No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish

This post may offend some readers. But only because it’s going to cut close to the bone for many.

And I don’t care if I sound old-fashioned, because actually it’s nothing to do with ‘fashion’ or ‘generation’. It’s got everything to do with basic good manners and respect for other people.

So here goes… How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything?

Because as far as I am concerned, it’s not OK.

In recent years it seems that a meeting set to start at 9 am, for some people means in the general vicinity of any time which starts with the numeral ‘9’. Like 9.30 for example.

People drift in at 9.10 or 9.20, or even later. And they smile warmly at the waiting group, as they unwrap their bacon sandwich, apparently totally unconcerned that others have been there since five to nine, prepared and ready to start.

10 people kept waiting in a meeting for 20 minutes, while some selfish pratt who idles his way via the coffee shop, is actually 20 minutes times 10, which is 200 minutes wasted – while you keep us waiting because you did not catch the earlier bus. That is over 3 hours wasted. By you! How much has that cost the business? Shall I send you an invoice?

And an arrangement to meet someone for a business meeting at a coffee shop at 3 pm, more often than not means at 3.10 you get a text saying ‘I am five minutes away’ which inevitably means 10 minutes, and so you wait for 15 or 20 minutes, kicking your heels in frustration.

And often these ‘latecomers’ are people who have requested the meeting in the first place, are asking for your help, or are selling something. Fat chance mate!

And it’s not only business.

Why do people, invited for a dinner party at 7.30, think its cool to arrive at 8.30? It’s rude. It’s inconsiderate. And it’s selfish, as I witnessed in a coffee shop near my home one weekend. Three “ladies who lunch” (a species not confined to, but heavily represented on, the lower North Shore of Sydney) were chatting loudly at the table next to me. One inquired what time the ‘drinks do’ was that night. The reply for all the world to hear was ‘Oh 7.30, but we won’t get there till 9 because by then it will have warmed up and all the interesting people will have arrived’. Nice. Imagine if everyone took that view. Cocktail parties would start at 3 am eventually.

Or a dinner at a restaurant where I was meeting two other couples. My wife was away, so I was flying solo. I arrived at two minutes to eight for an eight o’clock booking. At 8.20, I was into my second glass of Pinot and at half-past I got a text saying ‘on the way’. We finally were all seated at 8.45. There were not even attempted excuses from either of the two couples, who seemed oblivious to the fact I might actually have got there at the agreed time. Meanwhile I had put a huge dent in the bottle of Pinot, and was ready to go home.

And it is not that we lead ‘busy lives’. That’s a given, we all do, and it’s a cop out to use that as an excuse. It’s simply that some people no longer even pretend that they think your time is as important as theirs. And technology makes it worse. It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late.


You are rude. And inconsiderate.

And I act on it to. My dentist kept me waiting 50 minutes not long ago. She has done it for years and years. But enough! I walked out, past a literally open-mouthed receptionist who had never seen a patient act on their frustration, only to get a frantic call from the dentist herself as I got into my car.

Sure she was “busy”, another patient took longer than she expected, blah blah.

But hold on, I am busy too! I would not keep her waiting 45 minutes if she came to see me as a candidate. And yet I am HER customer. I told her I have been coming to you for 15 years but don’t take me for granted. See fewer patients in a day if you have to, but see me on time or close to it. She has never kept me waiting again.

Me? Am I ever late? Sure, sometimes. That’s inevitable even with the best intentions. But I never plan to be late. I never ‘let time slide’ because my stuff is more important than yours.

I am not talking about the odd occasion of lateness. I am talking about people who are routinely late. In fact, never on time. You know who I am talking about!

And certainly I consider serial lateness a character flaw which I take into account when working out who to promote, who to hire and who to count amongst my real friends.

It’s that important.

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(319) Readers Comments

  1. Hi Greg, I can’t agree more! I’m a stickler for time myself cos I believe it’s just simple, plain, basic manners. Serial latecomers have utterly no respect for other people’s time. I have many friends like that… and gradually I write them off. The same etiquette should apply in all settings.. work and social. It’s really sad that some people can be shamelessly late for appointments and yet be totally unapologetic about it..!

    • well, your not alone. i walked out of a interview for a job, because the interviewer wasted an hour of my time.

      i’m now with a much better job offer :)

      • Love this article. I have always strived to be on time and so many times I have had the same rudeness/lateness happen to me. I was told whilst waiting an hour for, not for the first time, by an alternative therapist, acupuncture, etc. that ‘you have to wait for a professional’ which threw me because I am a professional as well but in a different industry and I had left my office for an appointment with her. I dont go to her anymore.
        I truly think that people have such ego’s today that they think their time is more valuable than yours.

        • Marsha, marsha, marsha…. if you are going to be chiding other people on various things, then best be on your best-est grammar. There is NO reason for a plural — “I truly think that people have such ego’s today” == to include the APOSTROPHE.

          I’m afraid it is my most pet of all pet peeves when it comes to grammar and writing. Are people really so oblivious to the inconsistency of one plural gets it, the other does not. Your post said “…so many times…” and if you were a stickler such as myself, you should have either put the apostrophe there — “so many time’s…” or you should have left it off elsewhere — “people have such egos today”.

          C’mon… really. Is it that hard? If it is John’s and belongs to him, it gets an apostrophe (not “it get’s an …. etc”). If it is just a bunch of johns, lining up for their favorite… ahem! …. well, they don’t get one.

          • Try sticking to the task at hand. This article is about punctuality not punctuation . Nobody needs a grammar
            lesson from you.

          • Not enough to do today, Whiney? I mean Whitney…funny what happens when one omits a ‘t’. Stick to the content, students.

          • FYi, names are always capitalized, Ms. Grammar.

          • Sam Owen, the author needs a grammar lesson as much as the rest of us need a punctuality lesson. That’s the point. If you’re going to criticize people for their mistakes, it’s only fair that people criticize you for yours.

          • Whitey you’re always late Huh ?

          • I would have said ‘my most peevish of all pet peeves’ as opposed to ‘most pet’ , or maybe ‘most petty’ would have been more appropriate.

          • You must really be fun at parties!

          • Haha. Love it! Best comment ever, made my day!

          • And yet, Whitey, you began your comment by spelling “Marcia” incorrectly. The quote is “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Look it up, Young Miss Brady spells her name Marcia not Marsha.

            If you’re going to chide someone, don’t make yourself look silly by misspelling a quote. :)

          • You forgot the question mark at the end of your second sentence, second paragraph.

          • Hello,
            I’m new here today….are you folks some, anyway) always at each other’s throats? lol Good Lord, Chill out a little ! Griping about punctuality, punctuation, waiting too long, attempting to better another person’s post? Well…heck, I agree with everyone here who is disgruntled because some uncaring, don’t give a darn so-called professionals (doctors, dentists, recruiters, hotel human resource staffers and others think they are getting wealthy because they make folks wait, and wait, and it only ticks the waiters off? I would much rather go have a glass of wine (or something) till I can figure out how and/or what to deliver a payback. Just kidding, of course ! Take care all and thanks for not shedding any tears or blood !!!

          • Eh up the grammar police are out, watch out everyone……

      • I hope your new job doesn’t depend on grammar more than punctuality.

    • yeah , you are right .

    • I agree with what the article is leaning toward. Yes, we have gotten into some bad habits.
      However, what I don’t agree with is the vast generalization of “rudeness” and “selfishness.” That’s what is not ok in this post and moreover the business world.

      How about we often plan for the best case scenario? “If the stars align, I won’t hit traffic, I will find a parking spot, and maybe I can do just one more thing.” That doesn’t mean we are rude and selfish.

      Neurodiversity is real thing. We often expect everyone to conform and think like us. So, we sit there, stew, and make assumptions when they violate our expectations. That is what breaks my heart.

      Although hard to believe by some, there are in fact people with bona fide executive functioning issues that can learn skills to help but will never be able to overcome their lateness to a T. By labeling them negatively, you are discounting all the positive and often remarkable things they DO bring. You are throwing the gifts they can bring your organization down the toilet. You lose big-time, AND, to top that off, you are discriminating against them.

      If this is a chronic thing, that you as an individual are painfully aware of and have worked hard on for a long time but still miss the mark, stop apologizing to others and have humor about it all. We sometimes do things that are not widely accepted, but we are not defined by them.

      So how about, we as a society DO need to work on reinstating respect and empathy. I whole-heartedly agree. That’s a societal problem. However, don’t be so quick judge those with lateness as lacking in those traits. There may be things you don’t know about them that do not make them “flawed.”

      • You have got to be kidding. Discriminating against them? Rudeness isn’t a disability, an ethnicity, or a gender. If someone has a problem with being on time, they can take steps to mitigate: set their watch and clocks an hour ahead, allow an extra hour between appointments, or simply not over-schedule. Or, be honest and say, “I can’t commit to a specific time because I’m perpetually late. I’ll see you when I get there…if you’re still there”.

        • Are you kidding? So people who are on time are supposed to just wait around wasting hours of their life because some people are time challenged? It’s not discrimination to expect professionalism and punctuality from your employees and expect your friends to respect your time. Are you seriously saying that employers should have two sets of rules where punctual employees are penalised if they’re rarely late and expected to carry the work loads of chronically late employees? There are a lot of people in this world, I can do without the ones who think their time is worth more than mine.

        • SarBear06 it’s so good to see your comment. I suffer with terrible social anxiety and executive functioning impairment as well as depression. Being on time is always a struggle for me as it takes a long time to organise myself (even getting myself dressed each day is quite a chore). Not many people understand the difficulties people with aspergers have and they can’t see the frustration or guilt or self hatred that we feel inside for not being capable of organising ourselves and for constantly letting people down. Most people do think we’re just selfish and rude and that’s why it’s easier to not participate socially sometimes. Going through all the anxiety and trauma of getting yourself organised to go out is exhausting and by the time you get there you’re ready for a nap! Not an easy life to live. We’re often also hyperaware of the fact that others think we’re just selfish, rude, uncaring etc when we are the opposite! Glad to see there’s someone out there who is aware that we aren’t all neurotypical and that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re rude or selfish!

          • I agree with you Debbie. Some people are genetically …………….. to find it impossible to be on time whether this is due to anxiety, inability to leave home without a huge almighty effort etc. I myself find it extremely difficult to be punctual (more so prior to retiring than now, when I have more time to get ready etc.) and because I do not wish to inconvenience friends I go to the theatre and opera and concerts ALONE to obviate upsetting others. I am used to this now and don’t find the anxiety of rushing to the theatre to be on time a problem because if I am a little late I will miss the first act or 10 minutes or so of it. \ However, if meeting a friend for lunch, I get ready very early and don’t procrastinate by making phone calls etc so that I need to dash away and do my make-up on the bus! Sounds crazy – but I truly found it hard to turn up early for work so did flexi-hours and only took jobs which permitted this. I am not rude nor inconsiderate hence working out a modus vivendi to fit in with myself as well as friends. And yes, I do have mahy friends and love them to visit and also visit them. Most say – just come when you are ready as we will be here all evening. Perhaps that is meant sarcastically, but as mentioned, now that I am retired I get ready for an apptmt quite early and leave early also in case of transport delays etc.

        • Mari, I agree. I had known this friend for about 10 years and she was ALWAYS late. And not just 10-15 minutes late, but 45 minutes late. Every time. Once, she didn’t even show up. When someone is that late, by the time they arrive, I am so angry, I have no desire to spend any time with them. She can offer to pay for everything while we’re out, but I don’t care about it. It won’t make up for her lateness. She doesn’t have any other responsibilities other than herself (no kids, no regular job), so I have no idea why she was always late, other than the fact that she thought her time was more important than mine.

          Her sister had an engagement party, and although the party was for her sister, they showed up almost TWO HOURS LATE. Come on!!! There was a group of people waiting outside the restaurant and I figured out that they were also there for the party (we had never met), otherwise I would have waited for them for almost two hours by myself. Eventually, I stopped talking to her. She’s not a bad person, and we were once good friends, but I just couldn’t take it anymore.

      • I do not agree!

      • AMEN! This is the best description of it I’ve ever heard.

        Time is a construct and I think a lot of people forget that. Rather than blaming those who are “late” in your eyes, why don’t you better prepare yourself by carrying around a book to read, checking your email, catching up with a friend via phone, etc. There are so many things we all need to get done and you are choosing to look at the FREE time your friend just bestowed upon you as NEGATIVE space for you to fill with loathing your friend and counting down each minute. Why not do something constructive with the un-filled time schedule you now have?

