Dear Margo: What Do You Do With Bigoted Friends?

My friend is a racist — should I end our relationship? Margo Howard’s advice

What Do You Do with Bigoted and Blinkered Friends?

Dear Margo: My good friend “Linda” is a racist. Her granddaughter confided in her mother that she had feelings for an African-American boy. The mother found out that her daughter had two girlfriends who were dating African-American boys. Here’s what was said that put the “racist” stamp on my friend: “I ordered my daughter to instruct my granddaughter to sever the relationship with the two girls who are dating black boys.”

My jaw dropped. I didn’t know what to say. They are making “rules” for her selection of boys, which include: He must be white, he must be a Christian, and he must not be more than one or two years older. I’m pretty sure the young woman is going to rebel. My bigger problem, though, is that I don’t want to lose her friendship, but by the same token, I’m not a racist. I’m actually very liberal. After all, I am gay. –Fan in South Carolina

Dear Fan: Some people would find it difficult to maintain a friendship with someone whose basic values are so different from their own. Only you would know if you are one of those people. On the other hand, I have a few close friends who I regard as right-wing nuts, but … politics is an entirely different issue than racism.

Because this discovery is new to you (not sure how it never came up before, especially living in the South), give it some time and observe your response to Linda, knowing what you now know. The importance of principle might figure into this equation. Do you profoundly care about the issue, or is it just something you disagree with? In any case, it would be useful to tell your friend what is wrong with her position — though I doubt you will change her mind. Such prejudices are often deeply ingrained. Do remind her that it strikes you as narrow and un-Christian, in the extreme, to ban an entire group of people from your life based on the color of their skin. –Margo, constructively

What To Do When People Are Never On Time

Dear Margo: I have a question about people who are regularly late. If someone is late (and I wait between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on the situation), I simply go without them, take my kids wherever they need to go or whatever. I never mention it to the late person, except to call and say I am leaving (as in the case of a carpool).

For some reason, these late people get upset and tell me their “feelings were hurt” because I went ahead and did whatever it was. I’m tired of it. How about my feelings? I have to take time out of my day that I wasn’t planning on. What I usually say is, “You were late. I managed on my own.” But when I do say that, they get all defensive and tell me I have hurt their feelings. The only thing that comes to mind is “get over yourself.” Is there anything that can be said that isn’t “be on time and we won’t have this problem”? I’m at a loss. –Late-Averse

Dear Late: My mother had a saying I use to this day: “He who is prompt is lonesome.”

Punctuality is, alas, not highly valued by many people. However, I have never heard of the tardy person having hurt feelings when told someone just could not wait for them. I would suggest you take note of the people who are habitually late and not make plans with them because you can’t count on them. I see nothing wrong with, “You were late. I managed on my own.” If you’re feeling frisky, you could hum Randy Newman’s “Short People,” substituting the word “late” for “short.” –Margo, punctually

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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140 comments so far.

  1. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    The only person who could get away with being habitually late has just recently passed.  Attention late people!  You are NOT Elizabeth Taylor!

  2. avatar DonnaH says:

    LW#1  I have a cousin whose daughter married an African American.  My cousin announced he would have nothing to do with “that baby”.  My dad was upset, & I told him, “One of these days Daughter will just hand Baby to her dad without giving him a chance to refuse.  Baby will wrap her tiny fist around her grandpa’s finger, & around his heart at the same time.”
    That’s exactly what happened.  My cousin & his bi-racial grand daughter are inseparable when they visit each other & keep in close touch when they’re apart.
    LW#2  I used to have a dear friend who was chronically late.  I would agree to meet him for lunch or whatever, & learned to give him a time about a half-hour earlier than I really wanted to see him.   Then he’d be only a little late.  He was on time only once.  Jonathan lived with his elderly mom.  I told her what time I wanted him to be ready to be picked up, & he was standing on his front lawn when we pulled up to his house.

  3. avatar flyonthewall says:

    Fan in South Carolina, I wonder why you would still want to be friends with Linda.  Such a person would make me nervous.  I’ve tried being friends with the racist types and in my experience, it just doesn’t work.  The person is filled with such hate that it only becomes a matter of time before that person lashes out at you for thinking differently.  With you being gay and liberal, I’m surprised she hasn’t condemned you as the enemy.  Is this a business related friendship?  I’d be vary leery of her and try to distance myself as much as possible.

