gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 98

manners MATTER BY KAREN LA CORTE When You've Messed Up 98 W e’ve all been there. The forgotten lunch date, the meeting that was on the calendar —but on the wrong Tuesday, the party that started at five and not at seven. We feel horrible. It’s a huge mistake. These are our friends, our colleagues, or worse-our boss! And we totally missed the commitment! What can we do to express how sincerely sorry we are that we messed up? Is saying we are sorry enough, or must we follow up with a card, flowers or a gift? It’s not that we just missed the appointment or meeting, but that we kept someone or a group waiting for us. Maybe even depending on us for a report or a presentation. Or even worse, maybe it’s dear Aunt Betty who waited all day for us to show up to the rest home! Sometimes we realize it within minutes. Other times we receive the dreaded phone call asking where we are and if we are coming to the meeting at all. This can be totally embarrassing. The only way to make ourselves feel better is to know that we’ve been forgiven by the folks we’ve offended. A good friend of mine in Alabama once waited for over an hour at a restaurant for a business lunch after driving for two hours to the meeting point. There had been a miscommunication that the meeting had been postponed to a different date and time. When my friend called her colleague to ask his whereabouts, he felt so horrible about the mix-up that he had a dozen roses waiting for her when she got back to her office. The next time they were to meet for that business lunch, he emailed her the day before and texted her the morning of the scheduled meeting just to make sure that they were both going to be there. He not only bought lunch but arrived with another bouquet of roses. These embarrassing mistakes can be especially tough to accept when you pride yourself on being a responsible and punctual person. That said we need to give ourselves a break every now and then and forgive ourselves for our absent-minded mistakes, learn from them and move on. The busier we are and the more challenges we face opens us up to human error. Our apologies are key in being forgiven. Being truthful and sincere goes a long way. And it isn’t just the forgotten appointment that plagues us, but being late is also rude and disrupting to everyone involved. If you are late to a meeting, either everyone has waited for your arrival to start, or you may be GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN disrupting the meeting already in progress. Everyone then must thenstop, and get you caught up on what you have missed. If you are late to a hair appointment for instance, you may make the stylist late for all the other clients after you. Chronic lateness is inexcusable and disrespectful. It is bad manners. Get it together and develop a plan to be on time. Try to be fifteen minutes early to everything. Set an alarm on your phone. Set an alert to remind you the day before and a few hours before the commitment. No appointment, lunch date, interview or meeting is too trivial to not take seriously. Can you imagine being late for that important job interview? The sincerest apologies are the ones that are most readily accepted. If you’re a “no show” at a wedding reception for example, the hosts are really going to be upset. The hosts will have to pay for your plate or plates anyway. The empty seats at your table will not go unnoticed either. Telephoning your hosts is in order. They have the right to be furious, but a sincere apology by phone or in person is the right plan of action. A note of apology accompanied by flowers or a gift is also accept- able. And, the sooner you know you won’t be able to make the wedding the better for letting the hosts know. Doctors, dentists and some attorneys penalize us by getting into our pocket-books and charging a “no show” fee. I’m sure the fa