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 Responses so far.

  1. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: I’ve always said that people are entitled to their own opinions as long as they stick with them and don’t try to backpedal. That said, Linda is responsible for her own opinion—but so are you for yours. And chances are, if Linda doesn’t like blacks or non-Christians—she doesn’t like you either, no matter how much she says: “but OH, you’re DIFFERENT than the OTHERS!” Newsflash—you don’t have a friendship. You have someone who tolerates you because it’s convenient for her to do so. For now, anyway.
    LW2: The absolute best thing you can do to someone like this when their “feelings are hurt” is to channel your inner Anne Bancroft and give them the most sincerely insincere apology you can muster, and then be unavailable for the rest of your life.

    • avatar Margo Howard says:

      David – I like your style.

    • avatar Jay Gentile says:

      People who are habitually late believe that their time is more valuable than yours. They are saying, without actually saying, that they are more important. So, of course, you should wait. This is not a friend. This is a rude person with whom you are acquainted. You owe them nothing. I dated a girl who felt that if we had a date for 8PM, she should start getting dressed at 8PM. I would arrive at 8PM and have to sit for an hour with her parents. Finally, I told her I would pick her up at 8 and didn’t show up until 9. She was livid. We broke up after that.

      • avatar Nancy Pea says:

        Jay, i absolutely love that. i have done that with my BFF because she is always late. but in her situation it always works. either she never caught on or she just figures i bitch less so it works better. because i’m quite loud about ppl making me wait.

        • avatar Jay Gentile says:

          Thanks. And to tie both letters together, I was work friend with an African American woman who insisted that black people were genetically incapable of being on time. She said that “time” was a white man’s construct and that an hour was comprised of 60 minutes. So if she was expected somewhere at noon and got there 45 minutes late, she was still on time because it was within the hour. I never heard such racist nonsense in my life. When she got fired — for habitual tardiness — I never saw her again.

          • avatar Judy K. says:

            You know what I have heard of black peoples time.  It seems to be a common feeling.  When I was younger I had a hard time getting started and never was a morning person.  Now that I am retired I seem to do better but always schedule appointments in the afternoon because I need a long time to wake up and get started.  Ha.

          • avatar Cashionista says:

            No, it’s a cultural joke (some call it “C.P.T. or Colored Folks’ Time), but it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s really one of those expressions that came from dealing with racist stereotypes. African Americans have been called lazy, simple minded, etc. So, to combat being called certain derogatory names, some African Americans have taken to owning those terms and embracing the humor (and untruth) of the stereotypes. I don’t doubt Jay’s co-worker thought she was being funny but, no, we don’t all use our race to excuse our shortcomings. And we don’t all see the humor in the joke. smh…

  2. avatar uniq says:

    For LW2: If she still wants to spend time with the habitually late friends, she could always tell them to meet her early.  Say, if she’s planning on leaving at 3:30, ask them to arrive at 3:00 (or however late they tend to be).  Then she can still leave on time and no one’s feelings get hurt.  What’s more important: Being right, or being happy? :)

    • avatar Koka Miri says:

      I totally do this.

      I’m late a lot myself though so I always wind back the appointment time in my head when I need to get somewhere too!

    • avatar John Lee says:

      In my experience, this only works for a few instances, then somehow the habitually late person gets the idea and adds the additional 15-25 minutes to the time he/she expects the event to TRULY start.  Basically, it makes it worse because it confuses (and angers) people who are punctual to a gathering.

      My friend Rich does this, because our friend Ben is anywhere from 15 mins to 45 mins late.  So rest of us punctual people have to deal with asking, well, when is the REAL time it starts vs. the Ben time.

      • avatar C Guynes says:

        My experience agrees with John’s on this one. So the solution may be different depending on the situation. I have learned not to put critical commitments at risk, such as depending on a perpetually late friend for a trip to the airport (for departure on a trip). And on another air trip, I made sure an always late girlfriend and I were to “meet at the gate”. Sure enough, she missed our flight. And had no room to argue over paying her half of the hotel for the night I stayed there and she was absent.

        Years ago when I was married, we had half the family repeatedly show up late for hoiday meals (pick any one). This was not just inconvenient for us; these were meals with 12 or more guests for which we planned prep time and cooking time sometimes days in advance (we both worked so we prepped in shifts) to make sure everything was ready to serve at said meal time. After 2 years holding overcooked or then cold food, filling up on appetizers and waiting who know how long for the in-laws and cousins to show, we clarified in our future invitations that everyone could arrive as early as X time, and we were eating at Y time – sharp. Then we started the meals – on time. When the relatives arrived, one of us got up to open the door, and then returned to the table to eat and socialize with the rest of us, and the relatives were invited to get their plates in the kitchen and join us at their convenience. After about 3 rounds of this, this half of the family starting showing up in advance of sit down time. And my husband and I were MUCH less stressed about all of it!

        • avatar Annie H says:

          C Guynes;
          I have family members that are the same way.  I have given up on waiting on late relatives.  One of the last meals I cooked a family member was an hour and a half late.  We didn’t wait for them.  They looked shocked that we had eaten.  I have also told another family member an earlier time (everyone else is told the real time) so they will be there on time.  It is very rude and it is why I do not cook that many family meals.  It drives me nuts and is not fair to the prompt people at the family dinner.

  3. avatar Mrs. Doolittle says:

    I have a friend I love dearly who is habitually late.  So are my closest family members.  In order to combat this I tell them to be here earlier than what I really want them. 

    For instance, if I have to be somewhere at 1 and have a half hour drive, I’ll tell my friend to be there at 11:45 since she is habitually a half hour late. 

    If I invite my family over (who only live 5 minutes away!) for dinner and I want to serve and 1 and want them there at 12:30, I tell them to be there at noon.  They never know I really need them at the later time, they arrive when I want them and all is well.