  4. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #2 – I happen to be one of those people that is notoriously late, so I plead guilty. I also have had MANY people wait for me, far longer than they should have, over and over again. I have always viewed it as disrespectful to them and their time, but I still do it. And the reasons I am always late are the same, my family and friends no me well, and it is rooted in vanity. They smile, roll their eyes and dismiss my actions. Yet here we are, I am 50 years old and still making people wait on me for the most ridiculous reasons…..I’ve changed a lot, but this unfortunately will never change. I will always be late.
    Letter #1 – What an odd letter. Does this letter writer truly believe her friend Linda has all these bigoted beliefs yet for some reason gives Gays and Lesbians a pass? Me thinks not. True Linda is racist and is trying to raise her children to think and act as she does, but my guess is she is repeating the pattern that she herself probably grew up with. I have yet to meet one White person that is a racist that was born into an open minded, racially embracive and inclusive family. Not one. Clearly no one came into her life to show her, her parents were wrong. Blacks aren’t all _______________fill in the blanks. It’s only by having exposure to people outside of your race that you gain a real and honest perspective on what is fact from fiction. Truth from urban legend.
    I am a woman that spent MANY, MANY years undoing the damage caused by racist White parents to their children. Answering countless idiotic questions about my race to people that didn’t know any better. For God’s sake, I even had a neo Nazi head over heels in love with me!  But that was then and this is now. I would dump her as a friend. I have come to learn life is too short to surround yourself with people that are negative. As I (and others) have mentioned, she may be telling you how much she doesn’t approve of Whites and Blacks associating, but I assure you she has little respect for you as a homosexual. No matter how fun, kind and sweet she may be at times, do you really want to be around someone so vexatious? I’m with Margo on this one, I find it hard to believe the subject of race never came up before now.

    • avatar Elaine says:

      Well… most people are universally bigoted, but not all. My grandmother (a rural, old-time Catholic) was quite racist, but didn’t blink an eye when two of her kids married Jews, and two others got divorced (with one remarrying a cousin, no less!). Bigotry usually comes from the “teachings” of parents and close friends that a person grows up hearing, or some early isolated trauma (“a Hispanic person mugged my mom when I was four, and ever since then…” etc.). Or it’s plain old fashioned xenophobia, such as when a kid never meets anyone of another race or religion until they go off to college. Sometimes the experiences are inconsistent. In LW #1’s case, maybe “Linda” has gays in her family and just isn’t bothering to come right out (no pun intended) and mention it.

  5. avatar A R says:

    LW1 Here’s a thought: Assuming Linda herself told you the story of what she said to her daughter (regarding the granddaughter’s friends), why not ask her about it.

    Before you cut the friendship off, as she has not done anything you to, why not take it as an opportunity to find out what she’s thinking.

    “Linda, the other day you said something that really weirded me out. You told your daughter to forbid your grandaughter to be friends with those girls based on who they were dating—black guys. Would you mind if I asked you why you did that?”

    Then proceed with a conversation based on her response. She may turn out to be someone you can no longer spend time with, or she may turn out to be someone who needs to dialogue with you a bit to see the other side of life. Unless this is a deal-breaker for you. If it is, you don’t need to ask what to do.

  6. avatar Jean B says:

    LW#2: As far as I am concerned, being that late all of the time is lack of respect for other people. I have a co-worker like that. We travel in teams from time to time and are late to the work site every single day. Try to get your shopping done on the weekends in a timely manner. Forget it. Oh, should mention we share rental cars. It gets so bad I just tell her I am going shopping “on this day at this time, you can have the car when I get back.” When we are home it’s not an issue, thank God. If she is late for a meeting oh well, that’s on her. I’ve tried giving her earlier times, anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, it has yet to work. One time 3 of us planned a trip to the outlet mall, I told her 10 in the hopes we were actually on the road by 11, the third lady knew what I did as she and I have talked at length about the tardiness. Anyway, we didn’t actually leave for the outlet mall until 11:30……….I was NOT a happy camper that day.

