DEAR READERS: I recently ran a question from “Prompt In-Law,” who reported that her beloved daughter-in-law was chronically late. In my answer, I reflected on this common annoyance. I suggested that the MIL should speak with her frankly about it, continue with their on-time plans and take separate transportation to avoid frustration.
I’ve received hundreds of responses to this letter. With the holiday season approaching, I thought I would share readers’ experiences.
DEAR AMY: I have two points to share for parents of disorganized children.
1) Try not to yell when you are already late. I’m already anxious, and the yelling means every thought falls right out of my head. Wait for a quieter moment to correct the late child.
2) Try to teach your child to break down the process of leaving the house into steps. “We’re leaving in 15 minutes. Did you pack your bag? Do you know where your coat is? Where are your keys? Do you have a water bottle?”
As she gets older, try, “We’re leaving in 15 minutes. Tell me what you need to do before we get out the door.”
– The Time Optimist
DEAR AMY: I used to run 20 to 30 minutes late for everything. I rationalized that I was just busy. One day, a close and brave friend confronted me.
“I cherish our time together, but your chronic tardiness is rude and beneath you,” he said. “And the unavoidable conclusion is that you think your time is more valuable than mine. Please think about it.”
I did, and I changed … to my great benefit.
– Tom In Winter Park
DEAR AMY: I also have a chronically late relative: my sister. In 60-plus years, good old, “SlowStop-and-Reverse” hasn’t changed. But I have learned never to ask her to bring the appetizers.
DEAR AMY: We were friends with a couple who were always late, so when I invited them to dinner, I told them to come an hour before I planned to start serving. For once in their lives, they were on time – and I was in the shower!
– Tolerating Lateness Now