Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I deal with my perpetually late friend?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I deal with my perpetually late friend?

She’s always late, regardless of the occasion. Last week, we had a dinner reservation at Alo. I’d booked it months in advance and reminded her on at least three separate occasions that she needed to be on time, but she wasn’t, and we lost the table. I’m out of patience. Is it fair to break up with her over her apparent inability to tell time?
—Tardy’s Over, Corktown

If your constant reminders aren’t sticking, you could try telling your friend to meet you 15 minutes earlier than when you actually plan to arrive (and if she miraculously shows up on time, she’ll finally know what it’s like to be the one left hanging). The alternative is to give her an ultimatum and make it clear that you’re thinking about abandoning ship. Once she understands that showing up on time means showing up for your friendship, she should pick up her pace. If she doesn’t, grab your life jacket and get ready to jump.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
Recently, while out walking my dog, I caught a glimpse of my neighbour watching porn. Her front window looks directly into her living room, and when it gets dark, it’s pretty easy to see whatever she’s watching on TV. We’re not super close, but we do get together a few times each year. Should I tell her to be stealthier about her adult entertainment?
—Porn to Kill, Parkdale

Ask yourself this: if you were accidentally airing your porn-viewing habits for the entire world to see, would you want to remain blissfully ignorant—and risk scarring a handful of innocent passers-by in the process? Assuming her exhibitionism is unintended, do her (and everyone else in the neighbourhood) a favour and send her a light-hearted text telling her she might want to close her curtains.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I recently bought a condo downtown and have an open-door policy. We have a lot of friends who still live in Scarborough with their parents—people occasionally crash here if they’ve had a few too many or don’t want to commute in the morning, and it’s become the go-to meeting spot for everyone’s weekend plans. But lately, one of our friends has taken advantage of our generosity. He eats our food, grabs beer out of our fridge without asking and doesn’t tidy up after himself. We don’t want to stop entertaining, but his entitled attitude is getting to us. How can we tell him to make himself less at home without seeming rude?
—Host Protocol, Harbourfront

It’s certainly not your job to teach this miscreant a few social graces, but it would behoove you to set some ground rules: though he may be allowed to freeload off of his parents, the same policy doesn’t apply under your roof. Tell him that he’s welcome to stay with you, but he needs to stop treating your fridge as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Instead, give him the option of storing some of his own food at your place or send him out on a booze run to replenish the supply. It’s best to raise the issue sooner rather than later, before he eats his way through your pantry or, worse, tries to move in.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My partner and I have had the same nanny for two years, and she’s amazing. Clearly, other people have noticed, because last week she was approached in the schoolyard and offered a higher-paying job by another parent. When she mentioned it, it seemed like a passive-aggressive request for a raise, and frankly, we felt a bit betrayed. We’re also pretty annoyed with the nanny poachers. Should we confront them?
—Nanny McLeaves, Summerhill

The other parents have every right to try to poach your nanny, just as she has every right to want to move up the pay ladder. It is a free market, after all. Take this as an opportunity to check in with her and see if she’s happy with her job. If she’s as amazing as you say, you may have to pony up to keep her.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
I held a potluck for my birthday five years ago, and my mother-in-law brought an extremely bland vegan pumpkin soup. When she asked if I liked it, I lied and said yes because I thought, hey, what’s the harm? Now, she makes me a huge batch of the insipid gruel every year. It ends up sitting in my fridge until it sprouts mould, then I chuck it. I feel bad about not telling the truth (and about wasting food), but I’m sort of locked into this lie. Should I come clean?
—Souper Trooper, Playter Estates

In the interest of saving innocent pumpkins from being mercilessly massacred, you could try to channel your inner Chef Ramsey and dress up the soup by adding some cream, herbs or stock. If it’s truly unsalvageable, tell your mother-in-law that you’re never able to finish the batch, and as a result, it always goes to waste. You can skip the part about being repulsed by her cooking, since there’s no point in rubbing salt into the wound (though you may consider adding some to the soup).

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com