        Things come up in people’s lives. For example, a person’s dog may have knocked over a glass on the way out that they had to clean up so their dog would not step on any broken pieces while they were gone. Perhaps, they ran into a friend on the street who stopped them to give them an update on their dying grandparent. Maybe they put in two minutes extra work on a novel they are writing because they were so absorbed in the work they love to do– a novel that will eventually go on to help hundreds of people.

        Who can look at any of these actions over the long term and say these actions did not better serve humanity then your friend arriving exactly on the dot so YOU wouldn’t be bored? You never know what small actions added up to a person being late. Look at the big picture. Automatically assuming it’s a stab against you is highly egotistical and small-minded.

        Learn to fill your own time with more meaningful experiences. Learn from the pauses in life. Look around you. Talk to the strangers next to you. These forced pauses in our routines are the moments where the magic in life happens.

        We’re not supposed to be well-oiled machines operating at topmost efficiency at all times. Be human. Slow down. Don’t let the construct of time control you and all of your relationships.

        • Such a lovely perspective .. Thank you!

        • Thank you!

        • A most sensible comment..

        • You’re kidding, right? Do you expect films to start when you show up? Music events? Lectures? School? Why not? Others can seize that opportunity to do the activities you mention. Sure, nice of you to tell others how to live their lives and how to spend their time that you have gifted to them. If you agree to meet at a certain time you have voluntarily made that agreement. You need to honor that and stop placing the burden on the person who kept their agreement. Sheesh.

        • I completely disagree. If you are a busy person to the point of being late, or have some reason to not show up until half an hour past when we scheduled for, then why not schedule for that half an hour past. Even if having “chronic issues” with being on time is your excuse, then you know that and you know yourself. You can plan differently to make it work. If you know it takes you extra time to get up or get ready in the mornings, go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier, or something. To just use depression or anxiety as an excuse is just awful, because there are many of us that have anxiety or depression and we still manage to take the time to be on time, instead of using it as an excuse.

        • Bravo…

      • If that is your stance on this idea of perpetual lateness, then my suggestion and solution is to do unto others than you would want them to do unto you. With that said, my new philosophy is…tell me what time to arrive and I will secretly and purposely arrive as late as you have made me wait the last few times. I believe in reciprocity with flexibility, but NEVER EVERYONE as a cop out or enabling someone. In this case, a taste of his/her own medicine is a must. And if that perpetual person who always is late was not affected at all by your reciprocity, then you have discovered that that person is mightily ignorant and deficient and certainly not worth maintaining a core friendship or business associations with him or her.

        You see, if we never instill the value of time, punctuality, and consideration, this Generation X of young adults will continue to pass on the stupidity of their elders’ teaching and role modeling and produce even more stupid mentality for future generations.

      • This is by far the best comment on here.Assumption is the mother of all evil. Labelling people as selfish and rude for being late is just as bad as someone being late.
        Personally I am always on time, despite running between 3 veterinary jobs 7 days a week. How I live though is not how I think everyone should live, nor should I expect then too!!
        Thankfully I am a patient and empathetic person who finds no use for judging others.
        I find your comments extremely generalised, rude and quite selfish.
        Don’t judge others just because they sin differently to you!!!

      • “How about we often plan for the best case scenario? “If the stars align, I won’t hit traffic, I will find a parking spot, and maybe I can do just one more thing.” That doesn’t mean we are rude and selfish.”

        If the event or meeting is important to you, then you would take the extra consideration to leave with enough time for traffic, finding a parking spot, and no you shouldn’t jam in that one more thing. You are being rude and selfish for not planning a head. It is disrespectful to the people you agreed to meet. Does being late make you a bad person? No, however being late has consequences as in; not being invited to parties, not receiving a promotion that required better time management, or losing clients and accounts.

    • I found a way to deal with the 10 appointments I made a day and not be late. I now only make 5 or 6. Although I don’t have to meet people in their homes I do so to save them the trouble of coming out and meeting me in the office. Often I would be delayed by another person so the next one had to sit in the warmth of their own home for an extra 10 minutes while I drove around the city to get to them. Then they would complain about the time. This does not happen any more. I limit the appointments I make and rather than see them the day after they contact me they have to wait 3 or 4 days, but I am there on the dot. I also work a lot less hours and have cut down on the amount I spend on petrol.

  2. I love this post! Why don’t people (business and pleasure) understand that being late is not cool. It’s very uncool. I can’t wait to try out your method with my doctor who likes to keep me waiting at least 45 minutes – and with a small child, it’s totally unacceptable.

    • I deducted $$ from my doctor’s bill for overtime babysitting fee when he kept me waiting 1 1/2 hrs. My time and my babysitter’s time was just as valuable as his
      Now I walk out after 1/2 hour at all doctors

  3. Thank you SO much for this post. I will be sharing it with certain people who are always late, to give them an obvious hint!
    I’ve always prided myself on punctuality, and agree that it is a character trait which too many people let slide nowadays. Just last Saturday night, my husband and I were hosting a dinner party at our place. We invited our guests for 9pm (it was a late starter so the kids could be asleep). Two of our guests arrived at… wait for it…11.45pm!! I was horrified. No apologies or excuses were given.
    I am utterly thankful that there are people like you who still respect and value other people’s time.

    • you also right, sometime they didn’t know the way they doing were wrong so that’s why they keep to be late anytime.

    • I would have already put up dinner and cleaned up. The lights would have been off, and I would answer the door in my housecoat and tell them sorry dinner is over; maybe we could try again someother time. (NOT)!

  4. Fantastic – always thought late people were arrogant!!! I had an employee that walked in once late and said – i’m running late today and there were 10 clients waiting for her!!!!! Needless to say the employment did not last.

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  6. Great read – so true.

    I actually had arranged some of my now husband’s female friends around to get to know them better when we first started going out and had told them to come over for a BBQ. But I ended up going all out and prepared an amazing feast (none of which was to hit the BBQ). Told them to come over around 12pm and I sat there and sat there and eventually one turned up and then the other two turned up two hours later, with not much of an apology on offer. No message or call to say they would be late. I had to call them to find out where they were and they had popped to the shops. They obviously thought BBQ meant rock on over whenever. Here I was trying to make an impression and I put so much effort (and cost) in, but they ended up leaving a terrible impression on me. While we are al really good friends now, let me just say, none of them ever appeared on my dinner party list again! So rude!

  7. I love it Greg.
    In fact I wrote something along the same lines for Anthill Online a while back.
    I think you may like it

    “Tell me, why is it that some people consistently show up late for events that happen at the same time every week? Is it that 7pm on a Wednesday night sneaks up on them from a different angle each week? Do they really forget something that predictable and repeatable every week? No, they are just inconsiderate and rude.”


    • Yes we have forgotten manners somewhere…a friend of mine who is AlWAYS late just found out that she has ADHD, apperantly keeping track of time is VERY HARD for ADHD suffers. So one has to take things on a “”case by case basis”. Not apply blanket ruls for all. Dont you think, ie a Mum with five small kids is more likely to be late at this time in her life???

      • thanks for sharing about this. I have ADHD as well, and I agree, it’s hard for us to keep track of time. For me, I’d be preparing 1 hr or 2 hrs beforehand, and at times, still end up being late because I got majorly distracted without realizing it, or my estimation of time was way off for something I did.

        • Further to the ADHD comment, there are other problems that increase the liklihood of a person turning up late.

          I have insomnia, so I often spend two to six hours trying to GET to sleep, which is actually more of an issue when I KNOW I have to get up at a certain time, so spend a lot of time fretting over the fact that I now have only six hours to sleep… Four… Three and a bit… Two…

          And then I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, and still rush to get on time… Yes, I like to sleep until the latest possible alarm before getting up, because it took SO DARN LONG TO GET THERE!

          It doesn’t make a difference if I go to bed and lay there twelve hours before I have to be up, I won’t get to sleep with anything more than five hours to go… Best case.

          • It’s such a relief to hear from someone who has the same problem I have!

        • I’ve got ADHD as well, and don’t consider it an excuse for being late. I set up at least four alarms on my phone when I have to be somewhere, in case I get distracted. I tell my roommate and my boyfriend about where i’m going and what time I have to be there, so if i get distracted they can remind me. I leave post it notes on the things that most easily distract me (fridge, bathroom mirror, coat closet) that say (you have to be at ____ by __ o’clock).

          • I don’t agree with the ADHD excuse. Just because you’re hyper-focused doesn’t mean you can’t use alarms. My husband has it, and he’s never late to anything. The problem lies elsewhere. It is interesting that certain cultures/places are less tolerant than others. I think a lot of how you behave is what you can get away with.

        • Yup, same thing for me. I haven’t been diagnosed, but I am getting an assessment done next week for ADHD. My boyfriend is always getting mad at me for not being on time and I’ve suffered a lot in school for it. I want to change, it’s going to be hard journey.

        • The ADHD thing is a copout. I have ADHD, so does my SO, and we are hardly ever late. The thing is you either put systems in place to keep you from being late, or you dont. Also, you have to understand your social groups. In my social circle, if you say 3:00, everyone is usually there around 2:45 and whatever we are doing starts at 3, in my SO’s social circle 3:00 means 3:45~ish most days. If you know that it helps. But! If such rules do not exist in your social group (and they are not hard expectations), then lateness is extremely rude. Because we have a lot of people in our social groups who are ADHD, etc, when there isnt something that requires we be somewhere “on time” (think movie or other event with a start-time), we will say things like, “we are going to target being at point x at 3 pm, everybody text when they leave the house”. Because we know how long it takes to get to point x, we know when people will show up, so it saves us that “has John even left the house” moment. Being late is rude, and there is no excuse for chronic lateness.

      • Got to love the ” Ive got AHAD, Ive got 5 kids, Ive got an Iphone, the traffic…..
        It is simply laziness, and the non ability to be organised and consider others
        Lazy people will alway be late because they don’t value themselves enough to value anyone else.
        Thats why “doers” will always do and get on in life and the lazy people will bitch and whinge about their lot in life but not do anything about it.
        Be kind, be nice to them and move on. BUt do not accept their lazyness. Mybe one day they will learn.

        • While I tend to agree Tim, I would be interested in how you would class those who suffer badly from OCD like myself. I have to get ready hours before hand sometimes and can be late still every now and then even though it is never intentional.

        • ….[Lazy people]”Don’t value themselves enough to value anyone else.” Brilliant.

        • I have ADHD and 8 kids. I have clocks in every room including the bathroom. Some rooms I have more than one. If you really care about other people then you will over compensate not use ADHD as an excuse. The fact that I have learned to do that makes me less tolerant of those that just don’t bother.

          If you are always late then you are basically showing a deeper character trait that says you can’t be counted that will show itself in some other way eventually.

        • I struggle with being on time but I’m always chronically 10-20 minutes late, this affects my kids too which I really don’t like. I really hate that I’m late and it’s something I really want to change. I’m always angry and frustrated with myself about it and it’s embarrassing. I know I lose track of time and underestimate how long things will take, but I think the biggest hurdle is feeling panicked because I feel a lot of social anxiety at times. Honestly sometimes the thought of being early and sitting there waiting just gives me anxiety. I don’t know how to overcome it but I would like to because I don’t want to be rude and do think it’s important to be dependable. It hurts to hear you say people who are late are rude and selfish, but hearing that those who wait must feel that way may help me focus on that and not the anxiety.