    • avatar John Lee says:

      So, do you tell everyone you invite over the later time?  Or a different time for everyone based on how late they are, or punctual?  Or are you lucky enough that everyone is late the same amount of time.

      My unfortunately situation is that I’m one of the punctual ones, so I end up getting somewhere “on time” which meant I sit around for an hour while the host is just starting on the setup.

      • avatar Nancy Pea says:

        Since your always punctual you can easily ask the host or hostess that invited you if this is the correct time or a time for late comers. usually if they do this JUST for the person that is habitually late, then why would they do it for you (unless they cannot remember who arrived on time or they need more time because they habitually run late getting set up or getting things cooked) who is never late.
        i would just have a talk with those that do it and ask if you can have the correct time and that you will not tell other guests what time you were told to be there so nobody will get messed up and end up late. i can understand how you can find yourself unhappy with the setup. but if they are good friends you can always offer to help with the last minute prep and get time to talk with them personally before the crowd comes. a little one on one before party yakking. never hurts to have an extra pair of hands around to help.

        • avatar John Lee says:

          Good point.  I have done that once or twice, but I thought it was kinda rude to ask everytime.  But you’re right, I should just ask so I won’t be there 30 mins early (as I was two weeks ago).

          • avatar Koka Miri says:

            Yeah, I would never do that to a group of people, only if I was meeting a person or a couple on their own and I knew they’d be later than the set time. Good for you for being punctual!

  4. avatar jnaki says:

    I think that poeple are really intitld to their own opinions and pregideces as long as this doesn’t amount to obstrcution of the law or harm anyone while happening.  I also think that having some kind of preferences doesn’t amount to faults.  I would prefer for instance to have my son or daughter marry a Christian because I believe in Christian values and their supremacy.  I also might have proclivity to encouraging them not to marry someone who’s much older than them.  These are not outragious sins as most of the writers put them.  I know for sure that many African black American whom I am friends with who prefer their offsprings getting married to same race; i.e Blacks.  Is this outragious?  I say no.  Preferences are healthy as long as they are not used to obstruct the law.  For instance:  I am against homosexuality!  Is this worng?  for some it might, but for me is a preference.  I don’t hate them, not do I pitty them.  I simply don’t agree with them.  


    • avatar Jamie Allison says:

      Having a preference is perfectly fine, but the letter writer said that this family has set up “rules” as to who will be accepted.  Saying that the child can not even associate with people of a certain race is the definition of racism.

    • avatar Jrz Wrld says:

      I find I pity people who use outrageously bad spelling and wallow in ignorance, and I prefer not to associate with them. Is this wrong?

    • avatar Margo Howard says:

      jnaki – Did you really write “I am against homosexuality?” That is like saying you are against blue-eyed people. That’s the way they were born. There is nothing “to agree with.” Your homophobia is in no way like hoping a child marries wtithin his or her race. I think YOU have a problem.

    • avatar Koka Miri says:

      Yes, it is wrong. The reason? It’s not something to “agree” or “disagree” with. People who love people of the same gender exist, you likely know or are related to some, and your judgment has no place in their lives.

      You can live your life by your own preferences and opinions, of course, but recognize that you do hold attitudes based on hate for others. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but it seems like you haven’t really taken the time to analyze your own opinions. Just be aware of how you sound to other people.

      The law has changed over the years, so be careful when you say “Preferences are healthy as long as they are not used to obstruct the law.” Some laws are unjust. Since we’re talking about race in this column, take a moment to remember why MLK Jr. died, and the attitudes of his time.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        @janki: I agree that homosexuality is wrong—but all these straight people keep having gay babies, so what are you gonna do?
        It’s people like you who lead gay kids to the edge of the cliff and tell them it’s better to jump—and it’s people like me who say how convenient it is to have a partner with the same shirt size. Tell me who’s wrong again?
        And as far as the supremacy of your “Christian values”—give me a break. Not a damn one of you can agree on the slightest thing unless it’s to point out how tacky another churchgoer looks, and you certainly can’t come to a conclusion about the nature of God.

        • avatar Ella Regan says:

          David Bolton, I couldn’t agree more and I could not have written it better.  Cheers!

        • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

          Oh David!!!  That is the best comment I have ever seen!  May I please use it forever??  I am so tired of people who “think homosexuality is wrong”.  Seriously,  do these people even find a heart beating inside their chests?  I am a mom and grandmother who believes with all her heart that people love who they love; it is as simple as that.  I hope you will allow me to print and keep your entire comment to share with everyone I know, it is one of the best and most heartfelt statements I have read in a long time.  If it matters, I am a Catholic and I think God loves us all without reservation.

        • avatar John Lee says:

          I usually don’t like to post just to agree when many others have already, but excellent post, Mr. David Bolton.

          LOL, either these darn straight people keep having gay babies or (gasp) they are raising their kids to become gay!  Either way, straight parent really gots to get their act together.

        • avatar R Scott says:

          Bravo, David. Bravo!

        • avatar msjrm3 says:

          The Bible states “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” it doesn’t read whosoever except________(fill in the blank). It also states “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”, I guess some of us have some serious self-hatred going on. I am Christian, African-American, Bi-Sexual, etc, etc, etc, & really enjoy the issues presented & the comments as well. It simply shows you never know what will be served out of the social melting pot of America. Soups on!

    • avatar BKcagg says:

      Why does it not surprise me that the most bigoted response so far is riddled with grammar and spelling errors? Education tends to lend itself to more open-minded dialogue. Ignorance breeds contempt and prejudice.

  5. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: Keep doing what you’re doing. How dare the chronically late try and make you feel guilty? They are inconveniencing YOU…not the other way around. And then they whine? And this is habitual with them? Since no longer making plans with them seems unlikely (you wish to remain sociable with them), keep doing what you’re doing. Tell them YOUR feelings are hurt; and also that they are being REPEATEDLY INCONSIDERATE. These sniveling jerks with a sense of entitlement need to grow up!

