I have always been that person who is a little bit early. Then, enter a new friend who has the chronic lateness bug. Which would be fine… except the bug stays… and becomes your best friend.
Some advice you’ll often hear from those also dealing with the chronically late, is to tell your friend the wrong time. If you’re supposed to meet for coffee at 2:30, tell her to meet you at 2 instead. This doesn’t work.
Other people would say that “a good friend would make more of an effort.” I don’t agree. Although people who are often late can be on time for things they need to be there for, I find that it is the less structured times of social hang outs and cinema trips that can cause headaches. Another friend of mine finds being on time to everything an undue stress, and doesn’t conform to time schedules for her mental health.
After a year of dealing of my friend’s lateness to most events, a mutual friend and I held a mini-intervention. There wasn’t an ultimatum, but the premise was that Things Had To Change. Unfortunately, the thing that had to change was me.
So here are my tips for dealing with your chronically late friend…
1. Meet somewhere you don’t mind waiting
For me, usually it is my house, or somewhere I will keep busy, like a mall.
2. Decide not to watch the clock
Do something to take your mind off waiting. Read a book, do something creative or call a friend. Soon you won’t be waiting for someone, you’ll simply be being expecting them.
3. Confirm your get together the day before
Chances are that your friend totally remembers, but while you’re counting down the minutes the next day, you might find yourself panicking and wondering if your friend forgot.
4. It’s okay to tell other people that so-and-so is usually late
Sometimes people who aren’t aware or don’t really know the late-comer very well, will start nagging you. Or making “helpful suggestions.” Or question whether the person is actually coming. Ignore this.
5. If you’re eating out, just order from the menu
I have always figured that if I am running late, I’d much prefer someone to be happily doing things (eg. slurping down a hot chocolate), rather than standing outside a cafe, writing endless text messages asking, “where are you?”
6. Call once you start feeling a little tired, or frustrated
If you give a grace allowance of about 15 minutes, then phone, they have a much more accurate time of arrival, as opposed to calling right on your meet up time.
7. When they arrive, just be nice
Some people will tell you why they were late, others won’t worry about the excuses. You’re there to see your friend, not to be their time keeper.
Over time, my family and friends have came to know lateness as a trait, rather than a defect. They have stopped nagging about where my best friend could be, and have started asking if we should save some dinner for them. The acceptance of the crowd certainly helps.
It all can be frustrating, I know, but a truly good friend is worth waiting around for.
What are the hacks you’ve implemented to help you deal with your friend who’s always late?