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I have a friend and we talk frequently on WhatsApp. We have just got back in touch after a few years of losing touch. I remembered her to be quite unreliable but I have considered that after a few years, people can change and mature so I wanted to give her another chance.

She has suggested and hinted at meeting up again which I have reacted to in a positive manner, and started to ask when she would be free. She told me a day and I suggested we go for a coffee and she agreed. I asked her the day before our arranged day (I realise in hindsight that I should’ve planned this more in advance) what time she would like to meet. She didn’t respond until the morning of the event and just said that she’s be round later. I then asked ‘do you know roughly what time I should expect you?’ And she just replied saying ‘won’t be til later on.’

Like a lot of people, I like to know in advance where, when and a date of when I’m meeting someone. I understand I left it last minute asking the day before, but I feel a bit played about given that we’d started talking about this on Monday (today is a Saturday) and even though I’ve asked twice for a specific time, she has been very vague with me and I don’t want to be waiting around for her all day like a little puppy dog.

Does anyone have any advice as to how I am to approach her politely yet assertively and basically say that I need more of a specific time to meet?

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    How important is it to you to get together with this person?
    – DaveG
    Apr 23, 2023 at 14:28

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TL;DR: don't try and be polite with people who don't show any respect to you. Give them a chance to behave properly. If they don't, ignore them.

I don’t want to be waiting around for her all day like a little puppy dog.

Dogs have a very different sense of time and you don't want to end up like Hachikō.

I remembered her to be quite unreliable but I have considered that after a few years, people can change and mature

And there's nothing you can do to better her attitude. People change when they want (need?) to, not because we want them to. Life taught me that. I had friends like that. Never on time, never able to call, no schedule, no time keeping, always showing up late (up to 90 minutes to a dinner at home !), no excuses. As time went by, we (our group of friends) all gave up. We would just do our things without waiting for them. When they show up, they show up. You greet them, and move on. They don't? No big deal. After a few years, this person was not in any of our groups anymore.

As you can't change people like that, move on. Don't expect anything, don't ask again. If she calls/texts again, you may decide to give her one more chance. But either you try and try and try again, with as many risks of failure as you try, or you cut your losses now.

In this situation, my advice is to not expect anything and give up. Wait with no hope so you're not disappointed or upset or feeling like you're played.

Here is one of the easiest ways to make a positive personal impact: show up on time. Louis XVIII, King of France in the late 18th and early 19th century is reputed to have said, “Punctuality is the politeness of kings.” Nice turn of a phrase, Louis. Punctuality: the Politeness of Kings, and a Key to Positive Personal Impact

Politeness is an integral part of life in any human society. Whenever we address a person, we choose how polite to be, ranging from polite forms such as “dear Professor Friedman” to the more colloquial “hey, Ron.” How polite we choose to be not only reflects how close we feel to a person but also helps to create or maintain the feeling of closeness or distance. Politeness and Psychological Distance: A Construal Level Perspective

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I'll just add this to the other good answer here - don't let any relationship keep you "stuck" in life, that you wonder what you need to do at that point of your life, without it. Your life should independently move on irrespective of your relationships.

Once you have a realistic idea of the kind of person someone is (non-committal or perhaps not punctual) and adjust your own expectation to it, you don't need to cut off such a person completely from your life. If you like conversing with them, then limit it to messaging and phone, while keeping your own personal expectation of a physical meeting low.

Some people, especially women, like to take their own time to decide how a relationship should progress. So if you are interested in them, you need to give them space. Let them know your interest but if they don't give a clear positive response in return, that's a hint to you that they are happy with the current level of relationship they have with you. So continue that without adding any emotional pressure. Meanwhile, move on with your own life too.

If you or the other person initiate a meetup, always be decisive and clearly tell them a time and place and ask for confirmation - "Ok, let's meet tomorrow at this cafe at 6:00 PM. Is that convenient for you?" . Especially do this if the other person is indecisive. That way, they will have to respond and either confirm or share that it is inconvenient for them. If someone says that the time and place is inconvenient, then put the onus on them completely to decide to fix the venue and / or time - "Ok, then let me know the time and place you want to meet me". If they are vague with either the venue or the time, like "Ok, how about lunch instead", you make a decision and again send a message, "Ok let's meet at so and so place on this day at 2:00 PM for lunch". How's that?.

The idea behind this is that it conveys your willingness to meet with someone clearly, and will let you know if someone really wants to meet you.

Let's assume the person really wants to meet you and confirms. So you go to the fixed venue on time and find the person is not there. If you are just in the beginning stage of your relationship, do not call them - if they are late, the onus is always on them to let you know and apologise. After a fixed time (decide this according to your own personality and the kind of relationship you have with the person), leave the venue and send them a message, "I am disappointed you didn't show up. I was waiting for 30 minutes for you at the venue we fixed. Let's catch up later when you are actually free."

This conveys that you value your time and yourself, and the other person has to respect it if they want to pursue or maintain a healthy relationship with you. It gives them an opportunity to apologise to you. And importantly, the response tells you kind of relationship you can have with this person.

On the other hand, if you do not get a clear confirmation of the venue or the time, even after insisting on it, realise that they aren't really interested in meeting you in person, for whatever reason. In such cases, don't keep haranguing them. Let them decide if and when they want to meet you. Don't get hung up and keep moving on with your life.

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