          • OCD/ADD/whatever you want to call it!! Why does it seem these days like there’s always an excuse or a reason why everyone else has to understand why someone else let them down?
            i’m over it! i have my own problems, whatever you want to diagnose them as, but i still don’t want to leave a friend sitting in a cafe all by themselves while I dawdle around and wonder how long they will wait for me!!
            I know it must be embarrassing to always be late, but it’s really not up to everyone else to work that out for you! A diagnosis changes nothing, if you care about the person you’re meeting, that should be enough to take precedence over your own anxieties and inner workings – that you CARE ENOUGH TO NOT LEAVE YOUR FRIEND WAITING ALL ALONE IN A LONESOME CAFE WHILE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE A SHOWER AT EXACTLY THE TIME YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MEETING ME!!!!
            Please excuse my irritation, but I just went through this for the millionth and maybe the last time.
            It’s not okay to always be late. It’s not cool. It isn’t caused by some psychological problem. It’s just rude and arrogant, and i for one am not going to make excuses for all you late-for-everything people every again!
            Buy a watch!! Some of us have other things going on in our lives apart from just meeting you and don’t have the whole day to spend waiting for what should have been a one hour lunch.
            never again

          • JUne, I so relate to you! I usually run late… & it is my poor planning. I hate it ! I don’t want to be late… but there it is again… I should be somewhere & i am just leaving! I have had these comments said to me before… It hurts… & I truly know people feel this was about people who habitually run late… I have to work REALLY hard to be on time! I really do cry when I see how it looks to others …because that is not me! Some how I think it is like calling overweight people lazy … & self indulgent! It they wanted to lose weight~ they would!! ( really??? ) The thought that they just eat because they are gluttons , or are fat because they just sit around & don’t do anything is not really true. I am thin & fit. But I try to understand people that have behavior that is not healthy. I am a special ed. teacher. ( so it is kinda in my profession to be understanding, but also to not accept excuses. ) We can see from this article that prompt people really do not understand our struggle! I am not making excuses… I do not really want to be late…I TRULY STRESS WHEN I AM RUNNING LATE!!! I want someone to discover how to help late people change. I want to change! I go to bed late! ( & every nite I say I will be in bed by…. & it is usually about 45 minutes later than I wanted to!) you can contact me if you want… I would love to brainstorm with people who need to change i “clocks’ … It is not just being disrespectful of others that makes me late… otherwise … wouldn’t I manage my time better for myself? like bedtime??? ( my email is the struggle continues…

          • I understand how you feel June. I always want to be on time but I too suffer from a sort of social anxiety. I stress out about how I look and change clothes at the last minute or feel insecure about meeting at a public place , im very insecure and worry constantly about how others will perceive me. Sometimes I realize I may be late if I dont hurry and that too makes me feel anxiety . I kind of shut down my logical thinking and go into my own world, , (as the clock is ticking) I have no concept of time while I continue to hurriedly take on more and more small last minute tasks. I have lost more than one job for not being on time. In high school I was constantly serving detentions for tardiness. I am trying to ‘get myself together’ and be a punctual person. I totally understand how annoying it is when someone is never on time. I do care for others feelings and want to make others happy I especially want to be dependable for anything I have commited to. I truely belive alot of it has to do with disorganization of time and belongings and maybe emotions too. I do think there is a difference between people who are late without much care kinda meandering in when they feel like it without remorse compared to those of us with disorders or poor organization who truely do worry, feel guilty, anxious, and regretfull at their lateness (even if it is a habit).

          • Get a watch, and keep it 30 minutes ahead, and strictly follow that time.

        • I’ve read many posts on why people are late. Some are legitimate and some not so much. However, if you have a problem/medical condition you simply need to prepare earlier. If you are a chronically late, simply decline the invitation and be honest. Tell the host that you have time management issues and you don’t want to come off as rude because you can’t make it on time. Please don’t complain if you don’t have a solution. And for the author of this article; simply put…I’d be the highest paid and most promoted employee in your company. My solution for employees who are chronically late…FIRE THEM!!! Seriously America. In almost all cases, your job starts at the same time everyday.

        • Ok seriously, I hear you about the wishy washy sounding bs excuses… but let me say this, adhd is real (dispite over diagnosis) and actually causes serious issues with time management. Now, that being said, I also don’t think that because the adhd person has a disorder the other party should have to suffer. I too struggle with time management and strive to overcome it (as I think all people should). So consider this, is it any different than people being subjected to an ocd person’s antics? Not really. Both scenarios are equally frustrating, but just as difficult for the offender to turn off. My closing statement: as I teach my daughter, punctuality is a vital life skill and so is flexibility.

        • Since on the topic of issues that contribute to lateness, what would you say to a person with OCD?
          Let’s say their OCD causes them issues with timeliness on the downside. Upside of hands down out performing and producing at a higher quality. The kind of person who will stay late and ‘get it done’. The kind of person who’s always #1 in sales rankings… Mostly because they literally can not be less. Or the terrible parts of OCD kick in harder.
          Should we all throw stones, wag our fingers and preach about timeliness to them? The lazy, rude inconsiderate OCD-ritual-laden star performer ?
          The kind of person people love to hate. They can’t be beat, and they always stroll in late. The nerve!

          • You obviously think pretty highly of yourself. I’m sure your friend sitting by herself at the restaurant waiting for you is super happy you’ve decided “being a super star” is more important than your commitment to them. Yet another person who’s just fundamentally selfish and can’t think beyond their own wants and needs.

        • Says someone who has clearly never had to get a bunch of rioting kids to the door.

      • if you KNOW you have trouble being on time, plan for it. make an effort. that’s what i do.

      • THANK YOU to those who brought up ADHD! My entire life, my mom has run late to every single event I can remember and it seems that my life has been filled with perpetual tardiness as well – as well as other issues. I found out almost two years ago that I have ADHD and have had it since I was small. So many things make sense ever since my diagnosis. I’ve been in treatment (therapy and meds) since my diagnosis and my tardiness has improved dramatically – as well as many of my other ADHD traits. Every day is a challenge and time management is top of the list of challenges for a person with ADHD that has gone unchecked for 30+ years. I’ve learned that between my meds and using technology, I can better manage my time so that I’m not constantly appearing as if I am rude and inconsiderate – believe me, it is extremely stressful to be late all the time and not understand why you can’t seem to be on time. It used to be a source of extreme anxiety for me.

        • my daughter thinks I ,too, have ADHD. I am a special education teacher… so I understand the issue. I have done an online assessment & I scored moderate ADHD. What has helped you? I struggle with time management! Honestly, I equate it with people who struggle with weight issues. Yes, it is behavioral…But I don’t see it as a character issue…even though it does look like a lack of character… more than weight issues. I looks like we are not dependable & cannot be counted on( I am a very responsible person… & caring. I am loyal & can be extremely responsible for every other issue in my life except punctuality. When I am on time, it is really because I planned on getting there waaay early! LIke to catch a plane. I still am running late for the time I planned on getting there!! ( I will plan on leaving to get to the airport which is about 15-20 minutes away… I will plan to leave an hour before i really need to leave!! I will tell whoever is driving me we will leave 30 minutes before we need to be there… allowing that extra 10 minutes. I give myself an extra 30 minutes!! yet, I will be barely ready for the person who is coming at that 30 minute point! Really leaving 30 minutes is what most people would plan as traffic could always cause a delay… I work hard to plan like this!!! What is helping you? thanks!!! Sincerely…

          • As someone with ADHD who is almost always on time, here is what works for me: simplify your out the door routine. I dont use a purse, but if I did everything (keys, wallet, phone) would be always in it. I only take those 3 things with me when I leave the house, and if anything else needs to go with me I stage it next to my wallet the night before or in the morning (if it is an afternoon appointment).

            Always put appointments, bill pay reminders, and anything else you need scheduled in 2 places: your google calendar (which should be synced with your phone and email and have a reminder set at least the day before and, a few hours before, and drive time+15 minutes before the appointment, or when you should leave!!!), and in a paper organizer that you take with you/ share with the family/ sits on your work desk (this is a whatever works for you kind of thing).

            When the first alarm goes off on your phone, gather any documents you need and put them by your wallet/ key place (the 24 hr alarm). When the second alarm goes off, take your shower and get dressed, eat, get the kids ready except for shoes, power through the rest of your work, whatever you need to do to close up. You should not need all that time, it is a reminder that you have something to do later and that you should be ready to leave at some point soon.

            When the third alarm goes off, leave. Everything is already staged, your documents are where they need to be, the book you want/ present you are giving the birthday girl is by your keys/ wallet, put on your shoes/ the kid’s shoes, close up the house, grab your things, get in the car, and go. You will never be late again if you do this (unless you hit unusual traffic or something ridiculous).

        • I, too, have a diagnosis of autism. If my husband wasn’t around to help me plan things and make sure I got to places without getting wound up into a flap I’d be housebound. I can’t even catch a bus thanks to my social anxiety.

      • Thank you Bree! I have to say, for the most part, this article had me fuming at the one-sided viewpoint of the obviously angry writer… But I do have to say to his credit, the kind of lateness that he described is most certainly an extreme case (that is, assuming it’s not just a gross exaggeration), and I would have to agree that if someone is showing up to things (social, business, or otherwise) a half hour or hour late, and on a regular basis, and to top it off, without even an apology (?!), that is, indeed, INCREDIBLY rude!

        At the same time though, I have to say that his style of confrontation is absolutely appalling, and will most certainly incite nothing but defensiveness in return at his callous, self-centered perspective! And yes, being a single mother of two children (with no help at all from family or their father) and a full-time student myself, I do find that a lot of the time I am running in to class maybe three or four minutes late, and it most certainly has NOTHING to do with my own selfish desires – my God, I often have to make it through very long days while running on no more than three hours of sleep, and nothing to eat since picking at the kids leftovers from the night before, and I am literally running down the hall to class, avoiding near collisions with other students as I desperately try to make it on time, nearly in tears at the frustration of having far too little time to do far too much work for everybody in my life (my other biggest downfall is my inability to say no when someone asks me for something, no matter how over-extended I find myself). So yes, I happen to be one of those unfortunate people that does seem to be perpetually late, but I assure you, it has nothing at all to do with me being “rude” or “selfish”, because I have exactly the opposite problem – I am just trying so hard to do everything for everyone, and if I happen to be five minutes late, I most certainly do apologize then and there, but I’m doing the best I can!

      • Thanks for bringing up the issue of ADHD, Bree. I too have ADHD, and the real issue is not the inability to set an alarm, or getting distracted–it is the complete inability to estimate the amount of time that it will take to do something, especially if it is not a routine thing, like getting to work. For example, I have been going to work at the same time for five years, so I set my alarm for the same time every day, and I am always on time. However, if I am taking my children to an ice skating party, for example, and I need to get them all dressed in appropriate clothes, make sure that they have all eaten beforehand, pick up a gift for the host, etc., it is very, very difficult for us to gauge the amount of time it takes to do this. I will often start hours ahead of time and still end up being late.

        As a side note, I am tired of the comments on this page, which are all very self-righteous and arrogant. It is wrong to assume that people who are late are intentionally being rude (although I guess that some of them are). There are some of us who, for one reason or another, despite our very best efforts, are running ragged and exhausted and are trying as hard as we can and simply can’t manage to be on time every time. I don’t use my ADHD as an excuse, and I am on time for important things like work, church, and normally scheduled events.

        But when I am late, it is not because I am trying to be rude, or trying to annoy you, or trying to ruin your event. It is because I decided your event was important enough to come to, despite the fact that I know I will be condemned for being late, and I probably cried the whole way there, beating myself up for, once again, failing to do something correctly.

        We all have different skills and different shortcomings. Instead of pointing fingers, why don’t we try reaching out a hand?

    • I’ll be honest with you. I am persistently “late” by 2-10 mins. to an informal weekly meeting at 7pm in a church activities room held on the same day each/every week of the year. The reason for my delay is because I must fix my husband’s dinner before I can leave home to voluntarily attend these charitable association meetings. I’m not required to go, but have a standing invitation to come when I can or want to. I don’t consider it to be rude, inconsiderate or selfish of me in any way to be a late-comer (or even a no-show) to any of these meetings and I don’t believe any of the other attendees do either.

      If I arrive late, I wait before entering to respect any prayer or speaker. Then I find an appropriate seat to quietly take, so as to avoid distraction & interruption of on-going business. Mind you, in general, none of the folks there ask or know if I’ll be coming to these meetings. It can & often is a different mix of folks every week. Unless you introduce yourself, no one even knows your name. Now, IF I had made a commitment to make a presentation, speak or bring something I had promised to any of these meetings, then that would be a different story indeed. But in this case, I have absolutely no obligations to attend. However, I still thank our meeting leader/spokesperson at the end of the meeting & talk with attendees.

      In my life, I have been late due to many reasons that are beyond my control; including: heavy traffic, police stops, car accidents, lack of parking, personal assault, incomplete directions/instructions for attendance, a few requests to “grab on you way & bring”, or just because invitation says: “Please drop by Whenever You Can for our Party between 5-9pm on Sunday. BYOB!”

      Although, it is particularly embarrassing to be late when attending Weddings & Funerals, I do think it is alright to slip in quietly late at an appropriate point, so long as you have a proper invitation to be there.

