friend is late to plans 95% of the time
October 19, 2014 3:57 PM   Subscribe

How to handle issues regarding a friend who is typically late to nearly all our plans?

I've known this girl for a little less than a year. I am a single woman, so is she. Trying to go out and meet new friends, men, etc. In our 40s. Not easy to find a lot of single girlfriends this age it seems as so many are married or with kids.

So if I counted the 20 times we have made plans together, I'd say 17 plus are when she shows up late. Lateness is typically between 30 min to 1 hour late - Occasionally 15 min late but more typically up to 1 hour.

I have been commenting on it now and then, altered my plans by not relying on her for transportation, inviting others to be there as well so I don't have to wait alone. So I had it and last night told her how upsetting it is. She gets upset and turns it on me stating that I am "generalizing" because I said she is "always" late. Then she tells me I just have to "trust" more that everything will be ok because she knows that others will be there so I should be able to be happy to be there with others instead of her.

So, any suggestions as to what I should do or say next? Should I just bail? I think that is where I am leaning. Not interested in people telling me I am just too sensitive or making a big deal out of nothing, as it seems that was her approach already.

Thanks guys.
posted by bananaskin to Human Relations (46 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You could try to make plans with her and add in an allowance for her lateness. If you want to meet at 1:30PM, arrange with her to meet at 1:00PM.

Personally, I'd just not bother. Things go wrong sometimes, and people are late. But they can generally send you a text message, or something to let you know. And that's only for emergencies. 17 times out of 20 is sending you a message. If you're not OK with this, then stop putting up with it.

Honestly, if she's said that you should be happy that you're there with other people and not her, then she's giving you the answer on a plate. Be happy there with others and leave her out of it.
posted by Solomon at 4:02 PM on October 19, 2014 [17 favorites]

What Solomon said, but harder: She doesn't care enough about you to respect your time, even after you've told her that her tardiness upsets you. Give her one or two more chances to start respecting you, and then start doing things without her when she's late. Don't wait for her anymore.
posted by Etrigan at 4:04 PM on October 19, 2014 [11 favorites]

Are these plans like "going bowling with 2 or 3 others and she shows up late" or like "dinner for 2 and you're stuck hungry waiting for her." Because if the latter, stop making those kind of 1-on-1 plans with her, and only make the first kind. Just make plans where if she's late it doesn't matter (parties, potlucks etc) Anything time sensitive (movies, dinner) just don't even try.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:05 PM on October 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

Also I have a friend like this. I go over to his house, and then we go places, or we just sit around there. It's very harmonious.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:07 PM on October 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

My husband is like this. He's improved. For a while I just told him things started 30 min before they did.

The other thing I started doing was ditching him. "I had one drink at the bar and then went home."
posted by warriorqueen at 4:07 PM on October 19, 2014 [16 favorites]

Best answer: Congratulations on finding the perfect wing-man. She's a flake who sounds very selfish. Any guy who would want her wouldn't be interested in a nice lady like you. She's a non-compete. Keep her around and use her lateness. You now have a valid excuse for sitting in a bar or restaurant alone- you are waiting for a friend. Men are more likely to approach you if you are alone.

Don't count on this woman for anything. She will use you. She will never be there for you. Use her as long as you can stand her.
posted by myselfasme at 4:07 PM on October 19, 2014 [18 favorites]

What you're talking about is very frustrating.

My experience is that she is very unlikely to change this behavior. It seems to me that she just told you as much. If you plan to meet her she is going to be late.

One option is, as you put it, to bail and just quit hanging out with her altogether. The other is to only invite her to group events or to situations where her being late won't mess you up (i.e. she's coming over to your house and you have stuff to do there anyway).

I wouldn't take it personally. Just figure out if you can fit a late person into your life, and try not to expect something that she's not able to give. I have gotten really bent out of shape with this with my own late person, feeling like they don't respect me, or don't care enough about me to be on time, but I think that line of thought just isn't helpful or useful to anybody. The late person is late, and you can bail on the friendship, or you can work around it. It's a loss to you, to her, and to your friendship that she isn't able to be a better, more punctual friend, but her lateness is a reality.
posted by sockanalia at 4:11 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

While routine lateness is certainly rude, some people are just always tardy, and I don't think it is helpful to see it as a form of communication with you or a reflection of how much they value you and your friendship. A personality flaw, sure, but not one that needs to be taken personally.

