TODAY   |  June 27, 2013

How to get a chronically late friend to change

We all know someone who always seems to be running late. Philip Galanes of The New York Times’ Social Qs column and psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein talk about how to cope with frustrating chronic latecomers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> on modern manners, the waiting game . we all know someone who always seems to be running just a little late.

>> over time it can become annoying. it's downright rude. you know who you are. just kidding. okay. we pose the question what should we do about this? philip writes the social column in the sunday style section of the "new york times." jennifer hart is a psychologist. good morning to both of you.

>> good morning.

>> good morning.

>> i love talking to you but we have to go to the psychologist here. is there a condition of certain people just cannot get somewhere on time?

>> well yes, actually. there has been some research that shows people who are more anxious and tend to be procrastinators actually do have a problem getting places on time. they're anxious they're forgetting to do something, anxious about being on time so it actually makes them late. or there are people who just think they can do that one thing more. i can add that one thing.

>> we're already rolling our eyes here.

>> in doing my research i was rolling my eyes, too, because i think there are also some people who just think their time is more important than your time.

>> passive aggressive. i control this time. i'll tell you when dinner starts. i'll tell you when this meeting starts.

>> listen. part of the best way that we can go through this world is taking care of the relationships we care about. and sometimes we just got to say, you're not taking care of me. you're not treating me right. you're turning up 15, ten minutes late and it is a big problem. it is excruciating to say it but much better than letting it eat away at the relationship.

>> you are saying you should confront them.

>> not confront.

>> obviously if these people could help it they wouldn't be late. honestly i was texting with my best friend this morning who is often hours late.

>> hours?

>> she says every time i get ready i think i will be on time.

>> what she should do is it is a planning deficit. maybe she says it will take ten minutes to blow dry my hair when in fact it takes a half hour.

>> why don't you help her out and go, you know, meredith, it's time for you --

>> he said it first.

>> meredith, you know, it's time for us to be walking out the door if we're going to get to the restaurant on time. are you doing that?

>> what about the whole fire with fire thing? they keep you waiting, let them see how it feels. keep them waiting.

>> for punctual people though i think that's -- i think that would make me so anxious i would die.

>> how about the fake deadline? dinner is at 7:00 when actually it is 7:30.

>> i lie. the movie starts at 8:00. it really starts at 10:00 .

>> that works a couple times.

>> the problem is they catch on so now they know that is not really the right time.

>> they do catch on.

>> really they have to be retrained. we have to retrain our friends. sometimes having that conversation, not a confrontation but a real conversation about how it impacts your relationship with them, how you find them unreliable, you don't feel you can trust them and how you don't want to spend time with them because you're sitting around twiddling their thumbs while they're doing whatever they are doing is unfair.

>> my mom has a great way to deal with this. she dealt with an old friend this way. she would say whoever is late is picking up the tab. that woman never showed up late again.

>> that is a good technique.

>> i like that. after how many late episodes is it okay to say i'm not making plans with you anymore?

>> i think that depends on the person. you have to recognize your personal limit and go with that.

>> if it's your sister it doesn't matter. you're with her the rest of your life.