    LW#1: If it were me in that situation I would distance myself from this so-called friend. There is nothing you can say or do to change her way of thinking. The other option is to tell her you don’t agree and do not want to hear such talk, to please save it for when you are not around. My former in-laws are the same way. I cringed every time I heard the n-word for years. My husband was in the military and just after our child was born we moved away. When she was 3 we went for a visit, just she and I as her father was deployed. When my father-in-law used that word I decided I had had enough. It was bad enough I had to hear it from time to time, I was not going to allow my child to be exposed to that. I told my in-laws point blank if I ever heard that kind of talk from any of them again they would not see their grandchild again until she was old enough to walk away on her own. They quit talking that way, at least when we were around. That had to be enough because, like I said, my feelings on the subject were not going to change their way of thinking at all. I got the last laugh, too. My boyfriend of almost 10 years is black. That really put them over the edge. My daughter is grown now, of course, and she does walk away from them when they start in on the topic. She won’t lower herself to their level and argue with them about it, and I say good for her! She also doesn’t have a lot of contact with them, which really is a shame, but what can you do?

  7. avatar Tiffany says:

    As a chronically late person, I feel like I have to speak up for the Non-Punctuals in the world:  I don’t imagine that my time is more important than others, I’m seriously not trying to send the signal that I don’t respect others, and my goal is not to waste anyone’s time.  I just don’t pay that much attention to time – I don’t know why.  It’s for the same reason some people pay attention to celebrity news and some people don’t.  Realizing that it upsets my punctual friends, I invariably end up feeling terrible when I AM running late and find myself texting and calling to let them know and apologizing profusely.  At this point, people who know me well know that if they want to meet me at 8:00, they need to tell me to be there at 7:45.  10-15 minutes is my typical window.  I know it’s annoying, I try to get better at it, but it’s one of those things that makes me less than perfect (which we all are).  So my plea on behalf of the Non-Punctuals: try not to read more into it than it is. It’s not a statement about how we feel about you, it’s just an annoying thing about us.  If we’re good friends otherwise, try to forgive us.  In the LW’s case, I will say, in your defense, that I would NEVER say “you leaving hurt my feelings.”  If you’re a Non-Punctual, you make plans with the Punctual at your own risk.

    • avatar Jay Gentile says:

      It seems that you don’t pay attention because you don’t think it’s important. You get caught up in what is important to you at the moment and completely forget about the people who have been waiting for you since 7:45. You see it as a quirk in an otherwise good friend. I see it as someone who is rude, thoughtless, and thinks more of her time than mine. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you were told you could pick up a million dollars at precisely 4:13 PM, would you be on time?

      • avatar Theresa Vittal says:

        I agree with Jay, Tiff.  The very fact you say you don’t pay attention to the time, says you deep down really don’t value the time of others and, yes, this makes you rude and thoughtless, no matter how you say otherwise.  Actions Dear, actions.
        I’ve yet to hear a reason/excuse for chronically late people for the behavior that did not come back to “It’s all about me” in the end.  And trust me, no matter how your punctual friends tell you it’s ok, they really think it’s not and you are rude and thoughtless.

      • avatar Tiffany says:

        I find it interesting how everyone seems to think that they don’t engage in any behaviors that come across as rude or thoughtless and so they are entitled to think of someone who’s typically running late as a blemish on the face of society.  It’s a good thing everyone else is so perfectly considerate in every way that they are able to be so incredibly judgmental.

      • avatar Theresa Vittal says:

        Some behaviors are more obvious than others, esp when it happens over and over.  And no, it’s not judgmental, it’s calling a spade a spade.

      • avatar Jay Gentile says:

        I find it interesting that you didn’t answer my question about the million dollars. That’s because you know you could be on time for that because it would be important to you. My grandmother said, “We make time for what we want to make time for.”

  8. avatar Theresa Vittal says:

    Is it me or do I keep seeing posts by people who post, “I USED to have a chronically late friend/GF/BF/relative”?  Chronic laters take note.

  9. avatar Davina Wolf says:

    I used to have a friend who was at least an hour late for everything.  I began leaving after 15 minutes unless she called to say she’d be late, and she began showing up on time.  Later, though, I stopped being friends with her because she was so inconsiderate in general, and really a bit nuts.  

    • avatar Theresa Vittal says:

      Davina – thanks again for illustrating my statement above!  But even more so, if they are inconsiderate of your time, it’s likely they will be inconsiderate in general, but they won’t either get it or deny it.

