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your time management problem should not be my problem - The inexplicable charisma of the rival [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Just me.

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your time management problem should not be my problem [Jul. 12th, 2010|01:11 am]
Just me.
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I have a friend, let's call her Alice because I don't know anyone named that. Alice Is often late to stuff to the point where her friends joke about "Alice time". I picked Alice up from the airport (at 11pm on a weekday) recently, and I was on time, so I've already done Alice a favor this week that inconvenienced me. We made plans to hang out on Saturday and have lunch.

I phone Alice around 10: 30 am on Saturday to see if lunch is still a go. She says she has some computer stuff she absolutely has to do that morning, so no lunch until 1 pm. I say okay. I do not eat breakfast (aside from a cup of coffee) since I am anticipating lunch out.

at 1:30 Alice calls and says she's running late and that her computer stuff is taking longer than she thought. she needs another half hour, then it will take another half hour for her to get here to North Seattle by bike. I say, okay, so 2:30, and eat a granola bar to fix my blood sugar.

Saturday is a beautiful day, and I'm sitting inside waiting for Alice since I'm still on crutches and don't want to wear myself out by hobbling around the yard. I start browsing Facebook and am annoyed to see that while Alice has not posted a status update, she has apparently "liked" a local band while ostensibly doing important computer work. While I dick around on FB as much as the next person, I am irritated that Alice has spent precious Lara-waiting hours on frivolous FB crap.

at 3 pm, I figure that under "alice time" she'll be here any moment. I'm hesitant to phone since I know she's biking. At 3:45 pm, I am livid and call Alice, only to find that "the computer stuff took longer than I thought" and "The day just kind of got away from me" and that she has left her house but is still in her neighborhood running an errand (that was not mentioned in the original timetable). I tell Alice that I'm hungry, angry, and not willing to wait another half hour for lunch at 4:15 and to just forget it, and that I am mad at her. She apologizes in a way that does not make me feel like she is sincere.

I leave the house and try to salvage my day, but I am so angry I am not successful. When I get home and read FB, I see that Alice had POSTED TO THE WALL OF HER CAT'S ACCOUNT (which Alice also runs) at around 3 pm, when she was already a half hour late from the SECOND postponement she gave me. The important computer stuff she had to do apparently means that every half hour she's reading her FB friends list and "liking" bands they like, and killing time posting to something that is basically her own wall since I really doubt what she posted will impact her cat's weekend plans.

If a date kept me waiting almost 3 hours, I'd strongly consider a kick to the groin and never hanging out again unless I got a groveling apology. I'd be more willing to forgive "alice time" if I hadn't seen evidence that Alice was shirking work to do inane FB crap....twice in a day. Alice has been late before (and has canceled in a reasonable time frame if she was too busy to get somewhere beyond a reasonable delay) but it has never been this blatant, this bad, or so humiliating (I was too busy posting to my CAT'S WALL to consider the impact my lateness would have on your schedule).

When he returns from his afternoon outings, Paul mentions that I am bad about holding grudges. I feel like the grudges I still nurse are ones where a terrible injustice has been done to me with no attempt at reparations, and thus, are mostly justified. We will see where this one falls. I suspect Alice would not see the connection between "dicking around on FB to avoid important work" (which we've all done) and "getting caught dicking around on FB when you're 2 hours late to meet a real life friend" and why one is so much more egregious than the other.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dougo
2010-07-12 01:21 pm (UTC)
Playing somewhat of a devil's advocate here: When I'm working on the computer, I often run into periods where I have to sit and wait a few minutes for code to compile, or tests to run, or packages to install, or files to transfer. Switching over to Facebook for those few minutes doesn't mean that I'm avoiding work, or that it's causing me to work slower, I'm just filling the dead time during which I would otherwise be sitting and staring at the screen. And even when I don't need to wait for something but I'm just deep into fixing a complicated bug or learning a new system, sometimes I just need to take a few minutes break from time to time to let things digest in the back of my head while I do something frivolous in another window.

