Friend-Date Pet Peeves

I try, really hard, to be open to new people. I make a concerted effort to give everyone a chance.

Back when I started this search I found myself writing people off quickly and for no valid reason. Before I’d even met someone, it would often seem perfectly clear to me–from a sentence in an email, an age difference, whatever–why we were likely a bad fit. I learned pretty quickly to get over that. If I wanted to make new friends, I was going to have to be open to new friends.

I’m better now. Usually. But there are some friend-dates where one particular thing will go wrong at the very beginning and that’s it. I can’t bounce back. Or I can, but it’s tough.

My pet peeve? When someone is really late to meet me and doesn’t apologize. If I’m waiting for 20 minutes past the agreed upon start time, and you arrive and say “I’m so sorry I’m late, really, it’s just that my cat pooped itself and I had to clean it up just as I was leaving”? Fine. I’ll tell you not to worry about it and move on from there.

But if you waltz in 20 minutes late and act like it’s standard, and don’t even offer a courtesy “sorry to keep you waiting”? To me, that’s rude. I get that everyone is late everywhere these days and punctuality standards have lowered. I don’t like it, but I get it. Still, is it so hard to just offer a quick apology?

The thing about this pet peeve, though, is that it can ruin a friend-date. Because when someone shows up and acts like it’s normal that she’s 15 or 30 minutes behind schedule, and that it’s no big thing that I’ve been waiting this whole time, I get really flustered. I’m so expecting some recognition of the situation that I have trouble shifting gears and jumping into conversation immediately.

Perhaps this is largely my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t stand on ceremony, as my mother-in-law would say. (Is that the correct use of that phrase? Idioms make me feel old.) It just irks me, and then I’m off on the wrong foot with a friend I don’t even know.

I don’t have many pet peeves. There are few things a potential BFF could do that would make me rule her out too quickly or start the date with a sour taste. But I’m not perfect. We’ve all got stuff, and I guess this is mine.

What’s yours? Is there something a friend-date could do (or has done) that would get you started on the wrong foot? What’s your girl-date pet peeve?

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Friend-Date Pet Peeves

  1. Jen

    The CONSTANT checking of one’s phone, including texting and Facebooking. It makes me feel as if I’m not important or that the other person would rather be with whomever they are communicating with via phone. I think it’s SO rude. If you get a ping, it’s one thing to check it quickly (after saying “excuse me” or “hang on a sec”) and if it can wait, go back to the conversation. If it can’t wait, just say something to the person you’re with, who might be in the middle of an important story.

    It annoyed me to no end, while out with friends, they’d be staring at their phones. The best was when I went to visit a (no longer) friend who had been admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor and had to stay for the duration. I took time out of my day to go see her, brought her magazines, and she’s looking at her phone every 2 seconds. And texting. Really?

  2. Yikes! You’re in my brain again.

    I always feel like when someone’s late, with no excuse, no apology, no nothing, well, then, they don’t have much respect for me or my time. And things go south from there.

    Having had punctuality (and manners!) drummed into me from an early age, this is something that I have a hard time looking past. It just seems rude.

    Of course, being the person I am, it seems I’m friends with people who are habitually late. Which drives me absolutely CRAZY. But, I doubt I would be friends with them if they didn’t at least acknowledge the fact that they weren’t on time and I was waiting on them.

    My one other pet peeve (just one! really! ha…) is the girl-date who can’t make a decision, but then is unhappy when I set the agenda. “Where do you want to eat?” “Doesn’t matter.” “What movie do you want to see?” “You pick.” “What time?” “You choose.” …. and then, “There’s nothing good to eat here” or “I heard this movie got awful reviews…”

    UGH. Have an opinion. Don’t make ME do all the work. And if you don’t offer up one, then you have absolutely no right to be unhappy with whatever I choose. Don’t force me to be telepathic and divine what your likes and dislikes are.

    I used to be a no-opinion type person a long time ago — always afraid that my choice would be the “wrong” choice — but had a good friend set me straight when she got so frustrated with me that she actually yelled at me in public. Heh. And I’ve been reformed ever since.

  3. I agree with both you and Jen – unexplained lateness ticks me off (but an apology usually makes it all better) and constant texting/checking the phone is just RUDE. So rude. (But unfortunately it seems to be common these days. Wow – I sound like an old woman!)