  10. avatar rsb says:

    The back-and-forth between “punctuals” and “non-punctuals” is cracking me up. I sense that the punctual crowd has had enough of any and all excuses from those representing the non-punctual, and every posting that describes the late person’s point of view is seen as a defense of the act of lateness, and thus another excuse to be dismissed.
    I think the only reason the late people are explaining their point of view is just to kind of provide a study of their somewhat neurotic behavior to outsiders, not to try to justify it (but I dunno, maybe I’m giving too much credit). Of course it is inherently selfish and contrary to the typical “American way”. Definitely not arguing with that.
    As a late person, I think it benefits people to at least understand some of the underlying cause other than “this person just doesn’t care about anyone else or their time”. Every instance of lateness and the reason for it mirrors the last; it’s like an addictive pattern of behavior. No matter the difference in place/person/event/time–late people fall into the same ridiculous patterns when under the stress and challenge of getting ready to be somewhere.
    One more observation about my behavior: my overachiever tendencies definitely come into play. I tell myself that I can do everything in the narrow timespan I’ve allotted myself to get ready, including beat all the traffic odds and always make it somewhere in the minimum drivetime. It’s willful delusion. I am happy to say that I am on track to becoming a formerly late person. Gradual acceptance of harsh reality (like the need to be early to work to keep a job) is working wonders.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Well said. I’m never more than 5 minutes late & thought I had a buy with 4 kids ages 8-3. I was quickly told that is no excuse. by someone with one child nonetheless. :)   On the flip side, I constantly hear how difficult it must be to have them so close (we adopted two-wasn’t planned). Friends with young kids are always amazed how we ever get anywhere or do anything with style. My kids and I always look fantastic. I’m not one of those slacker moms who dresses her kids in sweats & leave myself looking shoddy in a sweatshirt & ball cap. I always look hot. 😛

      • avatar butterfly55 says:

        You seem to think that is something special, I had 3 that I raised on my own and managed to get them together looking perfect and myself as well and didn’t need extra time to do it.  Sounds like you go around looking for sympathy for having children, something you asked for – especially since you adopted.  You most likely don’t even work full time either.

    • avatar Tiffany says:

      Amen, RSB.  I’m sure Punctuals imagine the Non-Punctuals as lounging until they get around to leaving the house, but it’s actually because (in my case, anyway) I feel like I need to (and can) do ten things in ten minutes. A typical thought string after I’ve gotten ready to leave the house might go something like, “I never go by the post office, but I will on my way to meet X, so I’ll just run in and out real quick; and if I help my fiancee move the grill in before I go, then we won’t have to worry about it getting rained on later tonight – I can totally get all that done in the 15 minutes between now and when I’m supposed to meet her, right?”

      I’m getting better at being more realistic about time, but it’s like any other ingrained behavior – it takes a while.

      • avatar wendykh says:

        UGH you sound like my husband and that drives me INSANE! To me it IS lounging around the house because he for some reason thinks a drive will take 15 minutes but never takes into account that this only works when there is zero traffic and construction, if no one calls real quick along the way, if we don’t need to get gas, if he doesn’t suddenly remember he needs to stop at the post office real quick. God i hate that. Does he REALLY need to check his email one more time or listen to his phone messages right that second? Couldn’t he have either done that earlier or listen while in the car? I end up extremely embarrassed and upset and in near tears over this. He doesn’t see it as “lounging” at all or wasting time but I get to watch him and I sure as heck do! we have one vehicle and so I can’t leave without him or I would. When I have tried to and told him to take this subway he gets very angry and upset and acts like I’m just being ridiculous, then when we get there and it takes 10 minutes to find parking he acts like he is shocked, just SHOCKED. For those who wonder how he can hold a job, it’s easy when you don’t punch a clock and work in law and academia!

  11. avatar Anne Whitacre says:

    I have to pitch in here.  I, also, was raised to be extremely punctual and find it annoying when friends are habitually late.  I usually just arrange to meet them somewhere, and I can bring a book and show up on time like I typically do.  I never coordinate transportation with someone who is late — and then has to cut corners to make the theater time.  And, like one of the writers above, I broke up with a guy who was always late.  We were having dinner with his next door neighbors and he was 40 minutes late — I walked over to their house on time, and he was still fooling around with his shoes.. or something.  But that was the last time we ever did anything as a couple and I told him his inconsiderateness was the reason why. And while I do know typically late people who try to pack too many things into too short a time (assuming that for each thing traffic will be with them) I also know late people who are simply rude and clueless.  These days with cell phones there is no excuse — you can always call and say “I’m 10 minutes out”.  Even though I over-anticipate traffic, I have been known to be late… but I wiill always call ahead with an ETA and offer to make other arrangements — meet them at the restaurant, or theater, for example.

    as for the bigot.  My mother was like that, and I did date for a while a black man (in Seattle, and had the same issues as mentioned above.).  When my mother commented that I could “never marry someone like that” I replied calmly to her that if I chose to marry she could either accept the man or not, but that as an adult it was my job to “cleave” to my spouse, and not my parent.  I reminded her that it would be her loss — but was entirely her choice.  Never was an issue after that, once she realized that I was serious. 

