Being Late

Okay, odd title, but whatever – it works.

Of course you’ve noticed how some people are always late. Or maybe you’re one of them yourself. How late is too late? What’s the protocol for lateness? What, you say – you mean I should strive to be on time? Really?

There are different degrees of lateness, or I suppose I should say “tardiness” but that kind of sounds like missing the school bell.

Let’s say you’re invited for dinner at 6:00; you arrive home at 5:30 and should be walking out the door in about 15 minutes, tops, to avoid arriving after the meal is supposed to be served. Instead, you decide that other things are more important and so you dawdle around, or can’t find your shoes, or can’t make up your mind which shirt to wear.

What to do? Get your fanny in gear! You agreed to six, your host is probably planning on your arrival a few minutes early, even, because you’d rather take off your coat and greet folks before sitting down to eat.

Have some consideration for heaven’s sake! Are you so important that everyone should have to wait for you? Not to mention possibly a ruined dinner – for everyone else too?

If you’ve pulled this stunt a time or two, your host is probably not going to wait the third or fourth time. And you have no right to be annoyed – although your host probably does.

What if you call and say you’ll pick up your friend in an hour? And then call two hours later to say you’re still coming, and will call, but STILL don’t show up for another hour? I think your friend probably will decide to make other plans.

Or you might just be late for a meeting, maybe just a few minutes. The proper thing, of course, is to call and give everyone the head’s up; or slip in quietly, unless you are the one who called the meeting.

Sometimes, as we all know, things come up: the baby is being uncooperative, or traffic is heavier than usual; maybe you had car trouble or were running late from another appointment. So sure, it happens. But habitual lateness is simply rude.

What that tells others is that you think YOU are more important, that YOUR time is more important, than anything else. It also says you are disorganized and flaky, that you are incapable of using your time wisely and scheduling yourself. In a word, habitual lateness says that you are not very trustworthy, or even proficient at managing your life.


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