Moment Of Clarity

Quiz: How Flaky Are You?

Pop quiz: How flaky are you? Our resident therapist helps you get your act together.
Credit: Thinkstock

We understand.  Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships,  friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice and insight every Tuesday.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Being a flaky person is worse than being incompetent. Why? Well, it tells people that you are unpredictable and unreliable, which can make you unappealing as a mate and/or colleague.

So, how flaky are you? If you are unsure, continue reading and then decide.

I should begin by clarifying that there’s a difference between being incompetent and flaky. Incompetent is just that – you’re unskilled and ineffective. There isn’t a lot there to mistake or overestimate. On the other hand, being flaky is the epitome of inconsistency, underperformance and self-centeredness.

While most people can be flaky from time to time, if there is a habit of flakiness then chances are, you have a problem. Answer the following questions to see how flaky you are.

1) Do you change your mind often? Second thoughts aside, how often do you go back and forth between yes and no? If you are wishy-washy and change your mind often, people are less likely to take you seriously. They are also less likely to care what you think. This can make it very awkward for you to establish credibility or even develop personal and professional networks.

Instead, try to avoid committing to anything right away, give yourself 24 hours, if possible, before you make a decision. This will allow you to check your calendar and/or decide if this is something you really want to do.

2) Do you clown around too much? Humor is a great tool to break the ice or even lighten up a tense moment. Too much humor can have a harmful effect and make it difficult to have quality time and discussion.

Instead, try breaking the ice and then flowing into the issue at hand or a lighter, more comfortable topic. This will allow you to make people comfortable around you and see that you have boundaries and know when to draw the line.

3) Are you too serious? While erring on the side of too much humor can be harmful, so can being too serious. A lack of balance can lead to people avoiding you and you feeling left out. A normal response to feeling left out is to try and be less serious. But because chances are you will be forcing it, you are more likely to change your mind at the last minute or midstream. Doing this makes you look fickle.

Instead, try to end a serious discussion with perspective. In other words, look at the bright side of the situation and identify the benefits for the other person/group.

4) Are you opportunistic? Do you engage others when you want/need something and then go AWOL when you don’t? This is a common transgression that many aspiring professionals make. While you may think that this makes you look like a go-getter, it actually makes you look like a user. For most people, users are considered to be the ultimate flake and are avoided when possible.

Instead, make sure you offer to help or be available when it does not benefit you. This does not mean that you are a servant to everyone. You just want to make sure that you at least give back as much as you take.

5) Do you take responsibility? No one wants to get the pointed finger; but if you did it, own it! Nothing says BIG FLAKE more than being unable or unwilling to take responsibility for your actions.

Instead, use these moments to grow and become a better person because of it. People will like you more and respect your courage and genuineness.

6) Do you keep your promises? “I’ll call you tomorrow. I will get this to you next week. I know this is last minute, but let’s reschedule.” Sound familiar? The worst thing you can do is fall through on your own commitments or break your word. When you do not keep your word, you have effectively wasted someone’s time and resources. And trust me, those transgressions are not soon forgotten. Your reputation is more important than their credit score. Failure to keep your word makes you flakier than a head of dandruff – YUCK!

Instead, take a lesson from #1 and think about the things to which you commit and make sure you can honor them. It is better to be early than late and while you may want to turn in an assignment by Wednesday, give yourself until Friday in case something comes up.  If you get it in Wednesday, people will think you’re efficient. If you get it in by Friday, they will think you’re reliable and keep your word. In any event, you look good.

So, how did you do?!

If you have at least one “yes,” then you fall into the life is busy category and are as flaky as the rest of us. You should work on getting better while you’re at an advantage, because it goes downhill from here. If you answered ‘yes’ to at least two questions, then look out – there is a habit forming! If you said “yes” to three or more questions, then it’s time to do some personal development. Look for a seasoned coach or therapist (seriously) and begin to work on becoming a less flakier you!

As always, I wish you pleasant journeys. With love and light …


Do you have a question for Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:

Her site at International High Achievers.

Twitter: @intlachievers

Facebook: Like Jinnie’s Page!

You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!