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Chronic lateness with work as the excuse......understandable or rude?

20 replies

Earlybird · 07/02/2007 14:25

My cousin is the person in question. Her behaviour the last 3 times we've been scheduled to meet:

  1. Planned to drive with her (and my out of town houseguests) to the country for a weekend away. She arrived 1hr and 15 mins past agreed time (on a Saturday morning), due to 'a demanding client'. We were ready to depart at the agreed time, and rushed like mad things to be on time.

2. Invited to my house for dinner, and called to say she was 'held up' at work. Her dh came at agreed time. She arrived an hour late.

3. Invited to my house for dinner. She called to say she might be late, as negotiations for a deal were underway. Her dh came at agreed time. She never made it. I sent him home with a plate of food for her.

She is a self employed estate agent, and is of the attitude that she must work/be available when her clients demand it. Usually she is delayed because a client decides they wish to make an offer on a property, so she must write it up and then negotiate with seller/seller's agent.

And, when she finally does arrive, she tosses off a breezy 'sorry, these clients can be difficult you know' or 'I got caught up'. To her, it is perfectly reasonable, and I should understand that it is 'work' and nothing personal. FWIW, my cousin is independently wealthy, so does not 'need' the income.

I am losing patience with her, as this seems to be a chronic and continuing occurence. How would you respond, and what would you do?
OP posts:

CountessDracula · 07/02/2007 14:26

Well if she calls to say she will be late it's not so bad.

If these things really are urgent and it is her business I can understand her wanting to do it. I have often been late for things due to meetings overrunning or a crisis


CountessDracula · 07/02/2007 14:27

Not calling is unacceptable though


McDreamy · 07/02/2007 14:28

I think that next time you organise something with her say to her - look is this going to happen because if it's not then I'd rather not make the arrangement if that's ok. Be nice but get your point across. I would alos be getting a bit cheesed off by now!


clairemow · 07/02/2007 14:29

Agree with CD - she's probably afraid that if she isn't there to deal with clients when they want her, her reputation won't be as good, and she won't get so many clients, and so her business will suffer. But not to call is unacceptable.


Glassofwine · 07/02/2007 14:32

Pre-children I had a v demanding job with long hours and lots of last minute delays. Friends had to understand, those who didn't went by the wayside, most understood. It wasn't by choice that I'd be delayed except that I choose to be professional. If a friend said what McDreemy suggests I'd be hurt, feel that they were a bit small minded and probably not bother with them again.


oliveoil · 07/02/2007 14:34

But it is work and not personal though isn't it, annoying as it must be if you have prepared food etc.

She is not doing it to spite you is what I mean. And is doesn't matter is she is wealthy or not if she enjoys her work.

I would still invite her to things but say to her that dinner is at 8am and if she is running late to call and you will put hers to one side.


Bink · 07/02/2007 14:47

Um, EB, I think she's taking advantage (of your family connection and generous spirit). Not many people would be so kind as to send food home!

She is allowing herself to believe that you won't mind - that you will always make allowances. So, what do you feel she is essentially like? - if you were to tell her she isn't behaving fairly [which is what this boils down to], would she get it? or would she just go on being breezy (and, underneath that, defensive)? I think this is one of those situations where you have to decide what to do based on what the possible outcomes might be: so that if all you'd get for your pains is denial/dismissiveness, I would just not say anything, I think.

Would you miss her if you didn't see her?

(Book shopping?)


crazylazydaisy · 07/02/2007 14:49

Why not tell her the wrong time to get there i.e. if you are going to do food for 8pm then tell her 6.30pm and if she's late food wont be spoiled. If she's early - then get the wine uncorked and flowing!! Non-alcoholic of course


Earlybird · 07/02/2007 14:50

Ok, you are all giving me a bit of perspective. More thoughts:

  1. We don't meet up much, so I view our time together as something to really look forward to. When work continually gets in the way, it's hard to feel important/special.

2. These delays inevitably come well outside office hours, so brings up the question of whether or not her clients should reasonably expect her to be available at 8.30 on a Saturday morning, or 9.00 on a weeknight. She (and they) think so - and obviously this is her decision, and not mine. But it is no fun to sit and wait.

2. From time to time, it's understandable that something could come up, and I am a reasonable person. But the fact that everyone else has to revolve around her business demands is hard to accept. Again, if it was once in awhile, OK. But, not all the time.