Practically speaking, I find it best to make plans to meet the chronically late at their house and head off from there. That way, you aren't stuck outside in the cold or twiddling your thumbs and you can try to herd the tardy one out the door a little faster.
posted by girl flaneur at 4:12 PM on October 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

There are lots of reasons why people are like this. It could be a general lack of respect towards other people, but it could likely be severe ADHD tendencies that skews their concept of time. I have a dear friend that is 100% the latter option. Discussions about this behavior have been awkward and didn't really fix anything. I believe this is due to the fact my friend was chronically late and never realized other people were "on time."

My advice is to just accept this as part of who she is. Whenever you schedule a meet up, plan on it really being 30 min later. Its not a perfect solution, but it will give you peace of mind and allow for you to keep being friends. However, if you just don't think you'll ever be okay with time being a super flexible concept in your friendship, just cut your losses. There is no reason to be friends with someone you'll resent.
posted by KMoney at 4:15 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

In the last paragraph of this previous answer, a similar situation is discussed. I thought it was brilliant.
posted by Michele in California at 4:25 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Her reaction to a very valid complaint is pretty unappealing, so yeah I'd lean towards bail.

I have friends like his I'm bailed on and friends like this I've kept. The reason I've kept some of them is because they are otherwise super lovely people who can't be on time to save their lives and never are. They are bad planners who have packed too much into their lives, live too far away, have too limited means of transportation, and all these things generally mean they will be up to an hour late to everything. I've mitigated this issue by almost exclusively only socializing with them in groups doing activities that aren't time sensitive and I only see them ever month or three. This way I'm excited to see them since I haven't in awhile and that overrides my annoyance at their lateness.

Another thing I do is just show up late myself. It's oddly freeing.

Of course none of my late friends I've kept around have ever tried to make their lateness my problem, so I would probably bail or keep her as a friendly acquaintance you invite to big parties and see a few times a year.
posted by whoaali at 4:25 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

For me it would depend on the nature of the activities (group, one on one, casual "last minute hangout" or specific preset plans, etc.)

I know a lot (a LOT) of people who don't really think it matters to be late to something like meeting for drinks with a couple friends, so I wouldn't really see that as a personality flaw. The more individual and formal the occasion, and the less likely she is to let you know when she's running late, the more I'd distance myself.
posted by celtalitha at 4:30 PM on October 19, 2014

While i do think you should plan around this and expect it, i always bristle when people associate it with some moral failing and lack of respect for other people. That is, until i got to this

She gets upset and turns it on me stating that I am "generalizing" because I said she is "always" late. Then she tells me I just have to "trust" more that everything will be ok because she knows that others will be there so I should be able to be happy to be there with others instead of her.

I would not associate with someone who responded to it this way. I have friends who are kind of perpetually late off and on, and so am i. Getting a "hey the bus didn't show until 25 minutes after it was supposed to" text is fine, even if it happens a lot. Getting this kind of bizarre "this is a you problem" reply would just make me not want to hang out with that person at all.

Seriously, i missed that line my first read and was about to write a number of reasonable explanations that aren't a sociopathic lack of respect for others like the bad sense of time/add/bad at estimating how long the various steps of getting ready and getting somewhere take thing. But nah, if she's going to drop shit like that on you just move on.

There's a difference between being late and being an asshole, they are not some forever entwined thing. And this is being an asshole while being late, and being all weird and gaslighty about it.
posted by emptythought at 4:32 PM on October 19, 2014 [8 favorites]

You just told her plainly that you have a problem with her lateness. She denied that she's "always" late. Now it 's up to her to show you how much she values your feelings. I think you need to give her a chance to come through, and if she doesn't then you can figure out how you want to approach it. I certainly wouldn't wait on her, not one more time. Just figure out how much time you are willing to give her, and bail if she doesn't show up. If it blows up, well, you held up your end of the friendship by being completely up front about it in the first place and can just keep calmly repeating that you've already said all you intend to say on the subject.

