Author Topic: S/O Late again...why wait???  (Read 7404 times)

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Softly Spoken

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S/O Late again...why wait???
« on: February 09, 2013, 05:34:11 AM »
So when reading through the discussion in this thread, I found myself resisting the urge to *headdesk*...

Can anyone explain to me why we wait for people who are late?

I know that "life happens." I am not unsympathetic. I understand that some circumstances are more casual than others and therefore you have varying degrees of offense...giving people 5 or 10 minutes if you can spare them is all well and good.

However, I believe if a host makes the decision to wait for a tardy guest, they are being rude to all their other guests. I have read many posts on this site from people complaining about family members and friends being chronically and horribly late to special events...and it seems 8 out of 10 times the OP mentions how long they had to wait for the person. I would like to know where exactly in the etiquette book it states that someone who does not wait for a late person is the "rude" one! The fact that an individual is unable to keep their commitments, then has the gall to play the wounded party, is beyond my comprehension. I also do not understand the logic of waiting for a person when you can proceed without them. The late person may be at fault for being late, but shouldn't the inconvenienced party own the choice to extend their inconvenience by putting things on hold for the sake of the special snowflake who is dithering around? If waiting was so bad, why did they do it?!?! What right does the tardy party have to expect the world to stop turning just for them? In the thread that spawned this one, my sympathy for the OPs situation was diluted by the fact that she said she waited outside for Late Friend for over 2 hours - who is that masochistic?  :o Why martyr yourself when you could have moved on/ gone in 1 hr and 45 min ago and enjoyed yourself?

When I am late, I apologize. It doesn't matter if your lateness is your fault or not - it inconvenienced others and you should regret that.

Why do we take on the responsibility of others when they are late? This is not "polite spine" behavior!

Like the OP in the other thread, I purchased tickets to see the King Tut exhibit before it was shipped back the Egypt. I used my member discount to get tickets for myself, my brother, my exBF "M" and her mother, as well as two of M's others friends. M reimbursed me and I gave her the tickets. When we discussed how to get to the exhibit, it was decided we would go down together in M's car. When I asked M about Friend 1 and Friend 2 (aware that her car only sat 4), she reminded me that F1 (who I had met and hung out with) was always chronically late, and she assured me that F2 (who I had not met) was just as flakey. She said that they could travel together and if they kept to their tardy ways it would just be tough cookies for them. She made a point of giving F1 their 2 tickets so that a) they could still get in if they were late and b) if they were late, it would not be our problem. ::)

Me, Bro, M and M's Mom arrived early, which at an event like that actually translates to "on time." F1 and F2 were not late, but they cut it very close - if we had waited for them we would not have gotten the good movie seats that we did (which we earned by coming early enough to be first in line).

I just don't understand why so many of us have been trained to cave in to others' rudeness of being late.  ???

Why do we bother to wait for late people, and who (besides their own egos) told them it was okay to constantly be late??  :(

PS: Would love to hear some stories from sturdy-spined people who stopped waiting...just to restore my faith in humanity a little?  ;)
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LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 07:05:22 AM »
So when reading through the discussion in this thread, I found myself resisting the urge to *headdesk*...

Can anyone explain to me why we wait for people who are late?

I know that "life happens." I am not unsympathetic. I understand that some circumstances are more casual than others and therefore you have varying degrees of offense...giving people 5 or 10 minutes if you can spare them is all well and good.

However, I believe if a host makes the decision to wait for a tardy guest, they are being rude to all their other guests. I have read many posts on this site from people complaining about family members and friends being chronically and horribly late to special events...and it seems 8 out of 10 times the OP mentions how long they had to wait for the person. I would like to know where exactly in the etiquette book it states that someone who does not wait for a late person is the "rude" one! The fact that an individual is unable to keep their commitments, then has the gall to play the wounded party, is beyond my comprehension. I also do not understand the logic of waiting for a person when you can proceed without them. The late person may be at fault for being late, but shouldn't the inconvenienced party own the choice to extend their inconvenience by putting things on hold for the sake of the special snowflake who is dithering around? If waiting was so bad, why did they do it?!?! What right does the tardy party have to expect the world to stop turning just for them? In the thread that spawned this one, my sympathy for the OPs situation was diluted by the fact that she said she waited outside for Late Friend for over 2 hours - who is that masochistic?  :o Why martyr yourself when you could have moved on/ gone in 1 hr and 45 min ago and enjoyed yourself?

