#2. Personal Change Can Take Years -- if They Choose to Change at All
When you first make friends with someone, you can't expect them to jump up and help you out at a moment's notice. You may enjoy hanging out and throwing urine balloons at abortion clinic protesters, but sacrificing their day so that you can get through yours isn't really on the plate just yet. It's understandable. We get that.
But as the friendship grows and matures, there's a certain amount of change that's expected. Doing favors or even just showing up on time is a display of respect, or at least "I give a shit about you." Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of that level of change. And in fact, some are even insulted that you'd expect it in the first place. "Wait, you don't like me the way I am? Fuck you, buddy. You can just try peeing into your own balloon without me."
Even if they are capable of that level of change, it takes time. Shitloads of it.
And it has to be done while standing on a giant ghost clock. Them's the rules.
About four years ago, I quit drinking. It was the single biggest step in me becoming a stable, functioning human, but it didn't happen overnight. See, I was under the impression that drinking turned me into an arrogant, narcissistic douchebag. What I wasn't prepared for was finding out that though drinking may have brought that out a bit more than when I was sober, that dark, asshole side was as much a part of me as my vascular system. I'm still working on flushing that from my personality, almost half a decade later. I'm sure I'll still be working on it when I'm 80.
It's a core personality trait, and changing it is damn near as complex and slow moving as physically changing the path of those arteries. And that's if the person even wants to change at all.
You have to keep in mind that even though their actions are affecting you negatively, in all likelihood, nothing is wrong from their perspective. Some people simply lack the ability to see the world from outside of their own personal bubble. And what's going on in their space is nice and orderly. Being late doesn't affect them. Canceling plans without notice isn't a big deal. Skipping out of promises doesn't mean much. Since they see no problem, there's no need for them to change in order to advance the friendship.
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"Busy" becomes a relative term for everyone involved.
So it stagnates in the acquaintance stage, them forever stewing in that sewage of unreliability. And as long as they refuse to grow along with the relationship, they will never, ever be trustworthy.
And for that reason ...
#1. Some People Are Just Unflushable Pieces of Shit
They're stinking up your life. Figure out who they are, grab a plunger, and lose 'em.