  12. avatar Diane Shaw says:

    Ltr #2 – I see nothing wrong with stating up front that you’ll have to leave if they’re not there by ten minutes after the designated time.   I’m with you – these people who have hurt feelings need to get over themselves.  Now, I’m not saying that things don’t happen or that there’s never the occasional lapse because there will be.  But you know who the prompt people are and they’ll be the ones courteous to call and let you know.  You’re referring to those who are chronically late and don’t seem to think anything of it.  If they’re so upset that you left without them, they can go meet up with you at whatever location.  My husband runs about 15-20 minutes late.  So for the sake of my sanity (and, ultimately, his), if I want us to leave by 8 sharp, I’ll say 7:30.  Then I’m not getting antsy & rushing him and he’s not getting pissy and stressed out.  

  13. avatar Lonnie Stump says:

    I had a friend who was a racist for 20yr.s. I tried to change her mind, which didn’t happen until one day she fell in love with a black man. She has now been married to him for 30yr.s. Go figure.

  14. avatar Karleen S says:

    I can’t tolerate people who are late.  I think the defensiveness and “hurt feelings” are less genuine and more of a deflection from their bad manners to make YOU feel bad and get you to beg THEIR forgiveness.  Punctuality is respect for other people and their time, pure and simple.  If you’re always late, you don’t respect me, my time, and think only of yourself and your own convenience.  That’s the way I look at it, and I act accordingly.  I would continue on with my plans, too, and if I got that, “you hurt my feelings,” speech, I might reply with, “I wouldn’t if I didn’t have the opportunity.”

  15. avatar justice31 says:

    Here’s the thing about boys and dating which we always ask our daughters, does he work? have a licence? have a diploma? Is he going to school? If any of those things are missing, then we have a problem, but I find those questions eliminate the boys that we wouldn’t want her to date. Next we do ask about race because lets face it, people it exists, there are still racial tensions and we would not want our daughters to be dating players or gang bangers or guys who are trying to be too tough. My second problem with the races interdating is that the young white girls (in ohio) seem to be trying to date the toughest, meanest black boys they can find. Its kind of a competition, a status thing. Its one thing if a white girl dates a black guy because she finds him attractive, its an entirely diffrent thing if she is dating him because he is a status piece. Finally, white girls who date black guys often try to act black. The thing is, black people embrace who they are, they are proud and don’t change for anybody. Why should a white girl try to change to fit in with black culture? Honestly, white girls trying to act black are just making fools of themselves. Sometimes this leads to a lowering of standards and ethics, which no one in a relationship should do.

    • avatar justice31 says:

      Ok, I could see where you think that Im heavy handed and a little bit racist, which I am not, my step son happens to be half black and half white, but you have to understand where I am coming from is a non tolerant family. When I was sixteen and dating, my parents weren’t the wishy washy kind who would have looked the other way if I dated a black man, they said they would kick me out if I brought a black man home and they meant it.

      I have promised myself to be open minded because it is a different world we live in. If my daughter were to bring home a guy who has a job, a license, a diploma and maybe going to school, I don’t have as much problem if he is black.

      Im not critical of black culture, some wonderful things have come from black culture. Some of the best professors at Kent State U are black and I love them dearly. I will admit to being critical of young white girls trying to be black. Im also critical of black girls trying to be white. Its like this, if your white, love yourself. If your black, love yourself. Im not saying don’t learn to play the blues because its a black thing, play them. Finding oneself is a good thing, but just don’t abandon your culture in the finding of yourself.

