Monday, May 9, 2011

Managing my reactions

The one thing that irritates me immensely and which I am powerless to change is when other people’s poor time management impacts on me. In particular, we have two family members who no matter where we go or what we are doing – they will always be late. This happened last night with our Mother’s Day dinner.

We all arrived at the restaurant at 5.30 as specified by my brother-in-law. He has carried out electrical work at this restaurant on a number of occasions so was lucky enough to organise a reservation. This restaurant is tremendously popular and is always extremely difficult to get a reservation at.

My other brother-in-law rang at 5.45 to say that he and his wife were still at home and wouldn’t be leaving for at least another 15 minutes. That meant they were going to be at least 45 minutes late. This infuriates me, it was a Sunday so neither of them was working that day, and they have no children - so what the hell is a reasonable excuse for being so late? There wasn’t one.

We live twice as far away, hubby worked that day and we had two children with us, yet we still got there on time.

Their lack of consideration infuriates me because brother-in-law who organised the reservation had told us that the restaurant were running two sittings that night and we would need to clear our table by a certain time – understandable request and was no problem until we were forced to wait for the late arrivals. In the end we ordered our meals, none of the nine of us who had arrived on time were prepared to wait any longer. They ordered when they arrived and still received their meals at the same time as us – grrr!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes events beyond our control mean that we will have occasions when we are running late. But not all the time! This is simply poor time management, a lack of consideration for others and plain outright rudeness.

So I have several options in dealing with their behaviour – the four A’s of dealing with stressful situations (which any of you can use for stressful situations in your own lives) More detailed information on dealing with stressful situations is available here
1) Avoid the situation entirely (This is a little bit difficult because they’re family)
2) Alter the situation (I could say something to them, which will probably just cause hassles and will it change things, probably not)
3) Adapt myself to the situation (This is along the lines of giving them earlier times for dinner dates etc and hoping that works to ensure they arrive on time – for important things I probably would, but to be honest I can’t be bothered. Besides I rarely set up these things being that it’s my husbands side of the family)
4) Accept the situation (this for me is probably the best option – basically I need to change my reaction to what’s annoying me)

So in dealing with this sort of stressful situation in the future, I know that I need to change my reaction to the situation. I need to keep this in mind for next time, if they’re not there when we’re ready to order tough luck, we’ll order. Then they’ll just have to deal with their own lack of consideration, instead of us enabling their behaviour by waiting until they arrive.

For the record, the meal (once we finally got it) was well worth the wait.
Cheers, Fi

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ~ M. Scott Peck


  1. Oh that's so annoying. Tardiness is one of my pet peeves. I always make an effort to be on time, so I can hardly accept someone else's lack of consideration for my time, especially if I have my son with me.

    But good on you to keep the 4As in mind! Hope you had a great Mother's Day!

  2. Alison - I did have a fantastic Mother's Day, hope you did too.

  3. I used to tell my brother family dinners started two hours earlier than they actually did -- that way he'd sometimes make it on time.

    Eventually, I chose to begin the meal on time and let him deal with his own lateness. It definitely had an affect for him to walk into a restaurant and find us already through the first course.

    I told him that I respect his choice to be late -- please respect mine to begin events on time.

    Hugs -- you are doing nothing wrong by choosing to honour the time of you and your guests, regardless of what others are doing.

  4. My husband and I do the same thing as Louise. The people who are generally late get a different deadline than the ones that show up on time. So far, they've been late so consistantly that they haven't seemed to notice.

    Stinkin' family. So loveably annoying... LOL

  5. I am just coming to terms with the 'avoid' option. It *is* hard to avoid some things and some people. I have also learned that as soon as you decide not to rescue another person (like not waiting for them to turn-up, just ordering in this situation of repeat/unnecessary tardiness) they then think that you are a persecutor. Sigh.

  6. The thing I dislike most about Blogger is my inability to respond individually to your comments.

    Isn't it sad that we are forced to alter arrival times for people who aren't considerate enough to turn up on time?

    Karyn - about feeling like the persecutor, sad but true :-)

  7. while i agree with some of the comments, punctuality is a must for me. and some folks make it a lifestyle to be late. as i don't have family here anymore, (my mom was one of those...), i only have "friends" to contend wth, and i got rid of a few over time. after yars of their abuse, because that is abusing my good nature, i would go to that coffeeshop where we were supposed to meet, and after sitting there alone for an hour, i would leave and do something else. when they would finally call me, i would tell them i had moved on to "plan B", because they forced me into it and i had a life to live. and that whatever time i had for them was now expired.... some got the message, some didn't and i don't see them anymore.

    yeah, i can be mean, somewhat...
    but i like people with good manners.


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