Bad Manners

I often get phone messages from people who don’t leave their name or only leave their first name. They’re also unclear about why they want me to call them back. I get generic messages about, “I wanted to talk to you about an article on your website.” Now that leaves me a good reason to call back.

I was raised that when you leave a phone message to a stranger, you leave your full name and you state why you are calling.

I had a Skype interview scheduled for 9pm Monday. I blew off a class I normally go to at that time, and blew off a friend I was going to see at that class because I had made a commitment to do something and I didn’t want to play around with my interview subject and try to reschedule. When I emailed the guy at 9:01 pm, he said, “I just got in sorry, can we do tomorrow during the day?”

When you have a commitment to do something at a certain time and you know you can’t do it then, you need to let all those affected know in advance. If the guy had given me even ten minutes notice, it would have cleared me to go to my class.

I fired off an angry email: “I skipped a 9pm Monday class I normally go to so that I could do this scheduled interview at the time you suggested. If we schedule another interview (I can’t do it during the day during the week), what are the odds you’ll show or am I just wasting my time here?”

The guy replied he’d pass on our interview. I felt like an idiot and I didn’t sleep well.

I was 15 minutes late Monday evening to a Skype interview I scheduled for 7:10 p.m., so at 7:10 p.m., when I knew I would be late, I let the guy know, and when I finally got on to Skype at 7:25 p.m., I made a profuse and specific apology for being late. Just saying “Sorry” doesn’t cut it. You need to say exactly why you are sorry.

I have a friend who says hyperbolic things on my Facebook. I’ve repeatedly asked him not to comment on my posts but he keeps doing it. He’s about to get blocked even though I know that will hurt him deeply.

In 1996, I had a lunch interview with Ron Jeremy. After he was 30 minute late, I left. I guess he showed up a few minutes later. So we made a dinner appointment. Again he was about 40 minute late. This time I waited around.

I have a good friend who’s infinitely patient with me. He notes that I’m very particular, particularly about time, and have a huge need to have everything on my terms. I was taken aback when first he noted this, but quickly realized he spoke the truth.

“Unreliable” and “irresponsible” are about the worst things I say about people in my life for a time. I don’t deal well with this. I hate having my time stolen from me. I hate not being able to depend on someone. I’m mighty white on these points. I need to come to terms with loss being an inherent part of life, and this includes loss of time.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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