Also...another MeFi standby: If a person tells you how they really are, you need to believe them.
posted by raisingsand at 4:41 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not showing up until 30-60 minutes after the time you're expected to be somewhere is not "late"--it's absent. Habitually failing to be somewhere until 30-60 minutes after you're expected to be there is not something adults should do, in my opinion, and I don't think the habitually late person should expect people to wait for them or that you should pretend the 10:00 movie starts at 9:00 just so they can get their shit together.

Frankly, I'd stop making plans with this woman because her response indicates no concern for your time or your feelings. If "she knows that others will be there so I should be able to be happy to be there with others instead of her", make plans with other people, not her.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:43 PM on October 19, 2014 [14 favorites]

Only meet at her house if you're truly fine with hanging and chatting while she's still rummaging around and getting ready. If you lie to yourself on that point, you'll just sit there in quiet bitterness. (I may or may not be, but definitely am speaking from experience.)

At some point I decided to quit expecting anything of that always-late friend, and I'm much happier for it. Now if/when she doesn't show, I just text that I'm moving on without her and she can meet up at Bar X if she likes. We're not as close anymore, but that's okay.
posted by jenmakes at 5:09 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have an acquaintance I thought I wanted to make a friend. She showed up an hour late to our second (one-on-one) meetup; she had said she gotten lost (we live about an hour apart; we were meeting near me) and she paid for my lunch, so I figured "Shit happens" and let it go. We then arranged to meet up a few weeks later for dinner, one-on-one, in her town, and she was 45 minutes late, with no real explanation. That was almost a year ago, and I haven't bothered to follow up with her because I don't really enjoy sitting by myself for an hour waiting for someone else. I'm fine going out by myself, but waiting for someone is just different. She recently emailed saying we should meet up for drinks and I'm very much leaving it as a "Sure, let me know when you're going to be in my neighborhood," because I'm not going to go out of my way to spend time driving somewhere just to wait for her.

I can't imagine putting up with that 17 times. That's not okay.

I often run 10 minutes late and I hate that I do that, and so I try to give everyone a 10-15 minute window without holding it against them at all. But habitually 30-60 minutes is totally inexcusable, and her response to your bringing it up was not at all compassionate. If she's friends with any of your other friends, I would maybe keep inviting her to group activities but assume that she won't be there, but I certainly wouldn't invite her to anything where her not-showing-up would upset the plans. And if you're finding that you're resentful even when it's a group activity, then I'd prioritize your own emotional well-being and drop her. Spending a bunch of energy being frustrated with her flakiness is not going to help your overall social life.
posted by jaguar at 5:10 PM on October 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

No, no, no. Dump her. Her dismissiveness makes her someone you absolutely don't want as a friend of any sort.
posted by cecic at 5:24 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have a friend who is always late to things, and I adore her, and will never friend-dump her for being late. That's who she is, and like my friend who has to fix her hair and lipstick every half hour, that's just part of her quirky charm. I do plan around it, though. I'm usually 5-10 late myself, so I've got no room to talk, but when someone is 30-60 minutes behind that does change plans. So, I've adapted. In general, I make group plans that include her. We get to the restaurant and by N:15, we get a table with a chair for her (she's not a flake, she *will* be there) and we get a round of drinks and order our nachos. When the nachos arrive it's N:35-N:45, and we call her to see if we should order her dinner. She's there by N:45 or N:50, and we proceed to have a good time until (N+3):00. I don't carpool with her, and when I'm meeting her one on one, I pick something with built-in flexibility. No lunch in a 1-hour window, but I'll go downtown, hang around, go to the shops, and she'll text me when she parks and I'll meet her back at the cafe for lunch. Sometimes that's 30 minutes late, sometimes it's right on the dot, whatever.
The thing is, she knows she's late. She's only mildly apologetic (but would be appropriately contrite if it were a situation that it mattered - a schedule, standing in the rain, etc) but she's well aware that she's frequently late. If I were to say to her, "look, I just can't do the late thing, it's driving me nuts, can you please just be there at 6:30, or if you can't get there by then, we'll say 7pm, but for the love of pete just be there at the time we agree on!" then she would say "okay, absolutely, I get it, I will meet you at exactly 6:45pm." She would not try to deny her lateness, or be upset with me for asking.

