He never arrives on time and he resents me being

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend that I interact with very frequently. He’ll tell me to meet him at his apartment at a certain time. If I am on time, he almost always seems annoyed, he asks why I am so early and complains that he feels rushed.

When I ask him if I misunderstood or misremembered the appointed time, he looks at the clock and admits that he lost track of time and did not realize that it was already that time.

Tired of his irritability, I’ve gotten used to being several minutes late. Overall this seems to have solved the problem. However, very occasionally, he will notice that I am a few minutes late and ask me, in a way that seems to accuse me of wasting his time, why I am late.

I tried to be honest once and told him that it seemed more polite to give him a few more minutes to prepare. That was a mistake, as he didn’t like the implication that he wasn’t normally on time (although he wasn’t!).

Now, I just apologize and promise to make amends even though I have no intention of doing so, as being on time is much more likely to cause problems than being a little late.

However, I’ve been wondering if this is the best approach. Does Miss Manners have a better solution, other than breaking off the friendship? Although my friend is cranky about the weather, she has many other redeeming characteristics and we have many mutual interests.

KIND READER: It sounds like you’re spending a lot of unnecessary energy solving the problem, guessing at your friend’s changing mood and daily schedule, instead of tackling it head-on.

“When we make plans, please let me know when would be the ideal time to meet. I tend to go by the clock, but I’m happy to employ another system. I just need to know what it is.

Miss Manners acknowledges that this might offend her friend. But given your history, that seems inevitable. At least this time you will be waiting for it. Which is more than you can say about your arrivals.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a single gay man who has been invited to several weddings of the children of close friends.

While these are longtime friends, we live in different parts of the country, so I don’t know the kids well.

Wedding rituals, particularly those at many after-ceremony parties, are not things I generally feel comfortable with or enjoy. Is there a way to politely decline without offending my friends?

KIND READER: “No, thanks.”

Miss Manners shares her distaste for wedding rituals that involve lifting (garments, not chairs), stuffing, or donating. A wedding is a dignified affair and its guests should not be forced into unseemly practices. No explanation is necessary, or need to listen to lengthy justifications as to why this particular ritual is considered traditional.

Submit your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to his email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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