  4. Ana

    Yup, I was going to mention the phone checking thing. If it is urgent or you need to let someone know where you are, then say “excuse me, I have to answer this text because xyz” then answer it quickly, say “sorry” and jump back into the conversation. These constant text conversations, and (the worst) laughing at texts without an explanation is SO rude!!! I really don’t get how people consider that acceptable behavior.

    I try to be on time everywhere (and used to get SOOOO annoyed at people being late) but lately, since moving to this city and relying a lot on our completely UNreliable public transportation, I find myself late more than I like. Add in a kid that can have any number of disasters and a dog that sometimes just won’t poop when I take her for what I think will be a “quick” walk, and I’m basically NEVER on time these days! But I always always text/call to say I’m running late & why, and apologize when I do show up. I really do understand the importance of punctuality and respect for others’ times. I get extremely anxious when I’m running late, and it bothers me when people just don’t care or acknowledge their own lateness.

    Another deal-breaker for me is when I see someone being rude to others’—I’m thinking specifically of waitresses or other service people at the location. I met a new “friend” for lunch once and she completely told off the poor waitress about a small error in the bill, and then left a very measly tip even after she fixed it. I was mortified and we never hung out again except in large group settings. It says a lot about someone’s character and gives a glimpse into how you can expect to be treated in the future!

  5. Sadly, I’m late a lot more than I’d like because of CTA delays or traffic issues, but I take the time to let my friend know that I’m running behind and will be a little late. Are there really people out there that don’t think to do this? Much less apologize when they arrive late?

    I think my biggest peeve with a potential friend is if they’re super negative. I eat lunch with a group of ladies in my office, and one of them is always dominating our conversations with negativity and complaints about completely trivial things, complete with eye-rolling and annoyed facial expressions. I don’t mind spending an hour with her at work, but I’d never take this friendship outside of the office for that reason.

  6. Kate

    I once chose to write off a potential BFF because she was extremely rude to the bartender on our first friend-date. I think you can tell a lot about a person by how she treats people in the service business. She was more than demanding. She was RUDE. She called him “Baldy”–to his face–when he didn’t refill her drink fast enough, which was unfair because he had only a receding hairline. I was mortified and it was months before I could show my face at that restaurant again.

    • Yes! Biggest pet peeve, hands-down. Griping loudly while waiting in movie ticket lines; a general bad attitude toward store employees or restaurant staff. Whether it’s a platonic or romantic date, this is an unrecoverable situation for me.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with this! I get really annoyed and turned off by people who are rude to waitstaff for no reason. I discontinued dating people over it. As a former server, I believe you can tell a lot about someone by the way they treat servers.
      I always want to just blurt out “This person could be getting their PhD and will someday cure cancer, ya asshole! Be nice! They aren’t lower than you!!” Because honestly you never know someone’s situation.
      And being associated with someone rude to servers freaks me out since I happen to hate being mean in general. So I avoid these types of people at all cost.

  7. Megan

    Either only talking about herself or not talking about herself at all. Both of those have a low recoverability factor for me.

    • Nora

      I completely agree about this! I’ve once had a dinner date with a gf, and the entire time all she did was talk about herself and what she was up to. The few times I was able to vent about the current stresses in my life were quickly dismissed and/or routed back to something about her/her life. It made me feel like all I was to her was a sounding board – and I totally get this, because there are days when I really need someone to just listen – but she is like this ALL THE TIME.

      What’s interesting is that she has tons of friends and semi-BFFs..so maybe there needs to be some introspection on my part – maybe I’m too boring to listen to? I need local BFFs..

      Also, great post, Rachel – I love how you mentioned that you used to write people off too early, sometimes because of age. I find myself doing this too..maybe I need to change that..

  8. Laurie Lee

    Being habitually late is definitely a problem for me and my #1 pet peeve. Everyone is late once in a while but being late every time or calling a few hours before the agreed upon meeting time and asking to change it are problems for me when they happen repeatedly. I end up avoiding plans with these people.

    Cell phone behavior is my #2. Most of my friends are very polite but as soon as I get up to use the bathroom or refill my ice tea at Panera, they wil whip it out for a quick check. I do the same thing, lol.

  9. I agree completely with the first comment (by Jen). It irritates me to no end when I’m with someone (new friend or old) that is constantly texting and not truly present. It’s different if there’s a reason (sick child at home, waiting for travel update from significant other, etc., etc.) but, much like you, I think it should come with an explanation if not an apology, too.

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