So, it sounds like this woman is a not-close friend. Not a good friend, becoming an inconvenient friend, and most recently acting like a rude friend. It's not her lateness that makes me say you should consider dumping her, but her attitude.
posted by aimedwander at 5:36 PM on October 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah. No one needs friends that don't listen when you tell them that there's something going on with the friendship. People who blame others for problems they're in fact causing are the worst kind of people. They're manipulative and immature.

You deserve better. Kudos on you for having the conversation with her. Telling someone that something is problematic in your relationship is hard to do! This one is all on her. The way she's behaving is classic jerky, selfish behavior. Drop her and find friends that value you.
posted by sockermom at 5:38 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

She doesn't care enough about you to respect your time,

Sometimes people have really chaotic lives that they are embarrassed about, so their explanations for lateness sound shitty. I wouldn't automatically assume she doesn't care about you.
posted by corb at 5:58 PM on October 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

...stating that I am "generalizing" because I said she is "always" late. Then she tells me I just have to "trust" more that everything will be ok because she knows that others will be there so I should be able to be happy to be there with others instead of her.

This is weird to me because she first gets mad and says you are generalizing but then follows that up with what sounds to me like she is saying she doesn't have to be on time because she knows you are with other people. I think most people are willing to forgive a lot if the offending party is contrite but that was a crappy response.

I'd have to be done with this alleged friendship. Assuming you tried to express your frustration in an appropriate manner, and she responded in the way she did, I don't think you are getting much out of the friendship. Maybe she does have ADHD or a chaotic life or whatever, that still shouldn't preclude at least a text saying "Hey, running late. Be there in 20 minutes." If a person's life is so messed up, she can't manage a text, maybe she shouldn't be going out in the first place.
posted by Beti at 6:01 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: People who are always late often have a hard time facing how disrespectful it is and also rarely do well at fixing it. I'd just start showing up 30-40 minutes late myself. Or, dump her if you can't get over her ridiculous response to your legitimate complaint.
posted by quince at 6:09 PM on October 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

I am inadvertently this person due to ADD making it too easy for me to get distracted from whatever I need to do to get out the door on time. I've spent my whole life trying to fix this to no avail. My husband copes by just lying to me about the start time of anything he really wants us to arrive at on time.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:12 PM on October 19, 2014

I am one of these people who is always late (more like 20 minutes than an hour, but still). I don't have ADD and I don't mean it as a sign of disrespect - I'm bad at judging how long things take to do. It's not something I'm proud of, and I'm trying to change, but I haven't fixed it yet. When someone complains about it to me, I apologize and try to do better next time, as I would if they pointed out any other socially obnoxious habit. If I denied it was happening, I'd look like an idiot.
She's probably not even going going to try to change, since her response suggests she doesn't think it's a problem. As a fellow chronically late person, I give you permission to dump her.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 6:17 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is she late for everything? I mean, absolutely everything? Is she an hour late for work, or church or catching a plane? I ask this as someone who used to date a man who constantly left me waiting for half an hour, an hour, three, or just didn't bother to turn up at all. And when I mean all the time, I'm talking, three times a week. He always had excuses. When I asked him why he was never late for work, he told me that work was important and of course he wouldn't be late for that! Needless to say we are not together any more.

So my point is, if this person can manage to show up to work on time, she is capable of keeping appointments - the ones that matter. You clearly don't. She's told you and she's shown you again and again. Believe her. She's a disrespectful jerk, and not worth your time and certainly not worth waiting around for.
posted by Jubey at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2014 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I was this person in my late teens and early 20s.

