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Respectfully Yours: Better late than never a concern

Dear Jacquelyn,

I enjoy having dinner with friends, but one of my friends is always late. At a restaurant that means waiting near the door. At home, it means a meal that overcooks because no one knows when he’s going to arrive. He isn’t intentionally late. His concept of time is just not the same as mine. Can you offer suggestions to kindly handle my friend’s chronic lateness?

Dear Reader,

Have you tried speaking honestly, without judgment to your friend?

If not, it may be well worth having a heart-to-heart conversation. He may not be aware how his chronic lateness is affecting you and plans that are made. A friendly conversation is one way to go and may lead to a resolution in one form or another.

Knowing that your friend is not intentionally trying to annoy you doesn’t solve the problem of those wasted minutes in the restaurant lobby or overcooked dinner.

One thing you could do is tell him that the meeting time is lateness) earlier than it actually is. Take into account his usual amount of lateness. That way, you’ve got some chance of him arriving on time.

Many times, it’s hard for someone to change ar habit of being late. You have to improvise or plan accordingly when it comes to the person.

You might want to consider steering your interactions toward situations that don’t create this “you wait for him” dynamic.

If you’ve got mutual friends, invite another person or two to come to dinner. Those of you who arrive on time can start chatting and your tardy friend can join you when he shows up minutes later.

Count yourself lucky to have a good friend. With a little effort and honest communication, it’s possible to work through time management issues.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2021 Jacquelyn Youst