Years ago, when I lived in Southern California, I worked with a very responsible project manager whom I’ll call Rocco. Rocco was reliable to the point of neurosis. He was responsible for a mistake, the first guy in the office whose shirts were always pressed and whose meetings started and finished on time. Everyone loved Rocco, but we also wished he’d tone down a bit.
One day, Rocco does not make it to a scheduled meeting. The next time we saw him, we asked him what happened. Was he okay? Rocco wore an ear-to-ear grin as he explained that, yes, he was fine. “I just flaked,” he said, beaming. “I flake!”
He did it. Rocco had adopted a social strategy that everyone else had embraced, even if they didn’t talk about it: Sometimes it flipped.
Unfortunately, flakiness—that is, failure to maintain commitment—is rarely celebrated with Rocco’s newfound enthusiasm. The term has always been used in a derogatory rather than libertarian sense: “I can’t believe Rocco criticized us. He’s not trustworthy.”
It’s time for everyone to embrace flakiness the way Rocco did. Peeling, properly understood and used, is an important and healthy social tool. It relieves you of the burden of always asking for a reason or excuse, be it rational, psychological, clinical, or otherwise. No need to blame “the subway” or “the thing that came up” or “my anxiety”. Just, “You flake off.” Ah, well, you flake. Thanks for letting me know.
Before I go any further, let me admit that exfoliation is a precious business. You peel off too much and become, as in the derogatory sense, “flake off.” Untrustworthy. This is bad. Nobody likes dandruff. These cases are usually plain because they are patterned: Gavin does not show up on time or You can’t count on Sarah to get the job done.
But volatility when conditions are right – that’s a glorious good. people have long I enjoyed canceling plans or avoiding commitments, whether it was in the name of self-care, procrastination, conflict avoidance, burnout, or social disorientation. Relaxed social traditions have helped make etiquette less delicate, and our online culture has inspired even more reasons Rubbed hands Or strategize about avoidance. But snowdrops, shadows, and their usually relatives celebrate almost divine intervention or Guilty pleasure. You should not indulge in real exfoliation in this way. To adopt exfoliation means to get rid of mysticism, shame and secrecy.
To keep these demons at bay, one must refuse to investigate the logic of the shell. Why does Roku peel off? We didn’t ask, because we don’t need to know the reason behind the real flaking. Overwork, overwork, family conflict or flat tires – these are excuses that underlie and motivate an outcome that might be seen as an unstable mistake. Peeling abstracts from them, allowing the space to fail in the absence of a identifiable reason. Volatility is the realization that the vastness of the universe, and the many forces at work within it, cannot always be pulled apart as a bag. Some you can control: the alarm clock, the laundry, the custom preparation for a task, and the physical and mental effort to keep your promise. But on others, it is not possible to control. or, at least, submission to greater powers than might be expected of the human will. Perhaps the subway failed to come or your anxiety got the better of you. But not necessarily. It may have been proven that the golden end of daylight was crippled. Perhaps you were overtaken by a slight refusal to act, absent anxiety or rebellion. Anyway, you didn’t come. You did not work. You peel.
Who can blame you? Everyone suffocates under the constant demand for justifications, explanations, and justifications. Online life is definitely to blame, even if not exclusively. For every question, suggestion, and idea that arises, a person can always and immediately seek confirmation or refutation. You say you emailed the document, yet look at my screen—no email arrived. Did you really tell me you’re stuck at work? Text message history says no. You say the subway isn’t coming, yet you post a selfie on Instagram at a cronut store, hmmm. It’s easy to feel that every thought and action requires a deep reason, complete scaffolding of support, as if every single decision sprang from a master story underpinned by enough lore to withstand investigation by lawyers, conspirators, and editors.
Explanations have their place, and they are certainly an understandable currency for avoiding embarrassment or hurt feelings. But we can all benefit from taking a breath and remembering that human existence is not a court proceeding or a privilege scenario. It’s a mess, a pile of accidents that somehow, if you’re lucky, coalesce into a structure more often than not. Exfoliation, taken selectively, allows you to acknowledge that life is porous. Errors seep through its cracks. The source of these errors may be known – you were tired or drunk – but they may be unknown. A strange set of incidents, sensations, events, and sensations that just led you on no. Resist the temptation to make excuses, at least sometimes. No need for diagnoses for overindulgence, tragedies for excuses, and white lies to cover up the truth: you never really know why you didn’t do what you didn’t. You just didn’t.
This does not make the ace flake in the hole. Some requirements distinguish good desquamation from bad. First, the stakes must be relatively low. Failure to complete the major report the day before the presentation is not a disqualification for the report. And don’t forget to take the kids to Taekwon-Do. One can only flake if doing so will do no one more harm than good. What responsibility did Rocco fail to show up for? I do not remember. nothing important. The earth kept spinning.
For this reason, desquamation can only be assessed retrospectively. You can’t text someone with, “Hey, just a heads up, I’m rolling tonight.” But likewise, you cannot belittle it until the consequences have freed you from potentially serious blame. This makes each flake a risk, but a calculated one. Experienced pitchers can tell the difference by instinct. Some meetings require your presence; others don’t. Not showing up for a group dinner is different from standing up on a date. With practice, these distinctions will become self-evident.
Moreover, a good kind of exfoliation should be done in the first person: “He peeled.” You must admit it, and publicly too. Peeling is always a shame if not acknowledged, because it is disrespectful both to those who may have been affected by peeling and to the flake foundation itself. Exfoliation really takes ownership, ideally proactively. “Sorry about last night. Dunno what happened. I flake off. “
If you are not already an accomplished craftsman, learning this new skill will be challenging. People are likely to mistake you for an asshole, especially if you do it wrong (or if you don’t flake in a flake-aware geography, like SoCal’s Rocco). Exfoliation is not just an act but a soul. One is also fading away. It’s even harder to exfoliate today than it used to be. When I witnessed Rocco’s first kick, no one had cell phones. Checking in or checking in was a hassle, so no one had such high expectations. Now you should call, text, or answer a text or call. “Rocco, are you coming?” The silence does not flake. It’s just rude. However, the demand for restitution undermined the precarious enterprise. It is a dying art.
But you can still revive it. You can start by spoiling yourself, then explaining things as a remedy to your distressed friends, family, or colleagues. Eventually, with practice, you’ll unlock an advanced exfoliating mindset. And at the expert level, a quiet acceptance of his goodness. Flick has no reason or reprimand. “I just flake off.” Silent gestures. that happens. Nothing anyone can do.
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