Then I *grew up* and realized what an ass I was being to everyone in my life. There's quite simply no valid excuse whatsoever for routine lateness like this. None.

You need to tell her directly that you can't and won't wait around for her anymore.

Give her 15 minutes grace period--the same that every restaurant in North America does--and then leave. Let her figure out what happened when nobody is there when she finally arrives.
posted by yellowcandy at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sometimes people have really chaotic lives that they are embarrassed about, so their explanations for lateness sound shitty. I wouldn't automatically assume she doesn't care about you.
It's her response to being asked about being late that makes it clear that this "friend" at best doesn't respect you. Yeah, sometimes people are late. I treated all of my friends poorly and was often late when I was in an abusive relationship because I was caught in a very complex web. I regret it but I now really respect the people I loved at the time who set firm and good boundaries with me. They did the right thing. They took care of themselves and did not let my behavior, which was at times very selfish and very rude (and yes, I had reasons for acting that way, but that doesn't make it less crummy for the people I treated poorly) pull them away from their lives. I was not a good friend at the time. I simply was unable to be. I respect the people who didn't get too far involved in my life because they respected themselves enough to not attach themselves to someone who wasn't giving anything back to the relationship.

Whether this friend is rude and gaslighting and pushing her lateness on you because she has a chaotic home life, or whether she is just a jerk - it doesn't matter. She's not treating you well and that's what matters.
posted by sockermom at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Your friend's response to being confronted wasn't ideal. It would have been nice if she had been contrite, but here's the thing: as you describe it, this has been an issue that has annoyed you for some time, and while you have mentioned it in passing, after yet another case of lateness, you just let everything out and told her she is always late and this makes you mad. While we can all agree that she should have been more empathetic to your (quite reasonable) frustration, very few of us can actually manage this sort of empathy in the moment of direct confrontation. The response to most challenges of this kind is defensiveness; we don't want to be seen as bad people (hence the worry about "generalizing"), and we will try anything to avoid it, even if this ends up being counter-productive.

You are obviously under no obligation to maintain this relationship; if your irritation trumps what you get out of the friendship, then ending the relationship would be wise. Maybe she is, as commentators above have suggested, a disrespectful and untrustworthy person. But maybe she is simply an imperfect person who doesn't handle criticism well because she values you and wants you to think highly of her.
posted by girl flaneur at 6:48 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Someone who wants you to think highly of them generally won't leave you waiting seventeen times in a row without an apology...
posted by Jubey at 6:51 PM on October 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

One of my dearest friends is chronically late; they live in a city with traffic so terrible that everybody leaves an hour to get anywhere so it kind of evens out for their professional life, but for special occasions and doing stuff with friends we always just straight up lie to them about when they need to be somewhere. It's about a 20 minute shift earlier, although the farther out from the occasion, the less difference from the actual start there is. Later that day? They're told to arrive at least half an hour early. A month from now? They're told the actual time, and subsequently reminded for progressively earlier times.

It's worth it for my friend. This is a person who I would give an organ to. Perhaps it is not worth the hassle in your situation.
posted by Mizu at 6:56 PM on October 19, 2014

she knows that others will be there so I should be able to be happy to be there with others instead of her

It appears that she provided you the exact reasoning that you need to decide that her presence in your life is superfluous.


(There was a thread about tardiness on the Blue a while back.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:00 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Someone who wants you to think highly of them generally won't leave you waiting seventeen times in a row without an apology...

Someone who is chronically late may not be successful in getting people to think highly of her, but it doesn't follow that she does not want to be thought well of. This desire is the root of all defensiveness.
posted by girl flaneur at 7:04 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have had otherwise good friends (kind, supportive, intelligent, creative, etc.) who were perpetually late. They were late for everything, with everybody. They were siblings, and it seemed to be a family thing. When criticized for their lateness, they'd just kind of shrug, and joke about not having the on-time gene, or something equally ridiculous. It was clear they saw the problem, but weren't interested in changing. I valued them as friends, but my getting angry at them for being late was starting to strain our friendship, so I stopped doing things with them that were time-sensitive.