This totally doesn't excuse Alice's behavior-- at 1:30 (or really at 1pm or before) she should have offered to reschedule rather than asking you to wait an extra hour (at least). And running errands two hours later without even calling you is just preposterous. But I wouldn't fixate on the Facebook stuff as being at all relevant to What Alice Did Wrong.
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[User Picture]From: lara7
2010-07-12 05:29 pm (UTC)

I see your point...

Alice was supposed to be working on resumes/job apps, not compiling code or installing software, so I'm sure it was more of a "I gotta take a break" than "this window is tied up". I see your point, but I still had a visceral reaction of "this is what was so important that Alice is 3 hours late?" when I discovered that "Alice likes Grizzly Bear and 3 other pages". You are correct that the lateness is more egregious than the wasting time on FB, but I'd certainly be less angry at Alice if she was doing something else (like having a flat tire or getting caught in a long line at the grocery) while she was making me wait and not calling to cancel.
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[User Picture]From: erikred
2010-07-13 03:07 am (UTC)
I have a friend like that. My friends and I have similarly taken to joking about "Soandso Time." We came to the conclusion long ago that the only way to deal with this was by simply not counting on him to show up until he actually showed up. Plans to meet him for lunch, for example, always entail going someplace where one wouldn't mind eating on one's own... and always bringing a good book. There's no waiting for him anymore. One simply sets a time and invites him to coexist in the moment, and one invites other friends along so that when he fails to arrive, one still has a good time.

When Soandso does occasionally arrive, even hours late, his friends are already there and in full swing, so his arrival inevitably raises cheers. And when he doesn't arrive or is inevitably detained, enh, well, he's not entirely missed.

This, of course, doesn't help with the initial infuriation that getting stood up by him entails, but I thought perhaps you'd like to know that there is a light at the end of that red-tinged, blood-soaked tunnel.
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[User Picture]From: shadesofautumn
2010-07-13 11:16 am (UTC)
I agree with the poster above who said that it's more about the lateness than about the FB stuff-- although both are pretty egregious.

The lateness really is just an issue of common courtesy-- e.g., *you* should not have had to call *her* at 3:45. She should have called you when she left the house, to give you a head's up/ETA. She should have known better than to run an errand when she was already 2+ hours late. She should have had some sense that things could have taken longer than expected and cancelled rather than having you sit around waiting. She even could have realized that applying for jobs on a Saturday is an activity that could have been tackled *after* lunch instead of *before*.

But you know all of those things. The real issue here is that the message Alice is sending you is this: "My time is more valuable than your time." That arrogance / lack-of-consideration-for-others / selfishness is, certainly, enough to hold a grudge over-- or, the very least-- enough to find a way (as the poster directly above suggests) not to have your plans hinge on her in any way.

I obviously don't know anything about Alice, but I'm wondering if she's also the type who wouldn't even notice for months if you stopped making plans with her.
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[User Picture]From: herbaliser
2010-07-13 03:56 pm (UTC)
Someone like that commented in my LJ the other day, using her chronic lateness as an example of something she does that doesn't (to put it bluntly) make her a bad person. It was interesting to see that justification from the other side, as I seriously do believe that chronic lateness makes you a bad person.
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[User Picture]From: dirtylibrarian
2010-07-14 12:25 am (UTC)
We've discussed this in RL, but for me it is all about respect. It is just disrespectful to waste other people's time by making them wait. I've got one guy friend who would be Serious Boyfriend Material if he wasn't on chronicallylatetime. Best solution is either make plans where you don't rely on them to get there at specific time, you come to their place, or don't make plans at all. Be sure not to put yourself in a position to get pissed again if you know they can't be counted on.

And Paul is right...you are a total grudge holder. The phrase that jumps out at me in that paragraph is "terrible injustice". Being really fucking late is damned rude, but not a terrible injustice. Perhaps other grudges are similarly, um, hyperbole?
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