What A 90-Year-Old Dementia Patient Taught Me About Privilege

All of the empathy training in the world pales in comparison to experiencing the effects of real, unmanufactured hatred based on an immutable aspect of your identity.

Stop Telling People You Know How They Feel

We all do it. Here’s what we need to learn to do instead. 

When Does Lateness Become Plain Rudeness?

There’s no greatness in lateness; when does it become plain disrespect and discourtesy?

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It’s been said that “punctuality is the soul of business” and I concur. However, I’d also argue that being on time is crucial to both good personal and business relationships. It’s good manners for one, and lets the other person know they’re valued and important.

So, how you deal with people who are constantly late? How many times has a good friend kept you waiting, but never apologised? And what about the business contact who is never, ever on time?

When someone is consistently late, doesn’t provide an adequate explanation or is quite unremorseful and doesn’t acknowledge the inconvenience caused to you when you’re made to wait, lateness can become a great source of hurt and conflict. It just seems damn rude and inconsiderate at the very least, doesn’t it?

Persistent lateness is also very upsetting in a partner or friend because it suggests that the tardy person lacks concern and respect for you – the unfortunate person kept waiting. It takes a certain amount of empathy to realise that frequently keeping someone waiting for an unreasonable time without explanation can cause hurt, is insulting and can cause the one waiting to feel devalued.

lateness, punctuality, time management

And while we can all be late at times, due to circumstances outside of our control like bad traffic, an accident, or sick child, for example, relationship counsellors say it’s very important to provide an explanation and apology to defuse the situation and allow the one kept waiting to move on.

So, why are some people always late? Is it due to having a strong sense of their own importance, a lack of consideration and empathy for the feelings of others, or just down to them being chronically disorganised and lacking a sense of time?

I hate waiting for more than 20 minutes for anyone; that’s about the absolute limit of my patience. My pet hate is long waits at the medical centre for up to 40 minutes or more – sure, I understand emergencies happen, but I think this can be very disrespectful, if not.

It comes down to values, I think; a GP practice which doesn’t consistently make you wait shows they respect your time as much as they respect their own. They’ve clearly made a philosophical and financial decision that it’s not right to make patients sit for way too long in the waiting room.

And when it comes to your personal life, if someone you love is consistently late and they want to fix this problem, a counsellor can help them to develop greater awareness of the impact of their lateness on others, and better organisational and time-management skills.

But if the consistently late person doesn’t see a problem with their lateness and feels no remorse for keeping someone waiting, it’s unlikely that they will change. So, you might have to simply call time on the them – and the relationship.

lateness, punctuality, time management

What do you think is a reasonable length of time to wait for a late person?

Images via Pixabay and thegrindstone.com

Communication Skills For Healthy Relationships

Whether you’re looking for better friendships, a business partnership or more depth in your intimate relationship, effective communication is what helps you understand other people, lets them understand you and creates stronger connections. If you’re looking for ways to develop your communication skills, here are a few areas where you could focus your attention.


Shutting out all distractions, making eye contact and focusing on the other person may sound easy when you’re happy and relaxed, but try doing it when you have a million things on your mind and it turns into a challenge. It takes a conscious effort to stop everything and listen to your kids, friends or partner, but the effort is well worth it. It makes the other person feel loved, important and understood (and it may take less time than you think).

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In relationships clarity is often lacking when people are trying to communicate what they need. You don’t want to be a burden, you fear rejection or you believe that if others want to give you something, they will, anyway, out of their own good will. When they don’t, you feel neglected and eventually resentment builds up. But your partner, friends or children aren’t mind readers. Most likely, they’d happily give you what you want if they only knew what it was. Practice asking without attachment to the answer and you’ll be surprised how often people say ‘yes’.


You’ll have more productive conversations and more meaningful relationships, if you enter each interaction without expectations and without pre-conceived judgement. If you’ve already made your mind without considering the other person’s opinion, then your communication is not likely to achieve an outcome that both of you will be happy with.


A healthy relationship is one where you accept each other as you are without trying to change the other person. Show others that they may be different and you may disagree with their opinions, but you respect them and appreciate them just the way you are.


Empathy is the ability to recognise and share other people’s emotions. It makes all the skills I mentioned earlier easier to master – if you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you intuitively know how to show that you’re there for them, you can see their point of view and you can easily accept who they are.  While some people are naturally more gifted than others, empathy is a skill we can all learn by being mindful and curious about the people around us.

Image by GLady via pixabay.com