In addition to the good ideas above: I stopped inviting them to get dinner and a movie, because they'd be late for dinner, and dinner would then be rushed, and we'd often get to the theater late anyway despite rushing dinner, and I'd end up feeling stressed and annoyed the whole time. I'd suggest instead that we eat dinner on our own, go to the movie, and go out after for ice cream. I warned them that I was going to get my movie tickets and go in on time, and I might not be able to save them a seat if it was crowded. This worked out perfectly for us. I don't care much about sitting next to my friends silently in the dark during the movie, anyway, and with this plan we would get to hang out afterward and discuss the movie, which is the fun part, really.

If you genuinely like this person, just find ways to interact where their tardiness doesn't push your buttons.
posted by BrashTech at 7:08 PM on October 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me seventeen or more times, shame on me.

I am never, ever late. Ever. For any reason. If I am late, it is because I am laying dead in a ditch on the side of the road. If I am late, don't try my cell, just call emergency services. I consider it incredibly disrespectful for others to be late and I am the least forgiving person ever. But! But even I give people a 10-15 minute grace period. Shit happens to mere mortals. Beyond that, though, they get nothing. It's far too frustrating for me to have to be polite to people who don't think my time is important.

So my advice is to bail on this woman. Maybe even go out with a bang: Make a great one-on-one plan and then stand her up. (Yeah, yeah. Two wrongs don't make a right--but it damn sure makes it even.)

Truly though, your "friend" sounds like a jerk. And just because it's hard to find single forty-something women friends doesn't mean that you have to invite every jerk into your life who fits that description.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 7:11 PM on October 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

I really doubt her lateness reflects an intention to disrespect you, and I'm reasonably confident it's an organizational issue. I'd just factor it in if you otherwise get along.

In some circles (e.g., mine), for nights out with a group, there's a general window of an hour when people might drift in (other than for things with set start times like concerts), no biggie. If someone comes closer to 9 than 8, it's assumed they had reasons. Acceptable reasons include "I was lazy" or "I felt like a late dinner". It's also assumed that people can handle themselves on their own in a bar. Maybe she's got those kinds of expectations.

Also, did you blow up at her?
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:16 PM on October 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, you guys. I didn't expect this many supportive responses. I feel validated and stronger. Things were verbalized in your responses that I wanted to think about but hadn't figured them out yet.

I think I know what to do now! I am, indeed, going to see that I have been shown who she is and I believe it, and that I will only plan to go to things with her only if other more reliable people are involved as well. And I am glad I spoke up to her, no matter her response.

On top of all this, I agree with what seems to be the consensus, that it is her response to the issue that is more a problem than the chronic lateness.

Thank you.
posted by bananaskin at 7:46 PM on October 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Cotton Dress Sock,
No, I did not blow up at her. Just voiced my frustration by saying about 3-4 sentences over the phone stating something like "This is so frustrating" , "You are late again!?", "This seems to happen so often".

Our plans are not like drifting into a group. They are when we are going to dinner, going to a show, meeting to share a cab on our way to a singles dance, meeting to go to a singles mingle party, stuff like that.
posted by bananaskin at 7:52 PM on October 19, 2014

She gets upset and turns it on me stating that I am "generalizing" because I said she is "always" late. Then she tells me I just have to "trust" more that everything will be ok because she knows that others will be there so I should be able to be happy to be there with others instead of her.

I would expect this kind of response from an 18-year-old, not somebody who has allegedly been in the adult world for a couple decades. As hard as it is to find friends (and as a fellow fortysomething, I know!), it's also degrading to your self-esteem to spend time and energy on somebody who can't be bothered to hold up their side of an agreed meeting time.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:35 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

My sister is chronically late to things. I work around this by lying to her about when things start (she knows I do it, and it all magically works out) and making sure we meet at a place I'm comfortable waiting. If I really need to her to be somewhere at a particular time, I show up at her house and usher her out the door. I used to go batshit crazy over this, but then I decided to stop letting it get to me. If she were a more casual friend and not one of my most important people, I'd probably let the relationship fade out, because I'm generally extremely punctual and I do not like it when others are not.
posted by ktkt at 9:15 PM on October 19, 2014

"If you want to meet at 1:30PM, arrange with her to meet at 1:00PM." I used to try this, but they know this one. If they arrive at 1:29 you will arrive at 1:30 and wait till 2:30 before giving up. Meanwhile, she waited for you until 1:30 and immediately left because she hasn't got the time to waste.