  6. avatar Jamie Allison says:

    I have very strong feeling about people who are habitually late.  I grew up in a household that was fond of saying “To be early is to be on time, to be exactly on time is to be late, and to be late is out of the question.”  If someone is going to be a couple of minutes late and they call and say so I have no problem with that you never know what may come up.  To be consistently late is an issue.  
    I think that people that are late like that are inherently selfish.  They think their time is more important than anyone else’s and that everyone should wait in them.  
    If you are late, you’re left.

    • avatar Katharine Gray says:

      Jamie, we must be distantly related, because my family’s rules were the same as yours.  If I am even 5 minutes late for an appointment, I apologize profusely.  If for some reason (this happens once every three or four years) I am going to be more than 10 minutes late, I call if at all possible.  The only exception for me are large social gatherings where I know there is a prolonged cocktail hour and lots of people mingling about before dinner or the program.  Then, I might be 15-20 minutes *late* but no one is inconvenienced.  Dinner parties can be tricky because no hostess wants someone to arrive early while she is doing last minute preparations…so I usually arrive 10-15 minutes after the appointed time IF I know there will be cocktails and mingling before dinner is served.  (I have been known to drive around the block 4 or 5 times to avoid arriving too early).  If I think that I am one of just a few guests, however, I arrive on time.   

      I agree with you that the habitually late are selfish. 


    • avatar Lisa S. says:

      I like that analysis!

      I have an aunt who is so habitually horribly late that a 2pm start time is relayed to her as a noon start so she’s there by 2:30p. And she’s never allowed to bring anything critical to the event – she’s usually bringing a dessert or chips. As for her being late all the time, I don’t think she has the organizational skills to plan accordingly to be on time or being late is her way of rebelling against her mother (she’s 50 and her mother is now senile). She’s got issues, we know it, and have special handling protocols for her.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      I grew up the same way & it annoys me to no end when people are late. We have tried to instill this into our children as well. That being said, we are now often late because I have four children between the ages 3-8. Inevitably, some last minute issue always causes us to be tardy regardless of how well we planned. And our departure from the house almost always ends in my spouse & I screaming at our kids or each other because we have been so deeply ingrained with the rudeness of being late. So I ask, is it better to be 5-10 minutes late (and reap the repercussions) with everyone happy or is it better to be on time and have everyone angry at each other or in tears?

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        “I agree with you that the habitually late are selfish.” Ding.
        Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given was:
        – two emails or phone calls, and then it’s up to them to return one.
        – wait fifteen minutes on someone, and then they can make the effort to meet you somewhere.

      • avatar Kyla_Luv says:

        I have raised two children as a single mother.  I have never been late, nor have I ever needed to yell at them.  I once took both my girls to school party in their PJ’s with their regular clothes to change into in a bag because they wanted to mess around instead of get ready.  They had to walk through the crowd to the bathroom so they could change.  Now they always are ready atleast 10 mins before I say we are leaving.  Oh, they also didn’t get a chance to pack their lunch or eat breakfast so they were pretty hungry when they got home. 

        So my options is I either have to wait for your family or I have to deal with your family being in a foul mood.

        • avatar R Scott says:

          LOL – In the first grade I rode the bus to school in my pj’s because I dinked around and wouldn’t get dressed. That only happened once  :-)

    • avatar John Lee says:

      “I think that people that are late like that are inherently selfish.”

      VERY well said Jamie!

      It’s amazing that so many of these habitual late arrivers don’t think it is selfish at all.  Most of them thinks that EVERYONE is always late and that it’s just the way they are or that’s just the way life is and it is impossible to be on time.

      It baffles me that they don’t get that it is very easy to be on time, all you have to do is skip that 10 minutes of TV or browsing the internet before you leave your house.  Or instead of starting that one laundry cycle or finishing that last 10 minutes of your favorite TV show right before you leave the house, you SKIP the laundry or TV because you don’t want to be selfish and make your friends sit around and do nothing as they wait.

    • avatar Kyla_Luv says:

      Our saying was “If your 15 mins early than you are half hour late”.  In the community I grew up punctuality was a must.  If things started at 1pm then people start showing up around noon to help you set up, and always stayed after to help clean up.  I have tried to be late, but I just can’t. 
      Now that i live in the city I have gotten better at not being anymore then 20 mins early, but I do get annoyed that I end up waiting another hour and half for all my friends to show up.  For me being late is a sign of disrespect and it shows how little you value your friends and family.  I also refuse to play the time game, if we agree to have lunch with you at 1pm I will not tell you noon. 

  7. avatar Sue Fawcett says:

    As others have pointed out, a good way to deal with habitually late people is to change the appointed time to a bit earlier, therefore leading them to actually be on time. Despite Margo’s mother’s assertion that punctual people are lonely, a basic value in America is punctuality, and life is run accordingly. Buses, planes, and trains strive to be on time, and punctuality has been a principle that has enhanced productivity and success on many levels. Countries that don’t care about punctuality do not lead the world. People should value punctuality; time is important.

    • avatar Theresa Vittal says:

      Sue – you could not be more right.  And I’ve done enough traveling to know this.  Margo was wrong on this one with regard to her mother’s assertion.  In fact, it seems we punctuals way out number the late ones and the late ones seem to be the ones losing friends in my experience.  See how many posts on this board begin with “I USED TO HAVE a friend/BF/GF/relative who is chronically late……”.

    • avatar Theresa Vittal says:

      Sue – you could not be more right.  And I’ve done enough traveling to know this.  Margo was wrong on this one with regard to her mother’s assertion.  In fact, it seems we punctuals way out number the late ones and the late ones seem to be the ones losing friends in my experience.  See how many posts on this board begin with “I USED TO HAVE a friend/BF/GF/relative who is chronically late……”.