      The point is that occasionally things happen that are completely beyond our control and psychologists say it is better to recognize that things beyond our control should not cause perilous stress & anxiety. In this hectic unpredictable world many of us turn up late, not because of lack of forethought & timely planning to arrive punctually; but b/c of unanticipated circumstances we cannot control. If making amends to anyone offended is appropriate, then graciously & sincerely apologize, but don’t waste their time with superfluous excuses. If you missed a previously arranged serving time for food&drink, particu-larly if hosts were expecting you, then shame on you. But, at least you’re still alive to enjoy their company &/or hospitality; or, be held accountable for a mandatory business meeting.

      • Thanks for your insights, BZ. I think these are very important points to recognize.

  8. Brilliant!

  9. You need to chill out mate! Don’t be so anal! Stuff happens, live with it!

    • There is nothing anal about being punctual. Clearly there is a difference with an open invitation to a simple cocktail party than one to a dinner party (where dinner is actually served) but I certainly agree that people who are repeatedly late or show up after the appointed time with no excuse whatsoever, are simply rude and not really deserving of my time. Something I’ve learned over the years is that time has far more value than money. I can lose money, eventually I’ll make more, but time is something I can never get back once it’s gone. I place a high value on my time and that of others, so I make sure not to waste it. As far as I am concerned, people who waste my time are showing me that their time is more important than mine, and in most cases, I’ve found that I can give that point a good argument. 😉 Punctuality is a sign of respect. If you’re late to meeting with me with no good reason or ADVANCE notice (meaning a text with “I’m running late” sent five minutes after the appointed time doesn’t cover it) you’re likely to find me gone.

      • you make it sound like you are being sucked into a black vortex while waiting for someone to show up. In this age where we all carry distraction machines in our pockets, how hard is it to fill a few minutes with something productive or interesting? How long did you spend reading this article and the comments? I agree waiting an hour is pretty unacceptable, but a 5-10 minute window? Get real

  10. Cheers Paul
    In fact I am very chilled indeed….
    A good rant about about flagrant rudeness, helps keep me that way..


  11. Could not agree more. Remember when we did not have mobile phones and if you agreed to meet somewhere there was no way to contact people away from their desk or home? Now the most popular SMS is “running a little late.”

  12. I’m so agreed with this! I have 2 gal friends who is always late! Furthermore, the meeting place is always near their home! I will reach 5-10mins earlier & will sms her 5 mins before telling her that I have reached, knowing that she need 10mins or more to drift herself to our meeting place! Without fail, this goes on for years and I believe as friends we shall have talk it out but still I can’t believe that human behaviours can be so self-centred.

  13. Great post could not agree more!

    I think for those who are running late, it is only polite to let the people waiting for them know in advance that they will be late. Nothing worse than waiting for a person wondering where they are and why they are late

  14. Greg, you may have saved civilisation

  15. Absolutely right! It is not acceptable to be late anywhere and repeat offenders should be told so. Certain friends or family members who are always late or don’t turn up at all without a text or phone call never get invited back again. Even in business it’s the height of bad manners. A few years ago I went for a job interview and was kept waiting 50 minutes as the interviewer hadn’t arrived at the office. In disgust I just walked out and went home. As soon as I got off the tube I received a call from them asking where I was. I explained that I wouldn’t want to work for a company who were that disorganised and that if I can make the effort to get there on time (I was also 20 minutes early) so should they. The boss was setting a bad example.

  16. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates it when people are late. I manage to be on time to social events/work/school drop offs with 2 littlies under 5 and I am amazed that others can’t show the same courtesy.

    I find it even more frustrating when not only are people late, but don’t show the good manners to send a text or call to let me know they are going to be late.

    On the flip side, I think it is almost as bad to be TOO early, and this was one of my pet peeves as a recruiter when interviewing. Its awkward to have a candidate sitting in reception for more than 10-15 minutes before an interview.

    Good article!

  17. Hi Greg, you’re so right about people who are routinely late!

    It’s rubbish. If an appointment is not to be respected and kept to, none should be made in the first place.


  18. Well said Greg,
    I cannot agree more. People often believe that their time is so much more important. I actually billed a real estate agent for my time after being 1 hour late for an appointment to view a property my wife and i were looking at purchasing, also I have a relative who is a serial latecomer. I once had to tell her that my daughters naming day ceramony started at 10am to ensure she would be ontime for the 12pm start, would you believe she was still late???? Needless to say she is employed within the “safe” government environment…god knows she wouldnt survive in private enterprise.
    Keep the blogs coming, always a great read.

    • Ah, yes, bill the poor real estate agent who is not making a dime…how about you charge your doctor instead? I’m sure the agent had a good reason…

  19. Hi Greg Agree completely with this and recently my wife walked out from a dental appointment after 30 minutes of unexplained delay by receptionist. Late arrivals for dinner infuriate me and I have on a couple of occasions welcomed the late guests in my pyjamas. Didn’t go down to well with my wife but the point was made to those late-comers.

  20. Over the past couple of months of job seeking, I’ve had probably 20 meetings with recruiters – varying levels, organisations of different sizes. Is it a recruitment tactic to make the candidate wait? I’ve sat in interview rooms for up to 20 minutes, having been shown in by a receptionist and left to my own devices.

    In fact, Firebrand was the only agency I went to where I was seen at the time we’d actually planned the meeting!

    • Phew! I’m kind of relieved you said that Anna :)

    • I also had numerous recruiters leave me in reception for up to an hour. I’m very easy-going and know that urgent matters arise in business, but to leave a person sitting for an hour without advising them what is going on is unacceptable. I got the feeling from these recruiters that I was an inconvenience to their day, and they were doing me a favour by seeing me. Interesting to note that those same recruiters were not forthcoming for freelance or permanent roles. My time is also important, especially when looking for work.

  21. I remember my first day of joining the Royal Air Force (many years ago), the Staff Sergeant arranged a meeting outside our accommodation for 2pm. He stood outside, saying nothing, as we all shuffled out in dribs and drabs, sorting ourselves into a line by a couple of minutes after 2pm. Then he gave us an almighty roasting at the top of his voice for what seemed like an hour and let us know – in no uncertain times – that when he gives a time he wants to see us standing in line 5 minutes beforehand.

    And that is what we did from then on of course. The next 2pm parade saw us all standing in line at 13:55.

    It’s a rule that has stuck with me since then. It’s not something that the wife subscribes too, unfortunately.

  22. This article describes my boss to a T. Not only is she serially late – (kept job applicant waiting 1 hour, was 45 mins late meeting new Deputy CE are standout examples) – when she finally arrives, she has her phone on, answers calls during the meeting and texts whilst others are talking. She attributes this behaviour to multitasking. I call it outrageously rude and thoughtless.

  23. The issue is to do with integrity. Integrity with respect to time. That plus what they feel is important to them. Ask the same people who are routine late comers if they would be late to receive an award from the President of their country or if they would be late for a flight for an overseas holiday. The chances are – never!
    These are folks who have huge issues in living as their word and I for one would not like to do business with them. One of my seniors – from whom I learnt a lot once went to a client meeting (I was there and witness to this). We were kept waiting for 30 minutes as the client we were to see was on a call or some such. We then went in for the meeting which was to last an hour. 30 minutes into the meeting, my boss concluded the meeting thus – “the rest of the discussions will be held tomorrow at our office at xyz time. I had budgeted an hour for this meeitng of which we spent 30 minutes outside. Thank you and have a good day.’ This obviously generated a lot of heat, so to speak, but for sure the client got the message. never ever again, was he on a call when our meetings were scheduled!


  24. Interesting article and some funny comments.
    Actually it seems that everyone here thinks the “late people” consider their time as more important than the time of others. You all are talking about your time as if it was money : time is money ? Really ?

    I’m not a “late guy”. Sure it happened but I do care of people and if the meeting point is outdoor and the weather is windy, I’ll do my best to be on time. But it’s nothing to do with the “value” of time.

    Taking the time is important. People want to drive their life so fast that they feel under attack as soon as their schedule is not fulfilled.
    If the one I have to meet is 5, 10 or even 20 minutes late, I usually don’t care. Because I am ready to spend my time with him I don’t want to be in a hurry so I try not to schedule another interview/meeting/social event in the next 3-4 hours. I am not and I don’t want to be prisoner of my watch. :-).

    My 2 cents

    • My thoughts don’t involve my need to rush elsewhere but rather that if I respect and like someone enough why would I mess them around by saying one thing and doing another? It starts a meeting/social event etc off on the wrong foot and really, there’s just no need to let someone down for the sake of being more organised. Don’t get me wrong, everyone will be late at times but there are some people who do it without fail – that’s my bug-bear.

      • I try very hard to be on time for appointments, especially if it’s the first time I’ve met with that person. If I notice a pattern that they are perpetually late, with or without explanation, then I have a choice. I can either decide that my time is worth more than the relationship or that the relationship is worth more than a little extra time. There are some relationships that I don’t get that much out of (or if it’s a business, I can find better service elsewhere) and I end it. Some relationships are worth the inconvenience (or it’s a business that I can’t easily replace – like my ob/gyn) and I adapt, usually by not wasting my time by showing up on time. I don’t think that I’m being rude in those cases, I’m simply trying to make a relationship work with someone for whom “time” isn’t very important. You can get angry and judge others for what you perceive as “rude”, “thoughtless”, or “selfish” behavior, or you can take responsibility for yourself. No one is forcing you to wait, if you can’t or don’t want to wait, then don’t, but you must realise that the anger primarily hurts you and you don’t truely know the motives of the other people.

    • Actually time is a more precious resource than money. You can always make more money to replace what you have spent and you can save and accumulate more cash if you have the discipline. But the simple fact is that you are only in this lifetime for a fixed amount of days. Time that is gone cannot be recovered, it is a zero sum game. You will only be here for one lifetime and every minute behind you is one minute that is no longer in front of you.

  25. Greg, you are right on the money with this post. Do some people live in another dimension? and it does amaze me that *apparently* sending sms makes everything better. It’s the Ultimate Sticking Plaster (or not!)

    I’m starting to think it’s a good indication of who will be awful to do business with – if they can’t organise themselves to be on time, what else can’t they organise?


  26. Great post Greg. Totally with you on this. Another peeve along similar lines is with, in my case, suppliers of services. I don’t really care that something might take a day or two, or a month or a year – but if you tell me I can have it on a particular day, at a particular time – damn well make it happen! Whew, rant over.

  27. Oh Miles…I squirmed as I read this blog. 8/10 I am one of those late people (not as late as those people for the dinner party – alarming! ) – but late none the less, and especially when I was a ‘client’. My sister, after about 20 years of adulthood blasted me about it last week. I thank her and thank you for calling us on it. You are right. It is sloppy, rude and disrespectful. I take my hat off to the on time people. If they can do it, so can I. (You may remember me, I’m friend of Renee’s)

  28. Although I resonate with your frustrations (I myself tend to be a bit of a stickler about time), I think it’s also worth considering whether we’ve become way too time-focused in the West. Perhaps living so much by the clock may not be such a healthy thing in the larger scheme of things and a sign that we need create a lot more spaciousness in our lives (wasn’t that the point of technology- to reduce the amount of manual labour so that we would have more time on our hands?) Also, I wonder if part of this trend has to do with international influences since there are many cultures that are much more relaxed about time. Thanks for the food-for-thought.

  29. I used to get really angry when people were always late. However, I have to admit that I’ve become acclimatised to it: most meetings will be delayed by 5-10 minutes, coffee meetings ditto. Admittedly I tend to use my free time with email/newsfeeds etc on my iPhone, I used to get angrier before I could at least do things. That said, the whoppers are usually the same people, who you learn to add on time (9:00 means 9:30 etc).

  30. I couldn’t agree more with this post! I’m someone who always makes a point of being early, who will always plan a safety margin into any journey where I have a scheduled appointment at the end of it (to the extent that I have been sitting, twiddling my thumbs for an hour after arriving at 1pm for a 2pm meeting), and if I am late for something, feel incredibly guilty about it and apologise profusely for it.

    Then I know people who will arrive anything up to an hour late to a scheduled appointment, throw in a casual “sorry I’m late” with no explanation and no meaning in their voice, and expect things to be fine. It’s not on.

    As you say, even with the best intentions sometimes you do run late. The courteous thing to do is to offer a genuine apology, but more importantly try and avoid turning up late in the first case. If that means setting off 10 minutes earlier to get to the bus stop on time, then do it.