Accept the terms she dictates or stop meeting her. She's told you quite clearly that it's her way or the highway.
posted by tel3path at 12:37 AM on October 20, 2014

Or I meant to say she wouldn't wait for you until 1:30, she'd arrive at 1:30:01 and leave, you'd get there at 1:30:59, and she'd be already gone.
posted by tel3path at 1:53 AM on October 20, 2014

So I'm that guy jerk who's always late. (I'm working on it, honest).

Stop coddling. You're going to meet for something and she's late? Set a timer in your head for how long you'll wait, and then leave. "Why weren't you there?" "You were $time late, so I left." If she gets mad, just repeat; "You were late, I left." Don't accept excuses (other than death, blood, or fire). That doesn't mean you need to be confrontational about it, of course--you know how far you can push/want to push with her.

A friend of mine also used to employ the "We're meeting at 1 so I'll tell you 12:30" thing. Once I figured it out I was.. chagrined, to say the least. (And that was my impetus for trying to be better at this sort of thing.)

I guess what I'm saying is, if this is someone you want to retain as a friend, the only way forward is multiple strategies. Tell her to be there early, don't stick around if she's late, tell her how important it is for this event for her to be on time, etc. Even tell her "We need to meet at 1, if you're not there by 1:15 I'm gone." Set boundaries and stick to them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:16 AM on October 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

One of my dear friends and my sister are the people who are late because they actually think they can leave the house at 11:00 AM and:

Buy Dog Food
Get gas
Return a blouse at Marshalls
Pick up dry cleaning

AND drive across town to meet you for lunch at noon.

I'm not sure what the disconnect in the brain is, and they never intend to leave you waiting there in a crowded restaurant holding down a table for two with a basket of now stale bread and warm water, it just happens. It's always a flurry of texts and phone calls, "I'm almost there!" Usually texted from a line of customers at the return counter.

So, since we love these people, we make allowances. I don't get a table until they're in the parking lot. I pick a place in a mall, so I can wander around window shopping until someone shows up. I have a strategy.

But this is not a loved one, this is a running buddy. She sounds like a jerk to me, so I'd not make plans with her in the future. Instead, I'd do the slow fade.

Life's too short.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:05 AM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

See, when I have a friend or family member who's chronically late, I just refuse to do the "The event is at 1 PM so tell him 12:30 PM" thing. Just flat out refuse. I'm dealing with adults, not children, and as such, I shouldn't have to play chickenshit games and use mind tricks to manipulate people into acting with common decency. I'm actually kind of shocked that people will do that stuff, not the least reason for which is that the target eventually figures it out and knows you're giving him a soft deadline, at which point the whole thing just starts over again. Fuck that -- if you're so big a solipsist that you have no respect for my time or my feelings, I can find someone else to dance with. So yeah, I'd dump this lady, myself.
posted by holborne at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Great input from you all.

So I think I am doing the "slow fade" as referenced by one of you. Funny thing was that we never got to discuss or resolve it, as she said we would talk about it later because she had to get ready to come meet me (this being said via telephone while I was driving to the event and she still had not gotten dressed and ready to even start leaving home).

She never brought it up again. Acts like nothing is different.

Honestly, I am less upset about her lateness and more hurt by how she responded to me that night and how she does not handle it at all now. I found out what our friendship is really about, and it makes me sad because I see I was not accurate in my judgements.

I think here is a lesson: it's not so much that we will have faults, what matters is how we handle the issues in response to the outcome from our faults. That makes or breaks it.
posted by bananaskin at 11:34 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

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