  8. avatar Courtney * says:

    So…what does one do when both LW could have been written by one’s self, except substitute “family” for “friend”?

    I’ve simply let it be known, with one eyebrow cocked halfway to my hairline, that I have zero tolerance for bigotry, will not allow statements of such to go by unchallenged (politely) in my home, and will not permit it around my children because I don’t want them to think it acceptable because family spouts it.  You’d think that one reminder would be enough, right?  Heh.

    And I tell my brother that he and his family need to be there two hours (at this point) prior to when they really need to be.  Its HIGHLY arse-chapping when you adjust the timing of a family get together to accommodate their little family’s “needs” and yet they are still utterly incapable of being anywhere in the realm of “on time”.  And I know he was raised in such a way that “on time is barely acceptable, fifteen minutes early is really on time”.  Its actually become a bit of a family joke now, much to his irritation (hey, if he has such a wingding problem with it, be on time for a change instead of 90 minutes late for everything!!!!).  I say “at this point” its two hours, because his wife, my SIL, caught on when we would tell them 90 minutes early…

  9. avatar MSLLL62 says:

    LW#1, I had a friend who was very racist. His daughters did rebel. Now all his grandchildren are bi racial. He loves these babies. He has been forced out of his racism. Its funny how he has changed!
    LW#2 Make sure when you make plans with someone that you inform them you will be leaving at this time if you want to go with me. That way they know ahead of time you are leaving. Tell them you are leaving and they can meet you there. You can also schedule outings with people who are not late!

  10. avatar Lila says:

    For late-Averse:  You are right and the late people are wrong.  Your time is just as valuable as theirs, and people who are habitually late are basically communicating that they don’t give a crap about inconveniencing you.  Then that they would have the gall to say you hurt THEIR feelings, after you waited 15 or 25 minutes twiddling your thumbs on their account?  I would not be NEARLY so nice or patient as you have been.
    I once dumped an otherwise nice man just because he was habitually late.  He would keep me waiting anywhere from 20 – 45 minutes almost every time we had a date.  I finally had enough and, while waiting with nothing else to do, calculated that I had wasted probably about two full days just… waiting.  Told him that next time he was late, that would be the end of it.  He was late.  That was the end of it.

  11. avatar ideel says:

    I know people that make racist comments or jokes and I call them on it, firmly. I encourage anyone who doesn’t like the comments to do so. The more people hear negative responses to their comments, maybe the less likely that are to make them.

    • avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

      Perfect solution and one I have used myself many times.  I have been told I am far to sensitive and have no sense of humor, to which I reply, racist remarks are not funny, they are hurtful and ignorant in today’s world.  We can no longer allow people to get away with they “it’s just a joke” excuse.

  12. avatar Karen G says:

    OK, folks, here is a take from a “habitually late” person. As some pointed out, it is true that my organizational skills are just poor. I will start getting ready for something earlier (like an hour earlier) than I think i need to, and STILL be late. For years, I was chronically 15-30 minutes late. I however did NOT get mad if someone had to leave without me. I expected that. I always feel really bad about making people wait on me, and would PREFER that they just leave without me rather than upset their own schedule. And it was pointed out to me once that being late made other people think I don’t value their time as much as my own, and I felt terrible, and it definitely made me try harder. This might be a phrase an on-time person could use to make a late person understand how frustrating the situation is. That said, hard as I try, I still tend to be a bit late, or maybe exactly on time, but never the 5 minutes early that many consider to be truly “on time”
    PS: I do think special consideration should be given to people with small children. Sometimes they have accidents or some other “surprise” as you are walking out the door, Not to say that the on-timers still shouldn’t leave without them, especially if it’s urgent or if the other person is chronically late, but maybe just not be quite soooo angry about it, especially if it’s just happens occasionally….

    • avatar John Lee says:

      Karen – I appreciate that you are one of the few habitually late who actually care about other people’s time, but I guarantee you that you are rare compared to those who think that EVERYONE is always late, so what’s the big deal.

      However, I hope you realize that you can be on time, because you are able to be chronically 15-30 minutes late.  There’s a reason that you are “only” consistently 15-30 minutes late as opposed to 15min – 60min or even 2 hours late.  You are able to prioritize and you can tell time.  The problem is that you have decided that 15-30 minutes late is ok, so you do things before you leave that makes you late 15-30 mins.  You able to not do things that make you 30-60 mins late.

      I’m very punctual.  The reason I’m punctual is that as I get close to my “out-the-door” deadline, I begrudgingly start skipping tasks that I want to accomplish before I leave the house – start a new load of laundry, put on cologne, refill my pet’s food, shave or put on another DVD for my kids.  That’s the difference, I’m willing to forgo those things because I don’t want my friends to sit around and waste their time because I committed to the appointment.

      • avatar Karen G says:

        John Lee, that is really excellent advice. And you hit the nail on the head. I am late because I always try to do “one more thing”, thinking that since it is for my husband or children it should be the priority. But (as I think you are saying) you are right that the person I have to meet right then should be the priority right at that moment.
        Thank you for your comment. It will help me to “prioritize” properly the next time I am schedule to meet someone.

        • avatar Karen G says:

          And I just printed out what you said, and put it on my refrigerator. Never done that before!