  31. Could not have put it better myself.
    Well said.
    If someone pre-warns you that they may be late due to an earlier meeting, I can accept, but when someone just turns up late, sets the tone for a poor meeting.

  32. Love this article. My pet hate is having to stand around like a wet lettuce leaf while the person you are meeting casually wanders to the meeting (let’s face it, does anyone really believe they are rushing?)

    Only thing I would say about the article is FOURTY FIVE MINUTES!!!!! I’d have left after 15 and expected a grovelling apology – must have been a fantastic bottle of wine. If I have a friend on their own I make a point of getting to a venue early so they aren’t arriving to an empty table – I can think of nothing worse and wouldn’t want my friends to have to do it.

    I also had a friend who was consistently 15 minutes late for any meeting, I eventually started suggesting to her we were meeting 15 mintues before I intended to get there. This worked but eventually I jut though ‘what’s the point?’ sadly we lost touch but at least I no longer spent 15 minute a week standing on a street corner waiting for her!

    When I was younger, you said a time and you stuck to it, there were no ‘get out clauses’ that mobiles now enable and I agree, it’s like everyone now has a right to send a quick text and it makes it all ok. It doesn’t.

    • Hi LL,

      Do you miss your friend? I bet you do. I understand. People who are late, may just have a reason… Compassion. That’s the key, but you can just be with people who turn up on time.. or be with those that touch your life, even, you know, if they are late. If you are honest, aren’t the people, who may be late, are the most honest and interesting? There are good reasons why people are different. It may go against the grain of your very existence, but there are other sides to the human race. Seriously, you may not understand, but there are others that agree. I am a ‘latey’, but I care more for others than most. Walk a mile in my shoes…

  33. Greg

    You have restored my faith in …my own sanity! I thought it was just me that finds the trend to be late so frustrating. I thought maybe it was just another example that Im getting older and grumpier, as I sit supping my second latte, waiting for someone who is 15 minutes late and who wants to sell their services.

    Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you down there in the Southern Hemispheres…


  34. I interviewed a senior candidate recently who had an interesting tactic for dealing with this in group meetings,namely that he had a two minute rule. Whether people were still missing or not, at 2 mins after the appointed time the meeting would start Regardless. Anyone that came in after that had to stand ! No one was late very often after that .

  35. Greg,

    Well said. Repeated lateness is disrespectful, inconsiderate and obviously a very common practice these days judging by the number of comments here.



  36. I agreed with this blog .. Greg .. there are lot’s of ppl who don’t care about other’s tym and make excuse on coming late .. Ppl should respect their tym and other’s too….

    Have a gr8 day and happy Christmas…

  37. I don’t think you understand the chance that latecomers give you each and every day.. they give you a few precious moments in your busy day to contemplate the dark and empty hole that is your time-strapped dying soul. You should be thanking them because for a moment you get a chance to succeed where time doesn’t. Time isn’t money or respect, it’s simply that space where you are not dead. Personally I now depend on lateness, the lateness of other people, because that is the time where I get to think and breathe. In my life I find it has only been the unscheduled things that have truly mattered… in business as in the rest of life.

    • Helen, this is the most brilliant thing anyone has said on this page. When I am waiting for a meeting to start, it’s like I can finally take a deep breath. So well said!

  38. I agree with most of this, except for the dentist part. You contradict yourself at the end and don’t really make a good concluding point. You say you had been seeing your dentist for 15 years. Obviously you have found your fit for a dentist, and your knack to scrutinize the punctuality of others probably developed way before finding her as a dentist. While that knack is not necessarily a bad thing, like I said, it wasn’t something that developed overnight. If you have been seeing her for fifteen years, this obviously was one of the only times she did it to you, or else you would have found someone else to treat you long ago. Assuming you keep with your oral care (brush and floss regularly and taken proper actions for grinding your teeth if you do), 15 years at 6 month check-ups leaves you with 30 visits. You’re complaining about one out of thirty visits which leaves you with a 3.3333333% chance of her running late-based on previous experiences. I don’t know about you, but if you are trying to find someone who constantly runs late, someone with a 3.3% chance of doing so probably isn’t the best candidate. I bring up this point because at the end, you say that, with this blog, you are not targeting the person who on slight occasion runs late, but those with habitual tardiness because, you, on occasion, do run late. Well it seems to me that your dentist appointment was her occasion (especially since the receptionist was so taken back-there are others like you who scrutinize punctuality and I’m sure your dentist has some of them besides you in her practice as well). Your dentist “did not plan on being late” just like you don’t, so using that experience as an example is not quite adequate for the point you are trying to prove.

    • The example that sent you over the top seemed to discredit your argument, as it was a legitimate excuse, and like the commenter above me stated, this was her one mistep, unless you forgot to mention that she does this to you all the time. There are times when being late is acceptable and there are times when it isn’t. But courtesy to let someone know is essential.

  39. Regarding your dentist, as far as possible I always schedule far ahead in advance such that I am the first on the day’s list.

    Because lateness is such an epidemic that other patients end up being late and causing the whole appointment of the day to slide! So let’s say your appointment is at 3pm. And the 2.30pm patient comes late by 20min for a 15min procedure, she’s stuck in a: “do i refuse to see this patient and alienate him?” or “do i let the next patient wait and alienate him?” situation?

    So for that one episode you blame your dentist of 15 years? Seems a bit harsh…

    • I have lists of booked appointments as a sonographer (ultrasound) It has always been my policy of taking the early patients early and the late patients late (ie if two patients turn up at the same time I will take the one that was early for their appointment) if I am running late I either ask reception to explain why Or if possible I go out myself to explain. It has worked well for me for over eleven years :)

      • I like this approach; a little bonus for the early ones and a gentle punishment for the late ones. Slowly re-educate your clientele over the years.

        With regard to the dentist example, I agree with the couple of comments above. Not only does the dentist or doctor need to deal with late attendees, but the nature of what the would need to deal with can vary greatly, and is not always pre-known before the visit. If you needed a fairly important procedure done, would you want your dentist to say “Sorry. Time’s up. Come back next week” or simply continue until finished?

    • Good article and good point!

      RE: ” Regarding your dentist, as far as possible I always schedule far ahead in advance such that I am the first on the day’s list”.

      As long as the Dentist is not late for work!

  40. I thought it was just me that got frustrated.
    I have left arranged meetings because people kept me waiting 10 minutes and it was me they wanted to do business with.

  41. Greg, I so agree with you. Though your article is too focused on adults, I will share a little on how selfish teenage brats in school act the exact same way in a even lower order. Meetings for school projects start at 2pm, I sat there in readiness at 1.55pm. The Kings and Queen graced me with their presence at 2.30pm. Meeting supposed to last for one hour and it got extended to 3.30 due to them. When I had to leave at three sharp for something else, I get shot at for loafing and ‘always leaving the meeting too early’. Yet these people sometimes turn up for meetings on their personal whims and fancy. At my second year in school I gave up working so hard and simply tossed everything to them.

  42. I totally agree :) Meaning your words and being punctual not only shows respect to an event, but also shows how accountable one is.

    1. they don’t have much value in their time or are not really doing much with their lives. We have other things that we have to get done before/after the appointment. It’s not like we have all the time in the world for them to delay with
    2. bad/poor/no upbringing. Again, this comes to manners.
    3. ‘Birds of a feather, flock together’ – their ‘friends’ are like that too so they see nothing wrong with it.

    Smiling and saying ‘yes’ to an appointment and not being punctual/turning up is just as good as not saying you’ll come in the first place. It only makes you look like a retard in the first place.

  43. Too true! Though i’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them.

    Something’s gotta change :/

  44. Hmm.. I wouldn’t had thought that someone could write this much about being late for something.. Good post tho, but don’t you think you are “over reacting”?

    Sure it’s annyoing, but you can either a) Leave b) Suck it and wait.

  45. Very relevant especially most people in malaysia seem to operate on the Malaysia Time Zone, which is to arrive +2 or 3 hour late to appointments.

  46. Nice write up indeed! People won’t be late next morning if they read this before going to bed. #Bedtimestories

  47. As much as he and his fanboy following irritate me Kurt Vonnegut summed up this issue very succinctly;

    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

  48. This is a brilliant post and so true of people today! I have a relative who is persistently late and not just by a few minutes. A few weeks ago she was almost two hours late for lunch, then got miffed when she arrived to find us sitting down to eat without her. She does suffer from OCD and is completely incapable of leaving her own home if one thing is out of place but after more than two decades I’m sick of that excuse.

    The occasional lateness is unavoidable but serial offenders are indeed selfish, disrespectful and grandiose, believing that their schedule is far more important than yours and you can just wait.

    Interesting that the few people who told you to chill are probably the worst offenders.

  49. well said! you couldnt have said it in a better way!

    great post! hope everyone who is habitually late will read this post

  50. I was with you until that story about your dentist. One late appointment in 15 years and you threw a temper tantrum and stormed out?

    Relax, friend.

  51. So true, and very well said… however I don’t think it’s anyone elses fault you put a large dent in the bottle of pinot! Hehehe!

  52. So true. Just had to share this post with some ‘friends’ and co-workers. Time’s the most valuable thing we have. We should treat it that way.

  53. I agree about business, but as for casual occassions I think that promptnessmay be a regionally specific issue .
    I was raised in the south (Atlanta specifically) and I was taught growing up that it is completely acceptable and even expected that guest show up a little late to parties. As much as I plan and try to have everything ready on time there is always something more to do, so usually as a host I am behind and find the people who show up promptly at 7:00 annoying (I do generally write 7-ish on invitations). I understand promptness being necessary for dinner parties, weddings, etc. (where people are waiting for you to begin) but never would I chide someone, even mentally, for being fashionably late to a shindig.

    • I agree that people should be on time in their professional lives. Work days tend to be more productive when things run smoothly. However, I was also brought up in a pretty laid-back culture and if I threw a dinner party and people showed up on time, they would just end up helping me in the kitchen :) 1-2 hours ‘late’ for a dinner party is pretty normal for me. I also never stress if I’m sitting alone in a restaurant waiting for someone. Different strokes and all that…

  54. Better late than never, as the saying goes… . Would rather that my friends show up late than cancel the appointment at the last minute (I had a friend who would do that 8 out of 10 times).

  55. Hi Greg! I love this post. I sure hope that “some” of my friends get to read this. I hate waiting for people. I think that the time wasted waiting for them can be used for better activities. I had two friends, who were constantly late. I even had to give one of them a wrist watch just so they could stick to our arranged meeting, but still didn’t work. So at one point, I stopped seeing them.

  56. One thing to keep in mind is cultural differences. While in Western culture timeliness is a cultural high priority, in many societies relationships are valued more than timeliness, for instance, throughout Africa. If you see someone while on the way to a party, you don’t just say “I’m late, can’t talk” so that you can be on time. You value this person that you are seeing more than timeliness. So you stop, say hello, and then you inquire about the health and welfare of each of their family members. You do this for each person along the way. In general, people come around 6 hours late to things after the scheduled time. In this culture, if you brush off someone because you are hurrying, that is rude and inconsiderate!!!
    Arabs are the same way, so are Latinos. I’m from the US, not from Australia, so I don’t know how Pacific Islanders or Asians are, but some friends have given me reason to believe Asians are the same way. Many of these cultures have been influenced by business with the west to value timeliness over relationship now. But I think “business over relationship” is a bad prioritization that is destroying families and lives in the western world. In a happiness survey from 2003 which didn’t measure “happiness” with dollar signs (unlike the current UN survey), the top five happiest nations in the world were Nigeria, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Puerto Rico- all “late” nations like I described, where family and relationships are highly valued and prioritized over “business” and “timeliness.”

    • Amen Brian! I have been to many of those countries and the people there show much more love and respect for each other. Even if they are “late and wasting money”.

  57. Thank you so much. I seem to belong to a community in which Im the odd one out because Im early or on time. People look at me strangely when they see that Im the first one there. Its so rare for people to be on time nowadays. They also tell me to cool down, and its very normal to be late.Well, Im a nurse, and I’ll see how happy you will be if I withhold your medication because Im very busy.

  58. I don’t agree with everything you say. The basic reason is not that people are too busy OR that they don’t value your time. You’re taking the whole thing as a personal affront, when its nothing to do with that.

