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Too Much Politeness Makes Scheduling a Chore

DEAR ABBY: Lately, I've noticed something curious with responses to the question, "What time?" when setting a date. When people offer to do something for me, I'll ask, "What time would be best?" Rather than answer, they go on to ask me 12 different questions, and we get nowhere. I just want them to choose a time! If it's not good for us, I'll tell them.

Personally, I feel if they're doing us a favor, they get to choose the time. It's incredibly frustrating being stuck in a game of, "Well, what time is good for you?" back and forth for five minutes. I just want an answer. Then I can make it work or offer another suggestion if need be. I never had this problem before, but now it's happening fairly often, particularly with women over 40. Is there another way I should handle this? -- SCHEDULING IN SPOKANE

DEAR SCHEDULING: These people may be trying to be considerate by asking the questions they do. When the back-and-forth starts, all you have to say is, "Tell me when you'll be here and we'll be ready," and I'm sure they will comply.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

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