  13. avatar Lym BO says:

    I grew up in a slightly racist household. I consider myself not to be racist. However, I would have never considered marrying anyone of a different race or religion specifically because of the hardships I have seen friends and family incur related to such. That may be the mothers reason she is attempting to distance her child from these friends. 
    I did marry someone with immigrant parents with a strong exclusive, ethnic culture & the family was prejudiced against me-an 11th generation American. We now live 1000 miles away. It was quite a rude awakening to experience prejudice.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Sorry. I replied before complete. Rather than admonish the mother for attempting to protect her child perhaps the LW should offer suggestions about how she can teach her child about diversity and talk about differences among socioeconomic and cultural boundaries & then allow her daughter to make her own educated decision. That sounds snobbish, but I think young people need to be knowledgeable to make decisions. If they are, then they can decide if they are willing and able to accept and conquer these hardships.

  14. avatar brazilianbarbie says:

    To believe sexuality is a choice, it to believe you could force any human being to be physically atracted to another by pure force of will. I’m pretty sure if you line up 10 man of all shapes and sizes you couldn’t make yourself like all of them 100% even if you are a heterosexual, so why would force such crazy idea on another group of people? I am a heterosexual and I have seen beautiful woman, but I couldn’t force myself to have butterflies in my stomach for the life of me…. maybe if for her shoes or hair, but not for her body.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      I’ll have to remember that logic. The flipside I’ve heard from someone is that since sexuality is a “choice,” then in theory there should be someone from the same sex that everyone would find attractive enough to have as a sexual partner.

      • avatar brazilianbarbie says:

        IF it was just a choice cheating wouldn’t exist, right? Because one could just tell yourself “I am not attracted to anyone but my wife/husband/partner”.

      • avatar D C says:

        My husband has a great line he uses when the “it’s a choice” conversation comes up:  “So, if it’s a choice, then you could be hot for another guy — I mean if he had great abs and a really tight butt — what exactly would it take for YOU to choose to be gay?”

    • avatar Melissa Taylor says:

      When the “it’s a choice” conversation comes up, my response is, “Oh really? Then when did you decide you were heterosexual?” 

      Usually, that stops the conversation dead in it’s tracks.

  15. avatar ArMoChroi says:

    Regarding habitually late people:  My coworker’s grandfather used to serve in the military & after he left the service, he was a HUGE stickler for being punctual.  On top of that, he went by the saying “To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late; to be late is out of the question.”  If he told his family to be there at 12:30, he expected them to be there at 12:15.
    Once, during Thanksgiving, he told them all to be there by an appointed time & warned them that if they were late, they’d find the door locked.  He also promised that if they knocked on the door or rang the doorbell, they would be ignored.  Surely enough, her brother & his family was late.  The door was locked, as promised, & taped to the door was a note with the name of a restaurant nearby that served Thanksgiving dinner.
    They were never late again.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “The door was locked, as promised, & taped to the door was a note with the name of a restaurant nearby that served Thanksgiving dinner.”

    • avatar D C says:

      I’m an early bird, but that’s just a bit much.  I would decline all future invitations at that home.  Sounds like they are no fun at all. 

    • avatar chuck alien says:

      “If he told his family to be there at 12:30, he expected them to be there at 12:15.”
      that’s some strange, passive aggressive, control-freak nonsense there, my friend.

      • avatar Lindsey M says:

        I agree.  People that want people there early and consider that punctual are ridiculous in my book. Now if you mean that you plan to get there 15 mins early to ensure that you’ll be on time and then wait in the car until you go to the party, that I can get behind.  But to show up anywhere early is rude as well.  If I say the party starts at 2, I don’t want you there at 1:30, unless we have some other sort of understanding where that is implied.  I understand cultural factors can come into this, but really people, mean what you say.  Or if you don’t mean what you say make sure the other person knows the true meaning as well.

    • avatar ArMoChroi says:

      D C:  Far from it.  From my coworker’s description of her family, they were a ball of laughs, her grandfather especially.  (I wouldn’t be surprised; my coworker has a razor sharp wit that’s caused me to completely bust a gut while at work.)  Besides, it was only the LATE people that he did that to.  & her brother wasn’t just “punctually late” by her grandfather’s standards, he was LATE.
      Chuck Alien:  If you consider his philosophy, it’s not “control freak nonsense”.  I’ve had bosses who’ve operated by this saying.  (I was raised to be early to every appointment.)
      Lindsey M:  Like I said, the grandfather was a veteran.  He was like that throughout his life, so it was nothing new to his family.  While talking with her on a few occasions, we discovered that both our families were similiar in our time philosophy: we preferred our guests to come a little early to mingle beforehand.  So yes, it does have a bit to do with cultural &/or familial factors, but once that’s established, there’s no reason to be late.  (My family doesn’t mind if people are late, but we prefer to be notified if they plan to be late because of another event/unforeseen event that’ll delay them for an hour or 2 so we don’t think they stood us up.  Her grandfather did, but the rest of her family didn’t.)

      • avatar chuck alien says:

        no, telling someone to be somewhere at 12:30 when you REALLY want them there at 12:15 is not a philosophy, it’s passive aggressive, manipulative lying.

        why is it, do you think, that he can’t be honest with his family? 

        and why is it that he sets up a situation that is custom-built to provide him something to complain about?

        say what you will… it’s really, really hard to argue FOR not saying what you mean.  isn’t it?

        • avatar ArMoChroi says:

          Wow. If you view that as manipulative lying, I have no idea what to say. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. You prefer punctual people, I prefer they come a bit early. Tomato, tomahto. *shrugs*

          & like I said before, he believed in the saying “to be early is to be on time” etc. In any case, the dude’s dead. Moot point.

          Sorry for even relating the story at this point, quite honestly. Sheesh.

          • avatar chuck alien says:

            sorry, sorry… i’m not trying to attack him personally. just lost control of the tone there for a second. no need to yeesh me.

            it’s just a strange idea to me to say one thing when you REALLY want another thing. it just fundamentally sets me up to fail, because if i do what you say, i am wrong. so i have to guess what it is that you really want. how can you fault me for guessing wrong?

            but yes, in this case it’s a known thing, and really just means he’d rather you be early. got it… not really like guessing. got it, makes sense. i’m just thinking hypothetically.