      My step daughter used to date black men, here she is, a beautiful blond young girl, dating black men who don’t drive, don’t work, don’t go to school, hence the rules we now set for dating for our younger daughter. They treated her like crap, they cheated on her and beat her up, she would work and give them her money, bail them out of jail. Then they would get jealous if she worked too much, she wouldn’t be there to party with. I don’t think any woman should have to deal with that. That is my problem with interracial dating. If you feel its racist to think that women should have standards, well then call me racist, but whether or not someone is dating a white or black man, there has to be standards, and I think that is something the girls around here forget when they start dating.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        justice31, let me tell you a little story. There was a time when I dated black men almost exclusively. Why, you ask? Because most of the men who worked at my place of employment, who were in my age range, were black…and I am in no way racist. I find men (and women, being truly bi-sexual) of any race attractive, strictly dependent on the individual, not on race or ethnicity.

        For a while, I dated a man who had a job ( at a youth detention center), occasionally lived with a married (but not to him) woman, who was about ten years older than myself, was a drug user and dealer, couldn’t hold on to money and was what amounted to a criminal. My parents gave me the full lecture on interracial marriage and children (so difficult societally, hard on the children who are never accepted, diseases, drugs, etc.). Quite interestingly, I was fanatical about birth control (condoms, and Pills, and timing ovulation all at the same time), had no intention of getting married…and he was the same caliber of bad boy I had been dating all along…except for his race.

        You say, justice31, and I quote, “They treated her like crap, they cheated on her and beat her up, she would work and give them her money, bail them out of jail. Then they would get jealous if she worked too much, she wouldn’t be there to party with. I don’t think any woman should have to deal with that. That is my problem with interracial dating. If you feel its racist to think that women should have standards, well then call me racist, but whether or not someone is dating a white or black man, there has to be standards, and I think that is something the girls around here forget when they start dating.” You make this about interracial dating…then say it isn’t racial to have standards, then say it should apply to women dating regardless of race. But I think that the following sums up your attitude completely:

        “…here she is, a beautiful blond young girl, dating black men…”. I don’t think it would matter to you if he was Ivy League educated, drove a BMW, worked at a Fortune 500 company and made six figures a year…he would still be a black man. Has your daughter ever dated a completely worthless white man? I know I did…and my parents were quite fond of all of the worthless bastards. And they taught us that racism was absolutely wrong.

        My 14 year old son is quite attracted to all sorts of girls, and seems to have an honest preference for different ethnicities and races than his own (he is blue eyed, fair and freckled, and has dark blond hair…genetics is a funny thing). We don’t care who he dates, as long as he is careful, respectful and uses the best judgment he can (and we have spent a lot of time with him toward this end). As to whoever he marries some day…respect, honesty, love, compassion, giving, sharing, passion, trust…all mutual, are the things that matter, and the willingness to work hard to see it all through. What does race have to do with all of that?

  16. avatar Elaine says:

    The chronically tardy are pretty pathetic. I used to be one, which makes me an authority. For me it was more so for work than social situations, and what fixed it was when my bad habit hit me square in the wallet. At a late age I started working for a company that actually used a timeclock – this was a first. Other employers would roll their eyes, mime looking at a watch, sometimes (rarely) complain directly. I’d promise to do better and it would last awhile, but then I’d relapse. But the firm that kept track let 3 offenses go by, then I got a write-up. On some level, I was thinking “Big deal,” but then periodic bonus time (which was a big deal) came around and I was shut out because of that warning! Bingo! Light bulb! Miracle cure! So LW #2 must figure out a way to make the consequences real for her friends (assuming she thinks it’s worth the effort). She should wait for an occasion where someone other than she will be “disappointed” by the tardy person’s absence. Let’s say the friend has a job interview and LW #2 has agreed to drive her. Friend shows up late, LW #2 leaves without waiting, friend doesn’t get job. Maybe it will clarify that “hurt feelings” have nothing to do with it — it’s about being a grownup. Sometimes shock treatment works.

    • avatar Karleen S says:

      Good for you, Elaine! Too many people would still blame everyone else. Boss is too hard-nosed, unreasonable, etc. That doesn’t matter. They pay the money so they set the rules. You either want to work there or you don’t. I’m not a tardy person by nature, but I worked for people like that. I rarely took a full hour for lunch and very often stayed 30 minutes or more late just because I was almost done with something and why put off to tomorrow, etc. But dang it 8:03 a.m. would generate a lecture every time. It is what it is.

