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The Tyranny of the Tardy

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The Tyranny of the Tardy

I have a friend—bless her heart—who is habitually late to everything! It all started when Lynn went to work for me as a freelance editor. She never showed up when she said she would, always arrived looking like the mad scientist with hair askew and papers flying out of her cramped notebooks, and as breathless as if she’d just run the Boston Marathon before remembering, “Oh! I have an appointment!”

But Lynn is brilliant. She can’t find her car keys, can’t remember where she parked her car, can’t remember her husband’s birthday, and can’t remember appointments; but I realized very quickly that some people, like Lynn, have bigger things going on inside their heads than the mundane issues of life.

My solution? I started giving Lynn a one-hour grace period. In other words, if I wanted Lynn to meet me at two in the afternoon, I’d tell her to be there at one in the afternoon. If we were meeting for lunch at noon, I’d tell her eleven in the morning and I’d bring a book to keep me company until she arrived. This method hasn’t failed me yet, and I am less frustrated with Lynn and her tardiness.

Yes, I talked to her quite frankly about this bad habit and she always felt genuinely terrible about it. But I think we both knew it would never change so we started laughing about it instead of trying to cure her. In Lynn’s case, it was always just me and not a room full of people waiting for her so I took that into consideration when I hatched my one-hour grace plan for her. You make concessions for certain things in life, and if something is important enough to you then you can learn to adapt to just about any situation. All’s well that ends well on that note.

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By A.J. DePriest, DivineCaroline

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3:26AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

Great article, and thankyou for the funny suggestions.

10:03PM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

I think being late can have a genetic component that causes time distortion or inability to judge time correctly. This runs in my family - 2 of my 3 children have it, the other does not. All of my siblings have it. I don't think it is environmental as I raised all my children pretty much the same.

8:09PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

This is a common factor with a couple of friends of mine. I have given them the 1 hour, because nothing I said ever made a difference, and after 1 hour I go about my business. One of my friends got the hint and is now usually closer to being on time, 15 min late. The other will never change and I use the Jewish time on that one and say to arrive 1 to 1 1/2 hours early and it usually works. I have gone off without her, but that still doesn't faze her. Smile and choose your battles. Some are not worth the headache you will cause yourself if you get upset.

1:24PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

The story of my wife.

7:55AM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

good idea

11:10AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Hmm... seems rather passive-aggressive to me...

6:15AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Noted,good ideas ,thanks.

4:57AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Thanks for the great tips Samantha.

4:38AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

great ideas

3:01PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012


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