  16. avatar Agibean says:

    LW 1-I am a white woman married to a black man and we have a child together. My older (white) daughter dated only black guys in high school. I lost a group of people I considered good friends because of their narrow-mindedness, and while it was painful, I had to speak up. If you don’t say something, people like your friend will continue to think this is ok. I hope the granddaughter has the strength to stand up to her mother and grandmother. FWIW, one of the final straws for me and my former friends was one of them saying it was ok for a relative to ban HER daughter from dating a black kid and the rest of them thinking this was ok.

    My husband and I do get funny looks from people, even in “liberal” Seattle, and I won’t lie, our daughter’s experienced racism as far back as preschool. But, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and our daughter is going to do amazing things in her life. My older daughter and her friends are a multiracial group from many cultures, countries, races and religions. Seeing them together gives me hope for the future.

    And on being late-My mother was one of those chronically late people. Her father was ex-military and raised his kids with the “being on time is late” mindset. I guess being late was her way of rebelling. My dad always joked that she would be late for her own funeral-and she was. When we realized that was going to actually happen, it brought a smile to our otherwise sad day.

    • avatar Lindsey M says:

      Do you really think you get funny looks from people in Seattle due to having a biracial relationship?  Perhaps Seattle isn’t as progressive as I thought, but I’d really think you’d be getting funny looks for other reasons than that.  I live in San Francisco and you can get funny looks for all sorts of reasons, but a biracial relationship wouldn’t be one of them, and I’d think the same thing in Seattle for the most part.

      • avatar chuck alien says:

        seriously… “funny looks” are all in people’s heads at least half the time.  probably more.

        • avatar Lunita says:

          After seeing Agibean’s reply, do you still think it’s all in her head? I think that’s one of the problems today. Racism is less the overt acts that used to be common (or the norm) and now more insidious, so people can deny it’s even going on, and tell people who say they’ve experienced racism that they are imagining it or that they are too sensitive.  

          • avatar chuck alien says:

            well… i certainly cannot tell her that she’s not seeing those things, or that racism isn’t a real problem.   obviously, she has had some personal experiences.

            but…  i still think that people that see “disgusted looks” are more often than not “looking” for disgusted looks.  sometimes they see things that are real, sometimes they find what they were looking for whether it’s real or not.

            if you’re searching people’s faces in public, and then attributing grumpy looks as their reaction to you….   i’d say you have a very high opinion of your role in stranger’s lives.  you know?

            if I am happy and confident, out enjoying myself… i just can’t imagine that i’d really be paying too much attention to random people’s expressions.  and if i DID see grumpiness, I can’t imagine i’d attribute that to anything I’m doing.

            isn’t it just as easy to assume that it has nothing to do with you?

            and isn’t it reasonable to assume that MANY times, it doesn’t? 

            that’s sort of the beauty of “insidious” racism… it only exists in that person’s head. it has no impact on me at all, and in fact i can completely ignore it and everything is exactly as it should be.  why would _I_ feel bad about something _They’re_ thinking?  why would i even consider it?  why would i think it has anything to do with me?

            maybe i’m just oblivious enough to not notice or care what other people are doing.

            so no… not ALL in her head (any more than anything is.)  but yes, some of it is certainly in her head.

            and racist people still suck. we can all agree on that.

      • avatar Agibean says:

        Oh they’re due to race, all right. It doesn’t happen as much now that we’re a decade older, but yes, it still happens. Maybe “funny” isn’t the right word-more like “looks of disgust”, how’s that, chuck alien? And no, they’re not in our heads.

        What was worse, though, was when our daughter was a baby and people would warn me that my husband was “stealing” her if he started walking out with the groceries as I paid, or he’d get held up in line because people would assume he wasn’t with daughter and I. Have lots more examples, but that’s a whole other thread topic.

  17. avatar amw says:

    I grew up in a habitually late household. It infuriated me to no end. They always have a number of excuses, none of which justify the “habit”.

    While irritating, I never considered the practice offensive until recently. My boyfriend and I got engaged and planned a family gathering so our parents could meet and we could begin discussions on wedding details. On Monday, I confirmed with both sets of parents that 6:00 that Wednesday evening would be perfect. What my parents failed to tell me was that they had also scheduled another activity that very morning for the same day and the potential of it running over into the planned family activity was probable, if not guaranteed. Needless to say, they arrived at 8:30 P.

    I could have been embarassed. I could have been angry. My fiance’s parents insisted we wait to eat until mine arrived. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them to get used to this as it would be a regular occurrence. The only thought that crossed my mind was that obviously this moment in my life wasn’t nearly as important as their other activity. What I wish they had done was requested we schedule dinner at a different time or date since they had made prior arrangements.

    5-10 minutes isn’t a problem in my mind. But to go beyond that without calling, and especially when it’s expected, is rude and really does show a lack of concern for those waiting for you. I will not tell my family to be there half an hour or an hour earlier than I actually want them. I do not believe in enabling their behavior. I do however think its time to put a stop to my tolerance of their tardiness.

    As my fiance mentioned, what happens if my dad is late to the wedding?

    • avatar Karen S says:

      Have they always discounted you and your needs?

      • avatar amw says:

        My birthday is in early June. Every year my sisters’ recitals fall on that date or just before or after. My birthday has always been secondary to that annual event.

        It just so happens my wedding will be the day after my youngest sister’s birthday. They had the nerve to criticize me for “planning” my rehearsal on her birthday.

        I’m so used to that behavior, and until the event I described in my post, I hadn’t really thought of it.

        • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

          Knowing how your family is, why would you plan your wedding on that weekend?  You have the right to have it on any day, but it sounds like you knew how they would react so why complain about it.