  17. avatar Marie Strothotte says:

    My mom told me from the time I started dating that I should be on time because people get tired of waiting – so I’m a punctual gal. I usually bring along something to amuse myself – a book, iPad, whatever – so that if the person I’m meeting is late, I’m not sitting there with nothing to do – and I’ll wait 15 minutes. After that, I consider it a ‘no show’ & I’ll go do something else. – If I go to a meeting, I expect the meeting to start on time – out of respect for the people who DID show up on time. If it’s a dinner, I think it should be started within 15 minutes of the prescribed time because people are waiting to eat & some need to eat on time or can have problems.

  18. avatar Its all fun says:

    LW#2 – I am so consistantly late my Mother had to have me by cesarean section. I could start getting ready 2 days prior (my wedding) leave an hour early for a five minute drive and STILL be late because I went to the wrong church.  Knowing this about myself, I decline invitations that require a specific start time and ALWAYS provide my own transportation so as not to spoil anyone elses time.  When I plan a social event the start time is, “anytime after ??:0’clock” and it’s usually a well stocked bar and buffet. (the poor early birds get stuck watching me get ready – it rarely happens twice!) .  On the otherhand, I made sure my girls did not follow in my footsteps and they have shown up ON TIME in pajamas, with wet hair or  hungry. Again, only once! 

  19. avatar Mjit RaindancerStahl says:

    My first boyfriend would rather find the perfect parking spot than see the first ten minutes of a movie. Circling a parking lot makes me scream at people.

    My second boyfriend drove me nuts by having a “OMGWe’reGonnaBeLate!” snit-fit whenever we were running less than 5 minutes early. The last straw was when he did this for a large outdoor concert. He drove 80 on the 10 miles of county road between my place and the concert site, we walked like normal people to the gate, and after we got settled I had time to read a few pages of my book before the concert started.

    My Husband, on the other hand, had to learn that if he he wanted me to be ready on time, the tv needs to be off 20 minutes beforehand so I don’t get distracted!

  20. avatar Davina Wolf says:

    Racism in Seattle is alive and well.  I lived there for 15 years until a few years ago and was shocked at the things that educated, affluent friends and coworkers said and did.  One was a manager at a certain aerospace company who confided to me that she and a fellow manager had supported each other’s lies that they hadn’t discriminated against a black woman who’d filed a discrimination suit though the friend admitted to me that they had; a friend told me that she decided to move to a new neighborhood when she saw a black man standing on a corner waiting for a bus; a manager at the major pharmaceutical company I worked for characterized a black employee as swinging from trees in front of a meeting; the managers for that same company clearly disliked and marginalized blacks; a neighbor with a house to lease was terrified that blacks would want to rent from her.  Racism is still rampant; just more underground these days–witness the Obama-birther-people.  It’d be tough to be black.  

  21. avatar crystalclear says:

    Hi Davina.   fortunately, I don’t seem to have any exposure to racism.   Perhaps I look at life through non-racist eyes.  Thanks for sharing your experience as it proves that, indeed, racism is still alive.   Too bad.   What are people thinking?

    In my neck of the world, I don’t see it.  All I see are different people from their hair down to their shoes walking to market, work, to the train or bus some in a hurry some taking their time.  I see mothers of all colors, sizes and shapes pushing their beautiful little children in their souped up strollers some jogging and some strolling.   They look the same to me.  

    I find that some of the most beautiful children are bi-racial children…a wonderful mix of mom and dad.   Some of those children are stunning.

    Perhaps I’m the type whose glass is always half full who refuses to believe that good, decent people aren’t experiencing racism in their lives.   I can’t do anything about the choices of other people but I have full control over me and how I treat my fellow Americans.

  22. avatar Pdr de says:

    Many. many years ago my husband was friends with a couple whom we visited often both before and after our marriage. Their invitations to come over always included meals with them. When at their home, they continuously told us to “Eat! Eat!” which made me uncomfortable – as I knew how much I could comfortably eat and as the couple was Polish, a lot of the food was heavy and rich.