When I am late, I apologize. It doesn't matter if your lateness is your fault or not - it inconvenienced others and you should regret that.

Why do we take on the responsibility of others when they are late? This is not "polite spine" behavior!

Like the OP in the other thread, I purchased tickets to see the King Tut exhibit before it was shipped back the Egypt. I used my member discount to get tickets for myself, my brother, my exBF "M" and her mother, as well as two of M's others friends. M reimbursed me and I gave her the tickets. When we discussed how to get to the exhibit, it was decided we would go down together in M's car. When I asked M about Friend 1 and Friend 2 (aware that her car only sat 4), she reminded me that F1 (who I had met and hung out with) was always chronically late, and she assured me that F2 (who I had not met) was just as flakey. She said that they could travel together and if they kept to their tardy ways it would just be tough cookies for them. She made a point of giving F1 their 2 tickets so that a) they could still get in if they were late and b) if they were late, it would not be our problem. ::)

Me, Bro, M and M's Mom arrived early, which at an event like that actually translates to "on time." F1 and F2 were not late, but they cut it very close - if we had waited for them we would not have gotten the good movie seats that we did (which we earned by coming early enough to be first in line).

I just don't understand why so many of us have been trained to cave in to others' rudeness of being late.  ???

Why do we bother to wait for late people, and who (besides their own egos) told them it was okay to constantly be late??  :(

PS: Would love to hear some stories from sturdy-spined people who stopped waiting...just to restore my faith in humanity a little?  ;)

I think that forcing those guests who were on time to wait until those who are extremely (more than 10 or 15 minutes) late is horrible. By delaying serving food until the rest show up, you are rewarding the late people, and punishing those who are on time.

And it could generate bad will in the timely people (who might be hungry and who must smell those tantalizing aromas in your home) toward both the host and the late-comers. I'd rather risk the anger of the former than that of those who could be bothered to meet their obligation to be on time.

m2kbug

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 07:27:31 AM »
In the case of the other thread, the amount of time the OP waited had me scratching my head more than anything else.  Sure, wait 20-30 minutes but to wait for one to two hours??  That's too much.  Even 30 minutes is too much, but I will do it for people here and there.  Not repeatedly, mind you, but sure, why not? 

We had a few family members who were chronically late.  It really got to where you try to get everyone to the house at 5 but don't plan on actually sitting down to eat until 6 or 6:30.  Don't arrive hungry.

Then there was the church-wait time.  We'd go to the morning service with them because of some important thing that was happening, but then have to wait a couple ours while they did their other church stuff, so I decided to skip the the church part (depending on what the important thing was) and just arrive when their church obligations were completed because of that long wait time and potential tardiness that inevitably followed.  My husband was free to do what he wanted, but for me, killing time for a couple hours got really old, really fast.  We often took two cars, which actually worked out well because it gave him the freedom to spend more time with his family and do what he wanted to do, and I could take off with the cranky baby if need be and not wait around for people to show up. 

People not being on time seemed to be his family's "normal" while it left me pulling my hair out.

When these meals were hosted in my home (the family meals always included a little bit of pot luck), I didn't put the chronically late in charge of anything important meal-wise so that we could go ahead and start without them.  The first time I hosted, I had them in charge of drinks.  I was so upset I didn't have anything to offer other than water thanks to their tardiness.  We were in a rural area, so running to the store was not really an option.  Lesson learned.  Put them in charge of dessert and have a couple desserts available just in case or put them in charge of something inexpensive I could cover myself and could be frozen for later consumption if they happen to show up on time.

I think it's more or less a live and learn type of a situation.  Surely M and her friends got stuck waiting on the flakes more than once and came up with a solution that seems to work for everyone involved, which is not to rely on the flakes to be on time and certainly don't rely on them for transportation.  I don't know how M handled the money situation, but it was probably in her best interest to collect the money for the tickets up front or not buy them at all.  You didn't get stuck paying for two flakey tickets, as M reimbursed you, so for you, that part worked out. 

You work around people's flaws if you want to maintain the friendship.  You learn when to rely on them and when not to.  I don't think I would have waited as long as the OP in the other post did.  She did it twice and now she's done.  I think I'd top off at two tries too, maybe three.  I think it's reasonable to give them the benefit of the doubt at first.  Then you stop making accommodations.  If it's important enough to the flakey friend, they'll work on being on time. 