          • avatar Courtney * says:

            I suspect that no matter what date was planned, they’ve find some reason to complain. 

          • avatar amw says:

            Thank you Courtney.

            You know stateoflove, you’re right. How selfish of me! How dare I select a weekend convenient for family that will already be in town for her birthday! I should have settled on the next weekend that way they could drive out again!

            And for your information, not that I should have to explain myself, I had no idea that my deposit included a rehearsal. We have one attendant each so a rehearsal really isn’t necessary. And on a second note, we didn’t have a lot of days to choose from.

            Regardless, I will not enable their behavior. They can either come or not. Quite frankly, I could care less. I include them because they’re my family. That’s sacrifice enough, trust me.

          • avatar D C says:

            I thought the question about the wedding date was out of line too.  Lots of choices go into picking a date.  How could anyone presume to know what was going through your mind when you made that choice???  We chose our wedding date so that our friends from college, who lived out of state, could attend before leaving to go home for semester break.  Because we had to choose that weekend, and the venue was already booked on Saturday, we had a Sunday wedding.  My father in law is a minister, and he performed our wedding.  So we had to make sure it was in the middle of the day so it would be after morning church and before evening church.  We didnt’ have it at that church… which would have been impossible.  We had it at a beautiful chapel on the college campus I attended.

          • avatar Lindsey M says:

            AMW–I feel for you.  I have family that is sort of this way too.  They’re very locked into their own patterns and beliefs and it is very difficult to get them to stretch for others.  Their basic premise is “well, it’s always been this way…”  They have a hard time understanding that just because it was always a certain way and is good for them doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone.  

            As a result, I ended up being the person that put in the lionshare of the effort in maintaining relationships.  For example, I’d always have to go visit them, they’d never make the effort to visit me (last time I checked, the distance was just as long going as it was coming).  Their rationale was it was my fault for moving away.  I finally got to the point where putting in 80+% of the effort was no longer something I was willing to do and drew some more healthy boundaries.  Some of my family members stretched and put in effort to having a relationship, others did not.  

            It’s hard to accept that someone isn’t willing to put in equal amounts of time/effort or as much as you’re willing to, but that’s just how it goes.  It’s hard to feel like you care enough about them to do such things but they don’t care enough about you to reciprocate.  It’s that much more difficult when they’re family.  I feel for ya.  Constantly considering people that won’t reciprocate similar consideration is a drain and sometimes you’ve just got to accept that they are who they are, even if that’s a disappointment, and live your life as best you can.

  18. avatar purpleme5p says:

    My best friend who is more of a sister to me is white and mexican. Her mexican father forbids her to date AA guys let alone have them as friends. Often makes me wonder how he feels about our frinedship but I don’t hold it against our friendship. My husband is white and mexican and if you haven’t guessed already I am AA and Native American. My BFF is not against dating AA guys (she’s more attracted to them than I am!) and had it not been for her father she would have already. Attraction knows no race, color or creed. My husband and I love the looks we get as we enjoy our lives together. We didn’t choose each other for our race. From experience and that includes from family and the world, the best thing LW1 can do is leave it alone. THere is no changing the minds of a bigot and to try is an excercise in trivalness. Hopefully the granddaughter will have the courage to decide on her own what makes a friend, face grandma and leave racism behind. Then the world can become a less smaller place for those we leave behind.

  19. avatar mepclu says:

    Especially since he lives in the South? Really, Margo? I have lived all over the country, but primarily grew up in the South and live there currently. By far, this is not the most racist area of the country I have ever been in. People like to paint a picture of the South as if we are all just whistling Dixie and waiting to secede again. I do not appreciate such notions being propagated in a column I normally enjoy. While the people the LW1 describes certainly do sound racist — Margo you are coming as incredibly judgmental as well.

    • avatar amw says:

      Amen! See my comment below!

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      So true! My grandma was from Ohio and she was worried about introducing her future hub to her dad in 1932 because he was from the South (Confederate) (He was Scottish 5th generation American). He grew up sharing a bed with a AA kid who was the kid of one of the paid housestaff. Living in New England the racism is there-just kept more under wraps. 
      Growing up in the Midwest, i didn’t experience much racism until I went to college. Well, except the double standard when AA kids called white kids racial slurs.  In college,  it was the AA girls on my dorm floor who hated the white folks for no reason.  
      In New England, I also noted that the immigrant groups are prejudiced. What’s up with that? 
      Still a lot of work to be done.

    • avatar Angeline says:

      I too was caught by that phrase, Margo. I just discovered your column, and have spent a happy hour reading through the archives, until I got to this one. Prejudice is everywhere, isn’t it?

      My southern redneck cracker parent never uttered the “n” word in my presence, and never tolerated it. My other parent’s family from the civilized north regularly used it and commented on various “facts” about people of color. The most racist incident I ever witnessed occurred in New Jersey. Racism is not more rampant in the south, but it is assumed to be so.

      I’ve found that people who grow up in 98.5% white communities in the Midwest *believe* they are less racist, until they live in a community that is more racially mixed. The South has a very diverse population, and when people who are different from each other, whether it be culture, skin, age, whatever, have more contact, there will be more chances for misunderstandings and prejudices to show.

      Here’s a geographic prejudice: People in the South are more readily identified as racist, because they’re more out front with it, rather than keeping it stowed down so deep they don’t even recognize it in themselves. It doesn’t fit with the Northern, liberal, modern picture of themselves that people who look down on the South have painted. I’ve said often that of course there are racists in the South, but you can spot ’em at a thousand yards and avoid them. The Yankee version keeps it under wraps. Raise some hackles? It should. It’s just as judgmental as the “South” comment.