    Its just that for most of us, life is not worth living if everything is on a deadline – and while most people are prepared to put up that effort for business meetings or situations where its a stranger etc. – when it comes to social events, obviously you want to be more relaxed. And honestly, it sounds like you’re out of touch with the unspoken time rules among your friends. Which is why, e.g. the couple at the restaurant didn’t bother apologising – they honestly thought you would take the 8 pm as a rough approximation rather than a deadline, just as they did.

    Also, about the ‘running-late’ sms. I don’t know how it is in your circle, but in our circle, when we fix a time, we use sms to inform each other before we leave our house etc. SO the running-late sms is to actually warn the other person not to start out too early and be kept waiting. And most of the time, it works just fine that way.

  59. Well, Mr Savage.

    The view from the other side. I am never intentionally or fashionably late. My biggest chronic fault is that I usually try to get too much done before the set meeting time, which does not include doddling in coffee shops on the way.

    And I would like to add that the meetings I am ususally late for are often at times that are not set by me but by other people for the optimum convenience of those people. The times are often not really convenient for me at all, but instead of not showing up at all, I will usually rush and at least make the effort to turn up, which I assume is better than not showing up at all.

    Oh, and I love bacon sandwiches.

    • Thank you Selsdon for that! I am perpetually late to things I know are important, that I care deeply about, and I really do feel horrible every single time I am late, and I know that people see me every single time as a disorganized unreliable person because of it. But I am not. In every other aspect of my life and work, and I am a stand-up, dependable, responsible, accountable person. I just can’t prove it when I arrive late. I have been coming to terms with the reasons behind my habit, and it’s not because of rudeness or self-obsessed behavior. I’m still learning why, so bear with me as I attempt to explain it to myself as well. I have a deficit in my ability to prioritize my actions and behavior during my planning process. I have every best intention in the world of being a nicely punctual normal person, but somewhere along the way, I lose something in my brain that makes me move it along to get there. I can be the most reliable person in the room, but being on time is such a difficulty for mow can I stop? I know all the “tricks” to being punctual, like setting your alarm or watch ahead, or plan extra time in your schedule for late-inducing setbacks or whatnot, but my brain knows about them and sabotages me! I need so desperately to break out of it, my profession depends on it. But do I get my brain to accept it? So the next time you write a scathing piece like this, please consider hapless people like me who really really want to and do try and are crushed every single time it happens, seeing one by one, every opportunity fly by because of it, trying really hard to fix it, but is taking a while to get on the same level as you normal people.

      • Thank you for posting that, Sabrina! I was starting to think i am alone in this! :)
        Listen, while i agree with a lot of what the guy says, the flip side of it is that i also dont think it’s fair to lump all chronic late-comers as “lazy and rude”, for some people it’s a mild form of ADHD or OCD, they aren’t doing it on purpose. People are flawed but some are truly taking steps and working on themselves to fix this, The world isn’t so black and white, and this blogger should take up yoga or something to relieve all this pent up frustration he has. I mean, flipping out because his dentist of 15 years made him wait? Doctors ALWAYS make you wait forever, it’s par-de course with them, i dont even notice it anymore, that’s why they got magazines in the waiting area, just open one up and enjoy some quiet time People strolling in late to business meetings, now that’s another story. But i do feel technology has alleviated a lot of the frustration with waiting for ppl, one can just take out their smartphone and catch up on their email, etc while they wait. That’s what made people get less and less apologetic these days, i think. But it is a problem and believe it or not, there are those out there that recognize it and try to work on it….

    • That just means that you think your list of important things is more important than the other person or their list. It isn’t. It’s still selfish and self-centered.

  60. You whine like a teen age girl. You sound like you didn’t get the toy you wanted for frikkin’ Christmas. Get over it.

    Judging some women you don’t even know for showing up at a party after it’s had a chance to get into full swing takes the cake. Everybody does that.

    Slow down. Be here now and enjoy the moment. Bring a book. Respond to messages when you have to wait. Embrace the present moment. Let it go. You’re probably missing opportunities by stewing that someone is treating poor you so badly, wah wah, I’m a victim of disrespectful people!!!

    Too funny.

    • Yes I acknowledge the PeoPle here talking about punctuality or time being a cultural thing so have they ever heard about when in Rome? How silly to sat that in Mexico they consider it rude to be on time so therefore I can be late in a western country! Oh and yeah so Mexico is a much better society than anywhere that runs on time! Well maybe for you cos you are always late so go live there. I have friends who tell me I am too uptight. Ecause I am always on time and I also plan ahead for events and hOlidays whilst they just go with the flow. What they. Ever acknowledge is that the flow has always been created by my planning so that everything does flow. That’s how these non planners and tardy people are actually able to survive in this world because if we were all like them it would be a shambles! I am not uptight. I am actually relaxed and serene because I am organised and not rushing around accOmisjing nothing and stressing out being late etc. I have to be organised and on time in my job because people’s lives depend on it. Tardy people expect others to be there and in a timely manner when they have a crisis which I have noticed is fairly often with them. I know there are different people in this world but tardy people seem to think it is their right to be late and think organised people are in the wrong when they get upset! For me it is not about the time. It more about your word. I have a friend who is late for everything do I just don’t make plans with her. She asks what I am doing and I tell her say when the movie starts. I get there at the time I want and go inside and sit down she either arrives before lights out or not. I will often come our after and we meet in the foyer. She says shd arrIved late and couldn’t find me in the dark. This isnot my preferred way of going to the movies and I know she doesn’t like sitting by herself but neither of us will change for the other. I certainly don’t think it is a good idea for me to change a d mss the start of all the
      Movies I go to see! The problem for me is that all my friends are like this so it is easy for them to point me out as the one with the problem! I mean I have left my friend wandering in a daze around a market so that at least I would not be late for our plane! I left her because she just disappeared and knew that if I wasted time looking for her that we would miss the Plane so I left because I was sick of her. Of not caring about time and always leaving it up to me go be the reminder like as if she was a child. Whenever I remind my friends about the time and how we should move along they tease me about being rigid but I know if I don’t that we will miss things because of their tardiness. I am now giving up on them and organising myself because I am simPly tired of being their social secretary with no thanks. I organise accommOdagion and travel etc when we go to big events but never get thanks just joked about. There is an event they all want to go to that is in a small town soon I have booked my accommodation but they have not because they can’t be bothered . I have heard the accommodation is all gone because this event is huge. Guess who will be expecting to stay in my room? They want it all without lifting a finger! The biggest beef I have is that. One of these People has a full time job!!!!!!!!! And yet that ate always too bdh go be organised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Pingback: 2011 article, but always relevant – thanks Roy for the reminder! « THE CURATED BLACK BOOK

  62. Well, my point is good and ok to be late sometimes. Very simple, people will have urgent matters if they are late and that’s fine with me but if it’s a pattern and it come on late frequently, then it’s a NO NO to me. I would not think twice to disregard him/her regardless how good him/her is.

    Thank you.

    Wan Azhareezal Wan Aziz

  63. GREAT POST. I am sharing these more than once because this should be CURBED – EVERYWHERE!

  64. Utterly true. Cannot agree more.

  65. Hi Greg,
    Being late is plain and simple, unacceptable!
    I wrote this piece here, I hope you like it:
    All the best from Barcelona, Spain
    Jeff Robinson

  66. Pingback: “I am talking about people who are routinely late.” « dehnail

  67. I appreciate this site & all the comments. Having dealt for years with an extreme serial latecomer, (ie. add 2 hours, usually), who often doesn’t show up at all, I’m getting ready to sever all ties with him. I checked out this site today when he said he’d show up at 3:00 pm, failed to show up by 5:00, & after I phoned, reassured me he’d be here at 6:30. I think he figures I should be treated so poorly because I have disabilities & can’t work all week like he does. But in his heart, he knows he’s an a**hole. He said he’s bringing some cat litter. I’ve been looking after his cat since 2006. The cat has only a tiny bit of litter left to do his business in today.
    I know I’m being taken advantage of by this person, but now, thanks to all these comments, I’m getting an idea of how to defend myself & change the situation for the better.
    Thank you all! :3~

  68. Whilst I have on the rare occasion been late for a meeting (it happens) I’m usually prompt. I give others 10 minutes grace, then I leave. I’m not paid to sit in meeting rooms twiddling my thumbs, nor have I the time or the inclination to wait on other people. Great rant!

  69. Yes, Greg – I totally agree. I’ve had (former) friends who were invited to dinner at 7pm turn up at 8.55pm (because they had to play sport), sat down to dinner at 9pm and were out the door by 9.45pm because they “needed” to meet friends at a nightclub. I’ve had a bank manager have me wait until 2.35pm for a 2pm meeting (and then just wasn’t interested in the fact the I wanted to take out a fairly sizable loan, but couldn’t believe it when I left without even starting an application). There is only one word for that kind of thing: RUDE. I always aim to be at an appointment on time (hairdresser, doctor, banks, etc), because I know their time is money, so I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the same from others.

  70. Pingback: Something I have to share. « Alchemy

  71. I agree wholeheartedly! I have a friend who is habitually late, and thinks it’s simply an endearing little quirk of her personality. It’s not – it’s rude and inconsiderate. It’s got to a point where, if I wanted her to meet me somewhere at 8pm, I’d have to tell her to be there at 7pm. And she finds this hilarious!

    Sure, I’ve been late on occasion, but I always plan to be early. As some wise person once said, ‘If you’re on time, you’re already late.’

  72. I’ve been late on occasion, but i normally ring well and truly in advance to let them know – normally it’s for my fitness trainer. Ouch, he gets revenge. LOL

    In business, it does impact upon who I choose to do business with. If they’re late for meetings chances are they will be late and slow on delivery are high. Self centred need not apply. If you’re a supplier of mine, and you do this to me, forget it buddy. Game is over.

    My husband and I joined a group of friends for our regular social group dinner. Booking was at 7pm and we got there first, 15 minutes early, and that was with a 90 minute drive to get there initially. The other couples strolled in over the course of the next 45 minutes. The latest couple to arrive? Those who lived closest. I couldn’t help but bring it to the attention of the group. Funnily enough, we dropped out of this group soon there after.

    And not just the lateness factor that bothers me. It’s though who have agreed or even made bookings, and just simply forget to attend.

    Or the another annoying lateness by-product: those who are rushing to get everywhere, and get served first or driving like idiots in the traffic to get to the lights before you, or push passed you in their rush without even acknowledging your presence. Ill-manned, disorganised, angry and inconsiderate. YOU have no place in my business or world. In my world of business, I am the Queen and I set my own rules.

    Yeah, I’ve been called tough and hard, but I don’t have time to waste on ‘waiting’ on the late-coming others.

  73. Oh I love this! I have parents who are early for everything and I’ve carried the habit too. I the thought of being late. It fills me with anxiety. Even now I’ve had kids I try not to be late. I just get more organised.

  74. A common problem is that meeting #1 goes from 9-10 (and often runs over time), meeting #2 starts at 10 somewhere else. We don’t have instant transporters yet..

    Time manners also applies to the meeting organisers who have to recognise that it is poor time management for meetings to run overtime, and recognise it takes a finite amount of time for people to get from A to B.

    Ideally a one-hour 9am meeting should start on time at 9, have the agenda covered by 9:30-9:40 for discussion, start to wrap up at 9:50 so people can leave with 5 minutes spare to get to their next meeting on time.

    Organisers need to set the same example they expect of attendees..

  75. Excellent article and very true

  76. I agree…. Inevitably occasionally things do go wrong, but serial offenders suck… I like this part:

    “Me? Am I ever late? Sure, sometimes. That’s inevitable even with the best intentions. But I never plan to be late. I never ‘let time slide’ because my stuff is more important than yours.”

    And the dinner party thing drives me nuts because I plan the meal timing around when you’re supposed to be there!!!!! Grrrrrr.

