to be just like the others.
We were both surprised when we arrived at the appointed time. On time. Without either of us doing what has become strangely routine — the day of “Are we still on for tonight?” text.
I was irritated the first time I received one of these. “Of course we’re still on for tonight,” I found myself reacting aloud. “What kind of person makes plans and then decides they’re not firm unless they’re reminded the day of?”
Plenty of people, it would turn out. I would come to find this out myself once I began to date again after a long-closed marriage opened up. Lots of people flaked. And not just when meeting a stranger. But those you came to consider close friends or even ongoing partners just didn’t seem to feel a responsibility to keep their appointments.
Or to at least apologize and properly cancel them if things changed.
I thought this was just bad luck. But as I continued to meet people, I found that this behavior was more common than I ever would have guessed.
And that I was the weird one.
I knew I was on to something then, when I finally met someone else who didn’t feel right flaking willy-nilly.
As time wound on, he articulated that was one of the things he liked most about me: That I was reasonable and reliable.
Hardly the stuff Cosmo had encouraged me to develop in order to snare a mate. But nonetheless appreciated by someone I was seeing. That I could be counted on. That I’d make a point to remember appointments and keep them.
Because it’s important to feel like a priority. In general, sure, but especially so in a world that flakes.
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