Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

When a Carpooler Makes Everyone Late

DEAR NATALIE: My husband and his co-worker recently began carpooling into work together to save on gas and parking fare because we live in the same city neighborhood. I also drive with my husband to my job two to three days a week. Although this sounds like a good plan, my husband's co-worker tends to be very tardy in the morning, sometimes making us wait up to 10-15 minutes for him outside his house. We always give him a 10-minute warning before leaving our house, even though it is the same time every day. I was even late for work a few times because of his tardiness. Initially, they were supposed to take turns driving; however, because of how late my husband's co-worker is, my husband now always drives. Please advise on how to address this issue without being confrontational. -- Tired of Being Tardy

DEAR TIRED OF BEING TARDY: Your husband's friend is just being inconsiderate. I wouldn't wait 10-15 minutes for him to find his way to his front door. Let him know you're coming, and if he isn't waiting when you arrive, give him a few minutes and then leave. Sound harsh? Well, it's pretty rude that he has kept you waiting over and over again, to the point of making you late for work. Someone needs a reminder that he isn't the only person in the universe. If he gets upset that you left without him, too bad. If he asks your husband why you left, he can explain that neither of you can afford to be late for work, and if the carpooling situation doesn't work for him, that's OK. You don't need to drive in together. This will either wake him up to his bad behavior and he will start being on time, or he can find his own way to work, alleviating everyone's stress. 

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Only exchange personal information/business cards if you have made a meaningful connection. This cuts down on the number of superfluous cards you leave with (wondering who those people are) and instead helps you focus on the quality of engagements instead of the quantity. Write a little note on the back of cards about what you connected on and what areas you can help each other in. This will increase your chances of forming solid and mutually beneficial relationships. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)