Nat King Cole would have a hard time pegging my friend named “Unreliable”. I used to think that he was reliable with everyone else but me. That was the crybaby, whoa-is me, way-too-sensitve side of me that I discarded years ago when I became the callous, Rhett Butler-esque new me. But “Unreliable” has been the same guy throughout and these days when he doesn’t follow through on something that we’ve agreed on, I just chalk it up to him being consistent with his philosophy of being…well, unreliable.
“Unreliable” is actually part of a riff-raff group of friends that I now refer to as “The Unable’s”. This group consists of people who commit to everything and fulfill nothing except the things matter only to them. They are a hodgepodge of good intentions with bad public relations. They have the luxury of accepting responsibilities that they have no intention of completing and neglecting the fact that friends treat friends like equals not subordinates.
My friend “Unreliable” tends to prioritize his life by asking these simple questions:
- Is this person a celebrity or someone in influential circles? (Yes = 10 points / No = 5 Points)
- Does this activity require a lot of effort on my part? (Yes = 5 Points / No = 10 Points)
- Will this lead to more opportunities, greater visibility or immediate financial gain? (Yes = 10 Points / No = 5 Points)
- Can I take over this project and take the credit? (Yes = 10 Points / No = 5 Points)
- If I can’t take over the project, will I still be able to take some credit? (Yes = 10 Points / No = 1 Point)
- Would I rather be doing something else? (No = 10 Points / Yes = 5 Points)
If the activity scores 50 Points or higher than “Unreliable” will consider attending and fulfilling his obligations. If it scores lower than 50, the likelihood of “Unreliable” calling up to provide an excuse for backing out increases exponentially.
So why is “Unreliable” and others like him still a friend? Because I hold out hope that one day he will be a more responsible friend. Maybe he will shrug off the selfishness and become more selfless. I hope for his sake that one day he realizes that cultivating meaningful, lasting relationships means that you have to work on it just as hard as your friends do. Maybe its because somewhere along the line I had friends who called me unreliable too.