3. I hate waiting. I am punctual, and will move heaven and earth to be where I said I'd be at the agreed time. And, her delays are not 15 or 20 minutes. I'm OK about it up to a point, and then I get agitated which means I have to struggle to be pleasant when she finally arrives....

I'm taking this personally, aren't I?
OP posts:

Earlybird · 07/02/2007 15:01

I'm so emotional that I can't even number the points of my argument correctly! Off for school run, so will check in later.

Bink - will email. Found myself unexpectedly in Borders last night and thought of our plan....

OP posts:

3andnomore · 07/02/2007 15:05

Well, if she is a self employed Estate agent than she probably will have to be available whenever...!
But, she should let you know, I would think that is just common courtesy(sp???).


lizziemun · 07/02/2007 15:55

Are you in the uk, i only ask because whenever my family/us have dealt with estate agents they tend to only be available 9am to 5.30pm and when we spoken to them near 5.30pm we told nothing can be done to the next day.

I think she is taking advantage of you being family.


McDreamy · 07/02/2007 16:00

Really Glassofwine - I think if I had been treated like this by a friend I would also be feeling really hurt and taken advantage of.
"I am losing patience with her, as this seems to be a chronic and continuing occurence" I really not surprised you feel like this.


unknownrebelbang · 07/02/2007 16:35

TBH, I'd not be happy either.

I can understand it happening once in a while, but not seemingly every time - and I am used to having stuff cancelled/delayed due to DH's unavoidable delays at work.

The business appears to be more important than her relationships. She probably doesn't even realise that this is how it looks.


Earlybird · 07/02/2007 17:51

I am in the UK, but my cousin is in America. I think that adds to the equation - we are not there very often. We don't have the opportunity to spend much time together, so I hope/expect that she would prioritise seeing us.

Pre dd, I used to have a very demanding job that required long hours, many evenings, phone calls at home, and a great deal of International travel. Somewhere along the way, I realised that if I was always available, they would come to expect/demand that of me. If I established reasonable/workable perameters, they could learn to respect that too.

I learned that lesson very well when I was doing some sessions with a psychotherapist. She expected me in her office at 12 noon once a week - and knew I would have difficulty keeping that appointment. But I was amazed to learn that I simply had to tell my boss that I would be taking an early lunch one day a week - and I eventually learned to stick to it ....even if it meant leaving a meeting early. There were even times I asked for (and got) meetings scheduled so that I could accomodate that appointment. It was hard to do, and there were times I missed the session. But, I think the point was to learn to value/take care of myself instead of always being at everyone else's beck and call. If I respected my time and needs, others could learn to also.

Anyway, it's a long disgression, but I think what I'm trying to say is that I think her constant lateness shows a lack of respect for me and our time together. Of course, I can be understanding. But, all the time? And can I really invest emotionally in someone who can only be with me when nothing else gets in the way?

OP posts:

sazzybee · 07/02/2007 18:09

'I learned that lesson very well when I was doing some sessions with a psychotherapist. She expected me in her office at 12 noon once a week - and knew I would have difficulty keeping that appointment. But I was amazed to learn that I simply had to tell my boss that I would be taking an early lunch one day a week - and I eventually learned to stick to it ....even if it meant leaving a meeting early.'

That bit is the crux of the matter I think. Most of us can leave work if we really have to. When I had a hugely demanding job that used to spill over into weekends or evenings, I used to do was cancel things altogether or not arrange them in the first place if I knew I was likely to be horrendously late. It meant I missed out but that it wasn't other people's problem. It also forced me to do something about it!

The job of a realtor in the US is a very different thing from a UK estate agent - much more pressured and competitive. Having said that, to keep people waiting without even acknowledging it's putting you out is out of order.

I'd do the 'invite her for 6 when you want her there for 8' thing that someone else suggested. May shame her into changing her behaviour!


Glassofwine · 07/02/2007 18:16

I still think you are being a bit naive, there just are some jobs that work like this. However, next time you speak to her why not say something like - I love seeing you so much and we don't seem to be picking a good time of day/week is there a time that's good for you, so I can have you to myself.


Earlybird · 07/02/2007 18:32

Glassofwine - why naive? Do you mean unrealistic?

OP posts:

robbosmum · 15/02/2007 16:27

i too have a friend like this ,,and i have learned to say one time knowing she will be late whilst secretly having one an hour later in my mind..some people are panicked if late ?(me included, i have NEVER been late for anything in my life) other people dance to a different tune, if it wasnt work she was being late for , it will be for something else..frustrating but to chill is the only way to relieve your frustration.


2007club · 08/11/2022 19:20

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