Editor’s Note: Welcome to Red Thread’s new advice columnist, Debra Darvick, a longtime Detroiter with…
We have dear friends with whom we enjoy many cultural events. The downside is they are always late. They arrive at 7:20 or 7:30 for 7 p.m. dinner reservations. Last week we were meeting at the symphony. They arrived so late we had to stand in the back until the first selection was completed. They made “standing room only” jokes until we could be ushered to our seats.
I have tried fudging our time of meeting so that even if late they would arrive “on time.” But then my husband and I are still stuck waiting for them.
We are planning on going away with this couple over the winter, and I just see one minefield after another: getting to the airport and not missing our flight, showing up on time for the excursions we’ve planned. Other than be late or miss out on a fun trip, what can I do to get them to see the importance of being prompt?
— Timed Out
I’m all for waiting for Moshiach (the Messiah) but waiting for perennial latecomers is trying indeed.
That your friends are always late and even joke about it tells me (and should tell you) that they don’t care if they inconvenience you. What’s more, they have trained you and your husband to accommodate their rudeness!
Since it doesn’t sound like you want to drop this couple as friends, realize that you can’t change them, but you can change your response.
Next concert, instead of waiting in the lobby, go to your seats 10 minutes before curtain. If you have dinner reservations for 7 p.m. and they haven’t shown up by 7:15, go ahead and order your appetizers.
When it comes to the trip, play it safe. Get to the airport under your own steam. Arrange to meet the friends at the gate. If they haven’t shown up by boarding time, board the plane and take off.
Rebooking fees being what they are, I imagine they’ll make the plane. As for the excursions — show up, go and enjoy. Once you and your husband have retrained yourselves not to allow them to steal your time, they may get the picture. Or at the very least, a watch.
Last year, my wife’s long-widowed father moved to an independent living facility. It was his idea and he has adjusted well. He recently introduced us to his lady friend who is also a resident. She is lovely; both my wife and I like her and are happy that they have hit it off.
Recently, however, we have begun to hear a bit too much about how well they are hitting it off. Whenever we are together, my father-in-law can’t help but crow about his lady friend’s physical attributes, how sexy she is … They are obviously intimate together, which is, or should be, their business. My wife and I are uncomfortable hearing about it. We don’t have to worry about unintended pregnancies, but how do I get him to zip his lip? It’s embarrassing.
— Too Much Information
How fortunate for you and your wife that her father was wise enough to make a move under his own steam and so successfully. That he has met a companion adds a lovely new dimension to his life.
Next time the talk turns to events best left under the covers, a simple, “Dad, we’re happy for you but that’s between you and your lady friend” should suffice. If he starts up again with the adolescent crowing, remind him again. And again if you have to.
You didn’t mention if lady friend is present during these boast sessions. Hopefully not. If he continues, you or your wife will have to take him aside and tell him in no uncertain terms that you are not interested in hearing the details of his intimate life. Mention that you will excuse yourself from the room should he start up again with the play by plays.
Two cautions however — if your father-in-law begins exhibiting other out-of-character and/or inappropriate behaviors, he may need to be seen by a geriatric specialist to rule out any developing neurological or other health issues. And while pregnancy is not an issue, STDs are.
According to a New York Times article earlier this year, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among seniors is rising. It might be worth mentioning to the facility’s directors that they make available a class, or at the very least information, on safe sex practices. RT
Debra Darvick shares her unique take on life, books and more at debradarvick.com.