While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On the anguish of the prompt who fall in love with the tardy:
As a punctual person who has spent an enormous amount of time in the last four decades waiting for the chronically tardy, I can attest to the fact that the same people who ran late 40 years ago are the same people who run late now. The chronically late generally fall into one or more of the following categories:
(1) The truly lacking in executive skills required to show up on time. These folks deserve some sympathy, especially if they put effort into strategies to improve.
(2) The controllers, as in, "I'm here, now you may begin."
(3) The self-centered, whose activities are always more important than your discomfort, even if the reason for the delay is a video game.
(4) The overloaded with responsibility, as in a single parent taking care of multiple kids and aging parents while trying to run a business.
Punctual people should consider which category their chronically tardy loved ones fall into, as it may give them previously unnoticed insight into negative aspects of their basic personalities.
By the way, I no longer suffer due to the chronically tardy because I don't wait for them anymore.
On wedding plans from the guest's perspective:
Having been many to weddings over the years, I find that I don't remember the centerpieces or favors, but I do remember how the bride and groom treated their guests. I remember the couples who arranged transportation after an open bar, had special allergy-free cupcakes for a favorite aunt, and had babysitters so parents could easily attend their adult-only wedding.
These were the couples who went out of their way to make their guests feel special and part of their day. You left the wedding feeling like the couple was so wonderful and family-centered, as opposed to weddings that are more self-centered.
Shuttle buses and hotel blocks may seem frivolous during planning, but not being able to get a hotel in the area or having to drive a far distance late at night (and especially after a few drinks) is the difference between a wedding I look forward to and think fondly of and one I dread going to.
On discovering that friends won't automatically dash to your side when you need them:
Lying in an emergency room on a sunny August Sunday afternoon after a car accident, I was painfully aware that I needed to have a "no matter what happens" person come to my aid and talk to doctors on my behalf. The first five people, including my sister, friends and coworkers, would/could not come. In the end, it cost me a longer than necessary recuperation time, a more permanent injury to my body, a higher bill, the transfer to another hospital.
It's a live-and-learn world. Not only did I have conversations with my closest cousin and friends after that, but I strengthened my power of attorney for health. And I changed my will to reflect those who thought I was worth something, not just those I was related to as siblings.
Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.