What Does it Mean When Someone is Consistently Late?
By Colleen Harding
I have an uncle that I love. He is a wonderful uncle and I would do anything for him and visa versa. I love to spend time with him, but he is consistently late. It’s not accidental because it happens all the time.
When I was working downtown, I would get an hour for lunch and he would show up 15 to 20 minutes late. I would have to rush through lunch and he would look offended when I had to eat and run. It was crazy.
When a person is consistently late, it’s rude!
I am not talking about the person who is occasionally late. I am also not talking about the person who is occasionally late but calls, in advance, to let you know so that you can make good use of the time. I am talking about the doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, client, boss or friend that constantly leaves you sitting and wondering where they are and why they are late again.
People are late for two reasons: control/arrogance and poor time management, but either way, you are the recipient of their choices. It’s wrong and just not nice.
If one person makes the effort to be on time and the other doesn’t, it means “my time is more valuable than yours and I don’t have any problem wasting your time.” The late person knows you could be doing something else, yet they leave you sitting in a boardroom, a waiting room, a restaurant or a bar, checking your phone for the message about why they are late again. Time is something you can’t get back. You can’t buy back wasted time. It’s gone … and gone for good.
When a person is late it can be interpreted that something else, which was not scheduled, has taken precedence over you. “Sorry I am late, I’ve just been so busy” is the worst! It implies that you are the only one in the room that is busy. It demonstrates that your poor time-management skills are now affecting the person you were supposed to be meeting with and now their schedule is off.
There is a trick to being on time and people who are on time know it very well.
You leave earlier and put some time in your commute for situations that present themselves unexpectedly. You keep your schedule and meet with people when you are scheduled to meet with them. They have made time for you. You can make time for them.
Being late consistently is a choice. It can be altered and changed if it is recognized and addressed.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Her website address is www.clevelandschoolofetiquette.com.