The AtlanticThe Atlantic

There’s no shame in flaking

By Ian Bogost

11 Aug 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Atlantic's Ian Bogost argues that the art of "flaking," or failing to keep a commitment, is dying in today's digital age. However, flaking can be liberating when done correctly, since it can relieve the pressure of always needing an excuse for not fulfilling an obligation.

Years ago, when I lived in Southern California, I worked with an extremely responsible project manager I’ll call Rocco. Rocco was reliable to the point of neurosis. Accountable to a fault, he was a first-guy-in-the-office guy whose shirts were always pressed and whose meetings started and ended on time. Everyone liked Rocco, but we also wished he would lighten up a little.

One day, Rocco didn’t make it to a scheduled meeting. The next time we saw him, we asked 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 flaked!”

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