Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Ms. Manners (that would be you faithful readers)

I need some help addressing a strange and uncomfortable situation.
Our neighbors have sold their house and are moving in two weeks. As a way to say farewell, I planned and hosted a cookout this past Saturday. We of course invited the neighbors from the other side as well since we are all friends. On several occasions throughout the week I let everyone know that dinner was going to be served between 7:30 and 8. The topic came up as close to grilling time as the night before when one neighbor issued a mac and cheese challenge to the other.
All day Friday I worked to prepare food. All day Saturday I finished food and cleaned my house. Beloved was forced to stay an hour and a half late at his office but still made it home by 7:45. There was still a chance to eat on time. Until...
My phone rang and the second neighbor informed me that he was just leaving the grocery store where he was picking up the ingredients for his girlfriend's mac and cheese contribution. In other words, she had had the whole day and was just beginning her preparations at the time we had said we were going to eat. Neighbor then told me that it was his fault because he had been at work all day. That was corrected when the guests of honor told me that he had been at their house to watch the Kentucky Derby not two hours before when Guest of Honor had been making her contribution.
Beloved disappeared and had I not seen him pass the kitchen window, I would have had no idea where he was. At 8:30 I called the neighbor and asked to speak to my husband. I was then told that he was helping her cook and he would be back with everyone in "a few minutes." When he came back, the cook was conspicuously absent as was the bread for the spinach dip they agreed to bring and the mac and cheese.
At 9:30 we finally sat down to eat. I tried to make pleasant conversation with her and completely avoided any mention of the tardiness. I was ready to let bygones be bygones. The table was barely cleared from dessert when she vanished with our neighbor.
As a gesture of faith and forgiveness, I extended a second invitation yesterday for dinner. No requirements; no time constraints. "I won't commit because I would hate to screw things up a second time and be late." Her sarcasm was thick and abrasive.
And this is not the first time this has happened. Three weeks ago a Sunday brunch was planned at my house without my knowledge for 12:30. Beloved was making the steak and eggs; they were bringing the pancakes. I got home from church at 11 and scrambled to clean up and get ready for company only to have Beloved vanish at 12:45 and come back reporting that the pancake batter hadn't even been mixed up much less cooked.
I would excuse her behavior as youth but she is the same age as me. I would let the "he was working excuse slide" but she has a car and was home all day (except for that period when she was watching The Derby). I would even forgive the rejection of last night's dinner as being simply uncomfortable. The problem lies in the fact that this is my husband's good friend and to have strain between the two of us creates an uncomfortable situation for them.
So I ask you, should I speak to her and let her know that all is well? And if I speak to her and try to put it away, do I address the constant tardiness? How do I address this with either of them?
I am more and more convinced that common manners and social graces are dead. I don't expect anyone to play by ALL of Emily Posts rules any more. But to arrive two hours late to dinner which was delayed on their behalf and not even extend an apology, takes the manner decomposition to a whole new level.
Am I too old fashioned? Do I expect too much of people? Am I a fountain pen in a iMac world?

Well, I didn't go this far - but that's not to say I didn't think about it.


Bloggymommy said...

That was very rude on her part! I dont blame you for being upset. As for me (I'm not confrontattional until pushed too far) next time I would tell her 6 and you plan on 8 that way she's on time without knowing it! lol Good luck!

Amanda said...

That is what we call a high maintenance friend. The one who says they'll be there at noon for lunch, but you know they won't be there until 1 at least. I'd tell your husband he's welcome to socialize with them, but not to expect you to extend your social graces to someone who has the manners of a slug. I'd also have him explain to his friend that the next time this woman offers to cook a dish to just "forget it. Everything's taken care of." Doing it yourself at that point is easier than *maybe* having something you should be able to count on.

This is a pet peeve of mine. If you don't want to make a dish, just say so. It's a lot easier to take than all this other bull crap.

H.E.Eigler said...

I couldn't deal with that - I don't know how you did! I'd be ending the relationship if it was me. RUDE!

Shannon said...

What I would do is just plan things from now with a schedule and if she is late or doesn't show up with her promised dish on time, still eat at the time scheduled. I would just make an extra dish or a little extra food in case her contribution doesn't show. People like that usually can't be changed.

Ragmansdaughter said...

I agree with the tell her the time to be there is 2 hours earlier than actually planned plan. I would also make sure that everyone that shows up on time, knows that appetizers will be served at the you told her dinner would be served. That way they don't have to remember not to tell her the "real" time dinner is happening. Then don't count on their contribution as part of dinner. Maybe assign something that they can just go to the store and pick up anyway, like drinks.

Fer said...

I can understand making concessions for her since she's habitually late, but the fact that SHE was rude to YOU, when you hadn't made a big deal out of it to begin with.... well, that would have pushed me over the edge. I'm not sure what I would do. I'm kind of glad my husband doesn't have any friends at the moment.

Sissy said...

I hate rudeness! Being late is rude when you don't apologize. Stuff happens and people are late but to not apologize? That just will not do. All that said, bringing up the fact that she is an ass won't make her stop being one. If you're ok with not being close with them anymore, let her have it but if not you can always passive aggressively be late for her crap next time :)

Jenera said...

People just have no class these days. I get worked up over things because people have become so selfish and rude.

I'd just write her off as rude and not go out of your way to be nice or help. You've made a good showing at trying to be a good neighbor and friend.

Funny Girl Goes Blog said...

Wow! I thought I had a rude neighbor; I think your neighbor takes the cake of my neighbor. My saving grace is that I don't have to make nice and socialize with her. Good Luck!

onmymission said...

I'm more for the "telling her not to bring anything" solution and that way if she is not ready and there by the time planned, you can go ahead without her ! that way you don't need to address the tardiness, but she will suffer consequences of her own actions!! She just sounds lazy to me!!! hehehe orrrrr, you could let her find your blog, lmao, and she could read it for

onmymission said...

just adding a little more to what i said above....when she comes late and you are already eating, you could simply say "oh, I didn't realize you were still coming...I figured you couldn't make it..." Hope she learns soon!!!