And I agree, it's rude to keep your dinner guests waiting, and it's rude of the flakey friend to be perpetually late and everyone has to wait on them, but, again, I think this just comes down to personal choices and working with people's flaws.  You try to find a solution that doesn't kill your own sanity.   :)  You can agree to get together, and stop waiting after an allotted time and proceed without them. 

audrey1962

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 08:34:04 AM »
I don't wait. I give 15-20 minutes and then do whatever it is I was going to do. Of course I make exceptions if warranted. But for chronic latecomers, I just start without them. I tell them too, either when we make the plans or when they eventually show up.

I did this to my sister when she was two hours late for our parent's anniversary dinner. We called, asked where she was, then told her we were eating without her. OTOH, there was another party where several people were late due to a freak storm that resulted in a road closure. We waited for them because their lateness was out of their control.

Miss March

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 08:50:49 AM »
I once had two co-workers- Heather and Marie. Marie's car was in the shop for the week and she asked Heather for a ride to work. On Monday morning, she was ready to go when Heather pulled in her driveway. On Tuesday morning, she signaled for Heather to wait and took a few minutes, causing Heather to clock in 10 minutes late. Heather told Marie that she couldn't be late again. On Wednesday morning, when Heather pulled up to Marie's house and Marie waved for her to wait out the window, Heather left immediately. It was mighty frosty at work that day when Marie  stomped in over an hour late for her shift, but you can believe that she was on time for her ride the last 2 days of the week.
He had no choice, he had told her, and then he left, choosing.-- George R.R. Martin

oceanus

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 09:23:06 AM »
People who are chronically late do so because they know there is no consequence for their rude, lazy behavior.  They know nothing will happen to them because they’ve always been late and others have tolerated it.  As I said in the other thread, we teach others how to treat us.

However, if the tardy person has a job where they can be disciplined and/or fired for being late they are on time.  Interesting, huh?  When there is a consequence for their behavior, they arrive on time.

If others would leave after waiting 15 minutes, or go head and serve the others, or stop inviting the late person, or even end the friendship they might change.

I have low/no tolerance for being held prisoner by late people.  In a few instances I had to tell them “We are leaving at 7:00 – not 7:15, and not 7:30.  If you arrive after 7:00, I/we won’t be there.  I'm not going to call, and don't bother calling me with excuses." And I stuck to my guns.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 10:23:07 AM by oceanus »

Zilla

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 10:19:31 AM »
My family back in my home state are chronically late.  We counter this by telling them a different time than the rest of the guests.  Dinner at 8?  We tell family it's at 7 and they will walk in on time at 8.
Or we just start without them.  It's simple as that.  And some just never learn to be on time but they need to accept the consequence of being late.  Now on the flip side of the coin, if you have a chronically late friend, you can't get mad every time they are late either.  So in a way you make a choice to put up with it or not be their friend anymore. 

m2kbug

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 10:26:07 AM »
My family back in my home state are chronically late.  We counter this by telling them a different time than the rest of the guests.  Dinner at 8?  We tell family it's at 7 and they will walk in on time at 8.
Or we just start without them.  It's simple as that. 

I have employed this method.

oceanus

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 10:37:41 AM »
I don't know if anyone alse has had this reaction, but I find it interesting how, when confronted (or when the late person catches up with the others) they turn the tables:
"YOU are being unreasonable. 
When things don't go YOUR way YOU get an attitude.
Well, excuuuuuse me for having a hectic life.  Guess I'm supposed to ignore my kids to accommodate YOU."

Yeah.  Riiiiiight.   ::)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 10:54:28 AM by oceanus »

Coley

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2013, 10:49:18 AM »
This is a great question. I had a friend in college who was perpetually late for everything. It was so frustrating to wait for her. Then one day, I got fed up and told her I was tired of waiting for her all the time. She was stunned -- like the friend in the other post was -- that I would have a problem with waiting for her. After all, she had X problem, and Q problem, and H problem or whatever problem. There was always an excuse and no responsibility or apology for the behavior.

I dislike excuses for chronic lateness. Most of the time there really isn't an excuse for it. "I just didn't plan well" would be honest. And so I stopped waiting for my friend. And the friendship died out. She apparently expected me to wait around for her.

She is the last person I ever waited for. I will wait 10-15 minutes, and after that, I reserve the right to go on about my day. The decent thing for a late person to do is attempt to call or text or otherwise contact the waiting person. If that doesn't happen, then what am I waiting around for?