    Great post :)

  77. At the risk of causing a riot and being run out of town let me confess that I’ve been described as “Marching to the beat of my own drum”…..and as such am ALWAYS …….no ALMOST ALWAYS LATE….!!!!….I am a medical doctor by profession, a specialist who is self employed…..I cannot remember when last I was on time…..oh yes…last week I arrived 25 minutes early for an interview, which meant that I had to wake up about 3 hours earlier than usual. The respondents to this site appear to represent a heavily biased sample (cohort)……..where are all the late offenders…..have they simply been intimidated by all you punctual folk …who have nothing better to do with your time,,,,than to be on time…..Possibly there is a genetic and or familial factor,environmental factor or simply learned behaviour …….my father was always late….so perhaps i inherited my behaviour from him….,.always have to blame somebody …or something…..I also have ADHD and OCD……so perhaps it’s multifactorial…..and they can all share part of the blame………My friends joke that if I’m 2 hours late …I’m on time…..if I’m 1 hour late I’m “early”……..So YOU think I have a “CHARECTER FLAW “….DO YOU…..SO I HAVE A CHARECTER FLAW…..IT’S NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO HAVE A CHARECTER FLAW….WE ALL HAVE THE OCCASIONAL FLAW……though apparently a certain judge in Toronto thought it was against the law to be late and dismissed some very serious (I believe gun related charges of a defendent because he was upset that the Crown Prosecutor arrived some 45 second late in his courtroom. I agree with an earlier respondent who said an arranged time should be considered an approximate time around which people should plan their lives……our lives are after all rigid enough……..time is after all something arbitrary ….and fleeting……People don’t really complain too much when Barrack Obama, the POPE,or Queen ELIZABETH II arrive late for an appearence…….Anyway punctuality seems to be somewhat cultural……In more laid back cultures like Mexico……if not enough people show up for a company meeting…..they simply cancel the meeting….and defer it to a later date,hoping that most people will show up at the rescheduled time……i might be late….but those that know me well….know that i am very reliable…..and will eventually always show up ……the irony is when it looks liken i will be on time ….i somehow find additional tasks to complete…..thus sabotaging my almost being punctual.Furthermore even when being late is SOMEBODY ELSE’S FAULT (NOT VERY OFTEN ….i might add….)…..I AM the one who is ultimately forced to shoulder the blame…..and nobody believes that I was actually on time……so you see…with my reputation….there really is no point in even trying to be on time……….You know the expression from the French REVOLUTION……….”Man is been free…..and everywhere in chains……Time… one of those chains….which is why as a kid i would take off my watch at the beginning of every vacation and refuse to where it until school resumed…….Anyway I’m sure you’re not going to criticize the brain surgeon for finishing what was supposed to be an 18 hour operation ..,.3 hours later due to unforseen circumstances……so why is it not acceptable for us all to be late due to “unforseen circumstaces”……i fail to see why people who are punctual are seen as being virtuous, while people who are late villified..I don’t believe people who are punctual have to make sone an effort to be punctual….it simply comes naturally to them…..just as people who are late are not intentionally late…’s just how they are…’s just that society values certain charecteristics like punctuality and humility and villifies lateness and narcicism….both all of which are ingrained unintended behaviours…..which are not specifically intentrional…..and therefore do not necessarily deserve either praise nor criticism………where does it say it is a SIN to be late……”in the bible….”…????……..and at the risk of sounding blasphemous (not my intention)…..look how “rude and inconsiderate” the Messiah must be in being so late……….and BTW……. if being late is so unacceptable…….how did it become acceptable to arrive “fashionably late”…….though i admit i usually arrive beyond fashionably late….lol…..BUT …then i always remember what my friend Jon used to say…..”BETTER LATE THAN PREGNANT”……HEHE……..Remember in our relationships we should try to avoid repeatedly getting angry if someone behaves in a way that we expect……so if we know that someone is almost always late it’s futile to waste energy on being angry if this is what we have come to expext……One event I’m almost on time for is the opera…….An ironical anecdote…….I arrived at a wedding prior to the time on the invitation …..but missed the bride walking down the isle… the retinue decided to walk don the isle some 5 minutes earlier than the time written on the invitation*(i promise it’s a true story………Finally I think I will follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth Taylor who arrived 5 minutes late for her funeral… I will plan to arrive 8 minutes late for my funeral … did she arrange to be 5 minutes late for her funeral…..She had left instructions in her will that her her funeral service should begin 5 minutes before the arrival of her casket at the funeral home……..So…..all’s well that ends well……even it ends up by being late…..!!!!!!!!………So there’s a somewhat different take on what most of you think………lol…………

    • For a professional, you sure take everything personal! Why don’t you take a step back and realize that people have a right to voice their opinion. Also, why do you think it is okay for you to be 1 hour late and be considered “on time”? Have you thought about the people you are making wait? If you really are a Dr. I would hate to be your patient. You give a bad rap for the medical field by not having empathy and consideration for your patients if you are making them wait for that long. Yes everyone has faults and it is important for people to be aware of those faults. Have you ever thought that maybe your friends or family teased you about being late but are actually quite bothered by it? Probably not, you seem the type to never think what you do is wrong.

      My roommate and I were going to a party and she said she would be ready by 8. So, I made sure I was ready by 8 because I know that I take awhile to get ready and didn’t want to make her wait. We didn’t leave until 9:15. She made me wait around for her for an hour and 15 minutes. She took a nap until 7:30 and then she went to the store. At first I waited patiently and then I decided to ask her how long she would be after an hour of waiting. She responsed by yelling at me to calm down and be patient, that I was ruining her night!! Can you believe that? All I asked was how much longer. Nothing is wrong with being late, which is what the author of the post is saying. What is wrong is when people do not have the decency to communicate with you that they are going to be late or worse they even turn it around on you when they are in the wrong.

      This post is about common decency and that is all. Here is a thought for you..what if the employees you work with didn’t show you respect for being a Dr.? How would that make you feel? Well, not having the decency to apologize or communicate when making someone wait is also disrespectful to the people you are making wait. You are disrespecting their time and them by basically saying that they aren’t worthy enough for you to consider them.

    • Oh Dr. where do I start….Im concerned that you feel your lateness is genetic. As a medical professional you know that not possible. I will be an RN in may 2014. School is difficult, high pressure and timely. Im assuming you are a real educated M.D. With that said, if you were tardy in medical school like you say you are now, you would have been tossed out on your tail. I couldn’t bare to read your ENTIRE post. Maybe you should put your computer down and get to work on time. I could assure you, I would never be a patient of yours. Is your time really more important than mine? Pull yourself together! Your coworker are making fun of you trying to get your attention and its simply blowing right over your heard.

    • I take offense at the phrase “better late that pregnant” my wife couldn’t have children. That is an offensive remark.

    • I’m so glad you’re not my doctor.

  78. I also hold restaurants to their reservations. If they make me book a specific time and only give me a few minutes of leeway, then I expect to be seated when I arrive. I will give them some wiggle room of 10 minutes or so, but if I have a reservation for 8, I better be seated by 8:10. What’s the purpose of making a reservation if you have to just site there waiting for 40 minutes?

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  80. I have waited for a certain friend for an hour or two on several occasions, I am always on time. I tell her exactly what time well be meeting etc. and still she comes an hour late an I’m waiting like a clown. If I’m five minutes late, which is rare she gets mad at me, like I have nothing better to do then wait on her! She always gives out to me saying I should text her when I leave and when she Gould leave, I think if you arrange to meet someone you have to be responsible enough to leave on time. I think it’s incredibly insincere to stand people up or make them wait for over 10 minutes

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  83. I have a friend who habitually shows up about 15-20 minutes late for most anything we get together to do. I’ve always chalked it up to a “trait” , after all “no one’s perfect”, etc. It was not until we started including a third person in some of our outings that I noticed suddenly and mysteriously she was always on time or even a few minutes early when this person was coming. I came to the rude awakening that she was not late for everyone–just ME. She made the extra effort to be on time for this other person–not for me. It was telling as to the degree of respect she had (or didn’t have) for me versus the other friend.

    Still another “friend” would schedule coffee dates and two out of three times would not show up at all. I’d call her and she’d scurry over as an “afterthought” after I’d had my second cup of coffee while waiting for her. I let this occur several times. We’ve drifted apart and every time I think of calling her to get together again, I hesitate because of her numerous no-shows–not because I can’t forgive her for making a mistake in not showing–but because those no-shows tell me a lot about how little she valued my friendship–or me–for that matter.

  84. I am so glad to see this post. It is one of my pet peeves. I had asked someone to meet me for coffee to discuss a business venture and received a voice mail that her trainer had kept her too long and could we move it up 1/2 hour. I was already at the agreed upon site and on time. Apparently her fitness session was more important than my business proposition. I won’t be using her.

    Another pet peeve is webinars that start late. “we’ll be starting in a few minutes to let some more people come on.” ????? I often post a chat “please don’t punish the punctual” and hope for the best. But this is a common practice. Those who are on time deserve their time not be wasted waiting for latecomers. Soon movies, plays and TV shows will start late, too? Our society is teaching people it’s ok to be late – and actually beneficial at times.

  85. I am CONSTANTLY late for lessons in college. Do I plan to be late? No. Do I want to be late? No! But I’m late every morning by about 5 – 15 minutes. It wastes other peoples time, it makes the teacher annoyed, it disrupts the class. It’s rude, and wrong…

    …But for everything I’ve tried to do, I can’t seem to stop being late. It’s driving me crazy, I’ve been on the verge of tears because I’ve been so peeved at myself for being incapable of being able to keep time. I cycle 8 miles into college everyday and then have to get changed and find somewhere to put my bike when I get here, which takes about 8 minutes. Yet I’m still late, despite seemingly leaving earlier everyday to try and not be late. I’ve tried setting watches ahead of time and all sorts. I’m either either late, or about 15 minutes early. Sure the latter is better, but being 2 – 3 minutes early would be better.

    How do I change this?

    • I saw this great TEDtalk about procrastination. They believe by thinking through and breaking up the process we are less likely to procrastinate and get things done. May be by breaking up the process of what you have to do to get ready and alotting the time it takes for each task, setting a time goal for each task eg. shower by 7.30am; change by 7.45; breakfast by 8.15, etc. I use to have races with myself to see how fast I could get these done and I won I would give myself a reward like an espresso coffee when I got to college or work early. Hope that works for you.

  86. I am a marriage celebrant in Australia… guess what I deal with every week? Late brides! It’s almost a pre-requisite for them to be late. Many (justifiably) seem to think they’re SUPPOSED to be late. One bride said to me she wanted a 4pm ceremony but she wouldn’t arrive until 4.30 so “late-comers won’t miss the ceremony”.

    After a few experiences arriving up to an hour late (in one case, even the guests didn’t start arriving until 15 minutes after the ceremony was due to start!), I now have strategies in place.

    During our interview process I let them know that 5 minutes is fashionable, but anything more than that is unfair on guests who are waiting in the sun for the bride to arrive. The difference in the mood of the guests is incredible. Keep them waiting too long and they get cranky. Kids start to wriggle and whine, and people wander off to the bar for a quick bevvy before the ceremony. It’s like herding cats getting them back to their seats. It’s as you say Greg – it comes down to respect and manners to arrive on time. Or, on-time-ish, in the case of a bride.

    I really don’t mind the bride arriving a little late – that 5 minutes gives the guests a chance to get excited – “She’ll be here soon!” But it’s because of the hour-late brides that I now have a “late fee” built into my contract. The couple know that I will bill them $50 for every 15 minutes the bride is late. Since introducing this fee I’ve never had a bride later than 15 minutes. The guests at my ceremonies are always happy, as are the couples who are surrounded by smiling faces! Win win!

  87. You are right. This article really cut close to the bone, but thank you. I’m always late, for everything. I’ve just gotten used to the fact that if i genuinely apologize and am contrite that it some how reduces the irritation of those who are waiting like my long-suffering family, my ever-patient friends and numerous employers. Now i truly realize just exactly how much they lose because of me and how damn lucky I’ve been, so far, to avoid confrontations, reprimands or even disciplinary action. Consider me chastised and enlightened.

    Thank you!

  88. Hi
    I’m glad someone has spoken out. What peevs me is although late some people can find time to make a coffee whilst the on timers resent the late. can I add one thing else…People who come to meetings without pen or paper…Why I can only guess its hard to hold their coffee and stationary? Have an amazing memory or just coming for the ride?? I sometimes give out pen and paper to the ones I task just like in kindergarten…Any thoughts

  89. … the problem I believe lies; in the ‘me’ culture; or even the ‘brand me’ is mistaken for I am more important than the sum of the whole community; where ‘commitment’ is a dirty word, that being on time is seen as uncool. If we have the attitude that being late is really ‘stealing’ or ‘theft’ of other peoples time then perception may change.

  90. Where I came from (the military) we did not tolerate lateness. At the meeting start time the door was closed, so anyone late had to come through the door. When they did, they got a standing ovation – just embarrassing them beyond belief. They were not late again!