    I had invited them to our home for dinner numerous times only to have them make excuses as to why they couldn’t come. Finally, I extended yet another dinner invitation for a Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM, telling them that they’d prepared many meals for us and we wanted to return the favor and feed them for a change; they accepted the invitation. I bought a standing rib roast and prepared a beautiful meal. 1:00 came and went as did 2:00 and they didn’t come nor call. We were worried they’d had an accident somewhere – in the meantime the meat sat in the pan getting cold, the salad wilted, the vegetables became cold and coagulated. This was long before cell phones existed and calls to their house went unanswered. They finally showed up at 3:00 PM, unapologetic and cheerful. When I told them that the dinner was ruined and asked why they were two hours late, the wife said, “Oh, we stopped at a restaurant to have dinner first!” Then they sat down at the table and watched us as we choked down our meal. Needless to say, that was the last time we saw them.

    I have two women friends I love dearly but whenever we plan to meet somewhere they are always from 20 minutes to a half hour late even though I am often the one who has farther to drive. A couple of weeks ago, I was unexpectedly late meeting them at a restaurant as there was an accident on the highway and traffic was backed up. I had forgotten to take my cell phone with me when I changed purses that morning so couldn’t call and let them know I’d be a little late. They both greeted me at the restaurant with, “Are you okay? We were worried about you because you’re always on time!” I laughed, told them about the accident and pointed out that I was only 15 minutes late. When I got home I found a message from one of them made while they were waiting for me. For once they had been on time, probably because both live 10 minutes from the restaurant and I live 50 minutes away. I’ve learned never to have dinner ready to serve at the time they’re invited, but to serve it 40 minutes later (10 minutes after their arrival). I love them for many reasons, they are two nurses who took care of my husband in home dialysis for 11 years until his death 19 years ago. The three of us have been best friends for the past 30 years. I realize their lives are a lot busier than mine and willingly adjust my schedule to theirs, allowing for their “lateness”.

  23. avatar Briana Baran says:

    On lateness and the chronically time challenged: I have always had a problem with time. I am one of those people who can sit in a waiting room, be it at the doctor’s office or the mechanic’s shop, and be perfectly content…without a TV, book, cellphone or hand-held device…without worrying about time passing (I always make arrangements for my children, etc.). When I had an outside job, I could plan ahead to fill the entire day with actual work, and was always surprised when the hours came to an end.

    But I used to be late for almost everything. For me, time seemed to speed up and slow down arbitrarily, and my awareness of how much time had actually passed was always inconsistent. I wore a watch…which helped to a certain extent…but not enough. It was never a matter of other people not being important to me…I’d always call and say that I was behind, and to leave, or start, without me. It was also not a matter of thinking that I could do just one more thing. Punching a clock was a nightmare…I had to get up at least two hours early to get to work on time. For those of you who are punctual, please do not say that this proves that I could budget my time successfully, as sometimes I would arrive at work at least an hour early, and have to wait in the hall until the office doors were unlocked, and sometimes I would skim in with just minutes to spare. It isn’t about managing time at all.

    To put it in perspective, I have an enormous difficulty putting dates with specific events in my life: my father’s death, my grandfather’s, my parents’ divorce…and anything from my childhood. I just can’t do it, and I have spent years in therapy and under a psychiatrist/therapist’s care trying to understand why time is such a difficult concept for me to grasp, and always has been. I still confuse upcoming dates, times, and days of the week…though I keep a calendar now, and request, politely, that doctor’s offices please give me a call the day before an appointment.

    I do have coping strategies now, and I am only late if something truly unanticipated (traffic accident or new construction or some emergency) and beyond my control happens. Calendars, a datebook, wearing a watch, clocks all over the house, noted on my computer, refrigerator and current book, reminder calls from doctors, handymen and delivery people, and friends who know how much it bothers me to cause someone to worry or be inconvenienced. I like being on time, or even a bit early…it is very liberating.

    Curiously, as a child with an IQ that was tested in the upper limits, the last thing I learned to do was tell time (no digital clocks back then when dinosaurs ruled the earth). I don’t think I really grasped clocks, though I was fascinated by them, until I was about 9 years old (to illustrate my point, I had read the entire Protestant Bible and understood it, plus the unabridged “Moby Dick”, Faulkner’s “Sanctuary”, and all of the available Poe and H.P. Lovecraft at our library the year before just after turning eight. Stupid or lacking in comprehension I wasn’t). Time has never had the same meaning for me as it seems to for others, but I respect the significance of time in society.

    And I’m very rarely late these days.

  24. avatar discussorama says:

    Oh, that’s rich. Margo giving advice on racism. I stopped reading Margo a year ago when she started advocating the policing of all Muslims, to not let them fly on airplanes, and other nonsense.