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2013, 10:50:00 AM »
I don't know if anyone alse has had this reaction, but I find it interesting how, when confronted (or when the late person catches up with the others) they turn the tables:
"YOU are being unreasonable. 
When things don't go YOUR way YOU get an attitude.
Well, excuuuuuse me for having a hectic life.  Guess I'm suppused to ignore my kids to accommodate YOU."

Yeah.  Riiiiiight.   ::)

Those people are Special Snowflakes and bullies. They can either get over their anger and get with the program, or they can die mad...and probably be late for their own funerals.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 10:59:43 AM by LeveeWoman »

Luci45

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 10:51:47 AM »
I have 45 years of stories about my "Late brother in law." I finally figured out that they are just have no clue how long tasks take. We did finally convince my mother in law to go ahead and eat dinner, which we still continue.

The only time they were early was when they were 23 hours early because they got the days mixed up, so were technically 1 hour late. (It was at my MIL's home, and she could handle it - actually enjoyed it.)

The best was a couple of years ago to attend beloved Aunt Bea's funeral. We (reluctantly) drove BIL and SIL. They had learned that we always leave as planned (more stories there) and were 45 minutes early to meet in the motel lobby. That's when I figured out that they just have no planning skills.

After the funeral, we were getting ready to go to the cemetery, which takes about 20 minutes of closing things up, gathering coats and kids, getting into cars, and getting the hearse and flowers ready. My SIL decided to go to the ladies' room at the last minute. She has no urgency problems, just bad planning. The procession, including us, left without her.............Got'ta tell you, it was a pretty chilly 6 hour ride home, and not because of the weather.

CluelessBride

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 10:58:31 AM »

However, I believe if a host makes the decision to wait for a tardy guest, they are being rude to all their other guests.

I think a host not planning to allow for an arrival window is poor planning. I absolutely agree that delaying dinner by an hour to accommodate late guests is rude to the other attendees. But if you plan to serve dinner at 7pm, issue the invitation for 6:30 and have appetizers, etc waiting. Because arriving for a party early can be just as rude (or even more rude depending on your circle) and the host may not be ready for you (which of course starts the "how early is too early" debate). And the variability of travel time and traffic means that it's just not practical to expect everyone to be able to arrive at 7pm on the dot. So to avoid both guests having to hang around in their cars or around the block until the start time or showing up after dinner has been served you plan a grace period. It also improves the flow of welcoming people to your home and introducing people to each other if they trickle in instead of all arriving at the same time.

Most invitations in my circle are issued with a start time and a dinner/event time. For example "Movie watching party April 3, 2013 7pm"  and then in the details it will say "'Dances with Wolves' will start at 7:30".  It lets people know to arrive no earlier than 7, but no later than 7:20ish so they can get situated for the start of the movie.

mmswm

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 11:01:40 AM »
I give a pass in some situations, but for the most part, I don't wait more than 15 minutes.  My list of "free passes"

-Brand new parents:  when a people are adjusting to life with a new baby, sometimes they underestimate the amount of time they need to get organized and out of the house. Whether it's their first or 5th baby, adjusting to a new and totally dependent little person takes time.  I figure by the time the new baby is a couple months old, the new parents have figured it out for the most part, but those first few months, they get to use the new baby card and I forgive them.

-Bad weather:  Even if you leave with the weather in mind, things can still happen. I always budget a little bit more forgiveness in the middle of a blizzard or other major weather event.

-Any sort of accident that's bad enough to make the news.

-Anybody dealing with a chronic illness.  I have enough friends with things like RA and Lupus to know that even if they budget more than enough time to get ready, things happen that slow them down.

Now, most of the time, with bad weather being the exception, it would be nice if the person would call me to let me know what's going on so I don't sit there and worry.  My friends know that I'm generally pretty loose with my schedule, and a quick phone call saying "I had XYZ happen and I'm just now getting into my car", is enough to keep me from getting annoyed.  If bad weather is the issue, I do not want a phone call, because that would just be unsafe.

otterwoman

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Re: S/O Late again...why wait???
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2013, 11:40:56 AM »
I grew up with a mother who would announce that she was leaving at 3pm to do go "fun thing". If you were waiting at the front door, ready to go at 3pm, you could go with her. If you weren't there ready, she'd leave without you. After getting left behind a few times, I learned to be on time.

I do that with my friends, announce the time I'm leaving and I leave at that time (unless I'm running late). I have left without people in the past.

However, my ability to be on time now is hampered by my autistic child. Meltdowns happen.