Since You Asked…

Photo: Google

Dear Caroline,

In the scheme of things, this problem is small, but it’s causing a rift between my new in-laws and me. They’re very punctual people. My father, on the other hand, is chronically very late. My in-laws get aggravated whenever they extend an invitation that includes him because the whole party is often kept waiting until he finally shows up. This situation came to a head last weekend. It was my mother-in-law’s birthday. They celebrated at a restaurant and later told me they felt my father ruined the party because he arrived 45 minutes past the appointed time.

I have tried talking to him many times. He apologizes, but continues to show up late. I love my father, but I don’t love being caught in the middle of this embarrassing situation. What can I do?

…Tired of the Tardiness

Dear Tired,

If a mature person is set in their ways, maneuvering around them is often more effective than trying to persuade them to change.

Our family once had a beloved uncle who was also chronically late. We got around the problem by adopting two “time zones.” The actual time, and UTT (Uncle Tony Time.) Uncle Tony Time was always 30 minutes earlier than the actual time when making plans and issuing invitations. For example, if everyone else was told to arrive at 8 p.m., Uncle Tony was told to come at 7:30. This adjustment wasn’t foolproof, but it generally worked.

Why don’t you give it a try?


Do you have a problem that’s been on your mind for a while? Send it to:


Leave a Reply