  20. avatar Mils says:

    This actually happened to one of my friends and I was devastated that her mother and sister would reject her completely if she continued to date a black man.  As a Latina, I was horrified to see this behavior. To think, God forbid this Irish princess would dare consider marrying a brown person.  So now, she’s married to a wonderful Italian American Man, but sadly I watched her throughout a decade dating black men all along knowing her family would disapprove.

  21. avatar amw says:

    I could never be friends with someone that wouldn’t tolerate people of a certain race, religion or sexuality.

    And Lym Bo, I must disagree with you. The only reason people that are “different” are treated as such is because of people that are narrow minded and ignorant. It isn’t necessary to warn someone of the hardships they could potentially face. It is necessary to encourage them to find someone they love and that loves them in return.

    Divorce rates are so high, how can we deny an opportunity to broaden our horizons (for lack of a better term coming to mind)? Don’t settle because it’s what your family wants. Seek every opportunity and it may surprise you. Love is about friendship, respect and trust. And if two people find that, no matter if one is green with pink polka dots, they are lucky! Let people be happy together.

    Is insisting that your children marry a Christian because you are Christian not passing judgment against others? Open your eyes.

    And might I mention, I was born, raised and am still living in the South! 😉

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      I agree. But, unfortunately, the narrow mindedness does exist & awareness allows one to decide how to handle it. Eyes wide open.  I wasn’t suggesting anyone of a particular religion marry someone of the same, but again, awareness of how it will effect your life is needed. I have two friends who thought they knew what they were getting into when marrying into a family of a different religion. They have been shocked what all it entailed to be a different religion. This wasn’t really an issue until children came along. Love is great and all, but the more similarities one has with their spouse the more likely they will succeed at marriage. That includes how they will discipline children, celebrate holidays, spend money, etc. Religion and culture are just two of the variables.

      • avatar amw says:

        On that point, I completely agree. Then again, these are conversations couples need to have well in advance of saying their vows. Even if you don’t intend on having children for several years, discussing how you will raise them is imminent if you want your relationship to succeed long-term.

        Being non-denominational myself, it’s easy to say and not as easy to practice. Thank you for your clarification.

  22. avatar brazilianbarbie says:

    I hope the same people that believe sexuality is a choice has used their super powers to change their body chemistry and turn their bodies into the best shape ever, and if they have mastered that please come over, because I have a tiny little belly that just won’t budge no matter how much I CHOOSE not to have it! and also my curly hair, I could use a mantra to tell myself every morning so I could smooth it to submission!

  23. avatar Karen S says:

    LW#2 — I see nothing wrong with what you did.  Your “friend” is trying to control you.  If what SHE is doing is more important than meeting you on time.  If HER feelings were hurt, she has no concern for yours.  Everyone has cell phones now. Next time, call her 5 minutes before you are leaving.  If she is not around the corner on her way tell her never mind, go without her and never invite her again.

  24. avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

    I suffer from “disgustingly prompt syndrome” (DPS).  It is a curse according to many friends and family members.  My husband has this too.  I cannot tell you how many time we have arrived at an event at the appointed hour only to sit and wait 15 or 20 minutes for everyone else to show up.  We try to show good humor and go with the flow but we are still always on time.  We will probably be on time for our funerals as well.  Hope someone will be there or will the priest wait for them??  Anyway, I guess it is perspective, Liz Taylor was 15 minutes late to her funeral by design; good for her.  I love my friends and if it’s not too long a wait I’ll wait.  What’s too long?  Depends on what we are doing and how long it’s been since we have seen each other.  Am I too patient?  Perhaps; but I love my friends and would miss seeing them if I were rigid about them being late.

  25. avatar Karen S says:

    Another thought…All the “late” people…..How do they manage to hold a job.  One has to be on time for that….I guess it comes back to the ego thing.  What they are doing, want or need is so much more important than everyone else.  And the comments from the folks with kids.  Don’t blame the kids.  You dress them, you put them in the car.  You decide when to get started. It is not their fault you are late.  When my son was little, we planned ahead.  What a concept.    

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      At 6, 8 & 8, you don’t dress them and put them in the car. The 1-4 age was the easy days for sure. Perhaps you have forgotten the 5-9 age when they have to do everything themselves, which leaves a lot of room for errors. You can’t compare your life with one child.  It’s a whole different game with four. It’s not an excuse, it’s reality.

      • avatar Lindsey M says:

        Lym Bo — that’s bull.  I grew up in a family of 4 kids and we were always on time.  Why?  Because my mother insisted on it.  Sure, there are times when you can’t anticipate little unexpected things, but for the most part, you have as much control as you want.  If you don’t have it, then there is a problem with your parenting style or time management skills.  It’s not the kids’ fault; it’s the parents’ fault.  Plenty of people with multiple kids can manage to be on time.  Your excuse is ridiculous.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          We used to be late for family holiday events…my mother would have all three of us (all girls, with a total of five years between us from oldest to youngest) dressed in our godawful holiday best, complete with tights, fancy dresses, coats, boots, hats, mittens and scarves…and my dad would decide it was time for a thirty-minute trip to the bathroom. Yes, he was a throne-squatting reader. My mother would have to remove the all of the outerwear (this was in Chicago, at Christmas, in the ’60’s, and no, we couldn’t wait outside, or stay in an idling car for the duration of dad’s pit-stop)…then, once dad was finished, make sure that none of us had to “go” (one bathroom, one dad…four females…and a 1 hour drive), then bundle us all up again. It absolutely never failed. Then they’d have an enormous fight all the way to his parents’ house.

          It isn’t a matter of kids…I have an autistic son and his six-years younger brother, and we were never late (my husband taught me all of the coping techniques I needed to change my own lateness issues…and they work beautifully). It’s parents…most of the time.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.”

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

  36. 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. 

  37. 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.  

  38. 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.

  39. 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.”

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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! 

  44. 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!

  45. 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.  

  46. 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.

  47. 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”.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.