  91. “often these ‘latecomers’ are people who have requested the meeting in the first place, are asking for your help, or are selling something.”

    I agree with the first part .. but not necessarily with the latter. Since the meeting was requested by a representative from Oriflame (in Macedonia) but I was the salesperson in this case, and traveled an hour to be on time for the meeting only to wait 45 minutes and the lady who I had the meeting with comes in running to only tell me that she can’t take the meeting because she had ‘another more important’ meeting. That day we wasted about 5 hours of our time and I, as a big fan from the Oriflame brand, was greatly disappointed.

    If you set a time for a meeting than be there – otherwise why bother setting it?

  92. There is no excuse for being late unless of an emergency. If one is going to be late call and let the other person know. Its just common decency, or cancel the appointment ahead of time if possible. I’m never late unless its a traffic problem.I make sure I leave on time.
    As for the medical profession I’m not sure what gives them the right to keep you waiting hours after you arrive especially when I call to ask if the Doctor is on time half an hour before the appointment.
    They have all the nurses in the main office, get them to call and say they are running late.
    I too run my own business and have numerous appointments to take my mom of 90 , so you have hit on a sore point:) Its rude to keep us waiting!

  93. I just had my worst date experience just now. I’m spoilt because I’m used to being flown out of the country for weekend dates, or have a man arrange something “customised” for both of us. So, knowing that I’m spoilt, I give guys a lot of breathing room because I don’t want to disregard somebody who is genuinely good but who isn’t very sophisticated. Basically, I have been on three dates with this one guy. He’s socially awkward, and has a bit of hyperactivity, due to a genetic condition which does not impact on his intellect whatsoever. So, I ignore the physical issues and pay attention to his inner person. When I’m talking to him, he seems sensitive and kind. Between dates, there is no contact. He is a bit Asperger’s so is focused on work, very rigid about certain things, so I know that at the end of the work week he is looking forward to contacting me, and so I planned a romantic surprise for him. I dressed up in a nice outfit that I knew he would admire (not too conservative, not too tarty); had my nails done; wore his favourite accessories; ordered a nice meal for him in my favourite bistro, and waited. All of this I planned and arranged a week in advance of this evening. When he called me, I had just finished my meal, and was sipping a glass of red wine and enjoying my dessert. He was right on time. The plan was for him to show up and, ta-da, there’s supper. I knew it would put a smile on his face. I told him where I was, and as I predicted, he offered to show up there. He lives three minutes away by car, so when 20 minutes pass and I don’t see him, I was taken aback, and so was the chef. After 30 minutes, I paid bill and called a cab. Forty-five minutes later, I was in a taxi. He didn’t show up until 10 minutes after I got home, so he was 50 minutes late. Oh, and guess what, when he showed up at the restaurant and I wasn’t there, he didn’t phone me to find out where I was. He just sat there and ate his gourmet meal, which I paid for! You’re welcome you, idiot. I was even more surprised when the hostess called me to apologise for his inconsiderate behaviour and to tell him off while I could hear her, because he only said, “sorry.” To her! All the while gorging on the delicious supper I had arranged for him. I told her, in a rage, that some men can never appreciate a good woman because they’re too busy feeling up titties and are so stupid, unsophisicated, immature and insecure that they don’t know when someone genuinely likes them and wants to accept them as they are. It’s been two hours and he’s still enjoying his free dinner. Dummy.

    • Sasha….I agree with you that he shouldn’t be late. But to put him down for eating the meal is silly. You arrogantly told the world about his medical condition which is a violation of his privacy. What makes you think you are better? It appears that you are taking advantage of an individual who is special needs and earns a nice living only to spend it on someone who describes themselves as “SPOILED”. Frankly, you sound extremely uneducated and only look to educated individuals to fulfill your “flying out of the country” desires. Just a thought; why are you so angry? Is he not giving in to your every need? Why do you pry on the weak? You are the idiot!!!!

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  95. I’m on time 99.9% of the time, and early for most of that. It’s a character flaw I have.

    I don’t tolerate lateness in either my private or professional life. In my private life, people get one, maybe two chances with me. I will usually give someone a break if I know their excuse is valid. However, if someone is repeatedly late because they can’t manage their time or their life and just don’t take me seriously, they don’t get further invitations from me. I won’t even mention the people who don’t understand what an RSVP is, but that’s for another thread.

    I once dated a guy for over a year who was repeatedly late for everything. He had no excuse, and to my knowledge really just wasn’t a good manager of his time. This was in the days before personal computers and cell phones, so he had limited distractions other than a TV, telephone, and a cranky older brother he lived with. I finally got smart and realized that if I wanted him to pick me up for our date say, at 7:00 pm, to tell him to be at my house at 6:00 pm. That way, he’d be reasonably on time. Up until then, waiting for him was painful. When we finally broke up, I was actually relieved.

    In the professional realm, I’m a trainer. When my class starts at 9:00 sharp, I mean 9:00 SHARP! Not 9:15, not 9:20, and lord help you if you walk in later, because I’ll ignore you and your questions the entire time.

    I think society has become pretty numb to most basic etiquette rules, which is sad, because that means it’s become more and more acceptable to forget basic manners.

  96. I love the adhd, 5 kids, chronic insomnia comments because what they really say is “its ok for me because i have an excuse for my behavior”, but heres the thing, if you know these things about yourselves, prepare accordingly. Your problems are unfortunate, but they are YOUR problems. Dont allow them to become everyone else’s as well.

    • It’s true that ADD people are responsible for their behavior. It’s also true that if you don’t have ADD you have no idea how hard reigning it in can be. Perhaps you’d benefit from some compassion.

      I’ve been frequently late in my life, even when I’m extremely motivated to be on time. Even when I set three alarms. Even when I allot ample time for the commute. Even when I know being late, again, will cause deep anguish and guilt.

      If you people think I choose this behavior, you are completely ignorant. For some, perhaps exactly what was written is true: tardiness is a sign of disrespect and rudeness. For those who seem to sincerely regret, yet habitually repeat the same ”stupid” mistakes with time…maybe it’s literally a disorder in their brain. Those ignorant on ADD (most people here) would do well to learn that it’s a poorly named disorder. It’s not attention specifically but executive function that is disordered, chiefly the ability to persist in behavior over time. No amount of knowing something makes doing it easier. Do some research, have some compassion.

  97. I also really appreciate this article. Although I am sometimes late, I never plan to be late, and I *hate* it when I’m late. And when I *am* late, I am very apologetic and never stroll in.

    I recently had a meeting at work that was supposed to start at 8am, due to that week being packed with meetings. I had to get there at 7:30, to make sure that I got there on time, and could check my email/notes for the meeting/etc. At 8am, I was at the meeting location. at 8:20, I was wandering around looking for people, as only one other coworker was there. At 8:30, someone from another department finally strolled in and told us that nobody else was there because they all knew the meeting would start at 8:45, at the earliest. I was steamingly furious and talked to my boss, who went & talked to the other bosses about how amazingly rude and unprofessional that was. And this is at a very large company in NYC. You’d think people would know better!

    At any rate, I’m very tempted to print this article out and leave it somewhere prominent at work. Thank you for the great article.

  98. There’s a limit, folks. Running late isn’t necessarily a character flaw — it’s life. What if the person you were meeting had to stop to help a person in danger? Yes, people should honor their commitments. Yes, people should show respect for each others’ time. But if you’ve reached the point where you take personal offense at the realities of life, where you have ceased to tolerate your neighbors’ flaws, and where you start to accumulate resentment, I say you are taking an extreme position. I’ll admit that there are some people who fall too far on the other extreme, who are blase with other’s time and need to be educated about the effect of their behavior — but don’t forget; we live in the natural world (though we try hard to forget it): Rabbits and trees and the sun operate on their own schedule and adjust accordingly. Parties don’t always start on time; they are subject to the unpredictable whims of human beings with free choice. Anyway, we live in an age of smartphones and tablets and mp3s and there’s always plenty going on inside your own head; if you find yourself cooling your heels for a while, there are always productive/amusing things for you to do. And author, pace yourself on the Grigio, lest you find yourself reading somebody else’s post about how early dinner guests polish off all the booze.

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  100. Let me get this straight… 10 of you waited around for 20 minutes for one more person to arrive before you could start your meeting? I’d say there is something wrong with the 10 of you.

    • Exactly.
      The meeting should start on time no-matter how many are there. Doing anything else reinforces the bad behaviour, since it punishes the people who arrive on time and rewards the ones who arrive late.
      The effect is then to make the prompt people be tardy next time, since they now know that the meeting starts late. The exact opposite of what you want to achieve.
      So, start on time, and, ideally allocate work to latecomers before they arrive!

    • I was taught that you never wait for people running late before starting a meeting. Always start it on time. Otherwise, you’re telling the people who turned up on time that they’re less important than the ones you’re waiting for!

  101. I couldn’t agree more, I never understood why people ask you to make appointments then expect you wait up to thirty minutes just to see them..

  102. Agree Greg. That is simply the truth. The other side of the coin is to be a person who can look that relative, friend or colleague in the eye and convince them to change it. After that dont ever be a hypocrite ; )
    A handy practice that helps everyone is to get that one hour meeting down to 45 mins and end early.

  103. You’re asking for it if you put a meeting at 9am.

  104. “And certainly I consider serial lateness a character flaw which I take into account when working out who to promote, who to hire and who to count amongst my real friends.”

    – A lot of times these people are working well beyond the time when you went home (which happens to be perfectly on time), so they don’t give a sh*t about being on time in the morning. It’s all about putting in the time, not fitting the timeframe.
    However I feel like this part is only about being on time to work everyday. I agree with meetings and other occasions to be on time to.

  105. I am rarely on time and if I am it is only by accident. It’s not that I am self absorbed or rude – I’m busy. Usually the meetings I attend are with people wanting my help and I am usually running late because someone else has kept me waiting.

    I set out with good intentions. If I have a meeting I allow time for travel but as I leave the office the phone rings or someone arrives with a ‘can you just..?’ request.

    I also travel everywhere by public transport. Especially during the Winter months this often lets me down. I go for the earlier bus/train only for several arrive together late.

    So I am not rude or selfish, I’m busy. However, I do inform people when making meetings to not expect me on time and I will update them if I will be more than ten minutes late.

    • I face this dilemma myself. My occupation involves supporting critical business functions (computers), so I have a lot of emergencies. Plus, I am often working on stuff that actually is both important and urgent, so a meeting feels like an unwanted interruption.

      I used to be late all the time, until I realized how rude I was being. Not just “busy” — rude.

      Now, like you, I inform people when making appointments about the challenges of my job and the fact that I might get pulled into an emergency I cannot put off. BUT…

      …I also stop the fake emergencies. When somebody tries to grab me on the way out the door to “look at something” I tell them I am on my way to an appointment and will call them when I’m done (unless of course it is a real emergency and they absolutely cannot wait and still be productive).

      Know what? Now I am making meetings on time as the norm and late when it is an actual emergency.

      As far as public transit goes, it is no different than driving a car. You know what to expect so allow for the standard commute. Maybe that means you grab some work to take with you and catch an earlier ride.

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  107. Love. This. My boss is chronically late. Partially because he loves the drama that rushing and angering people creates and partially because it makes him feel important to be SO BUSY that he “had something urgent come up.”

    • Find a new job 😉 Unless you like working for an idiot boss.

  108. Thank you. The serial lateness of a person with the ‘my time is more valuable than yours’ mindset is one the most frustrating and insulting things in the world. Five minutes early is on time, ten minutes early is five minutes early and fifteen minutes early is ten minutes early. It’s even more insulting when it isn’t acknowledged or apologized for.

  109. Have been having this realization lately — that people who are late, or waste my time (making goofy chit-chat during staff meetings, chasing me down when I’m clearly in a hurry to get somewhere/already doing something and talking talking talking, coming to rehearsals or lessons unprepared), are actually stealing MY time — not theirs, MINE. And I’m almost 50, and want to make the most of the time I have, and have NOT given this other person permission to waste mine (they can waste theirs all they want to, of course), and I’m just not going to put up with it anymore.

    I sent a bill to a doctor once, who had “rescheduled” their appointments for the day without actually contacting me, so I had left work, and picked up my child from school, and driven quite a way to get there, (5 minutes early, of course) and the doctor was “away.” This is a doctor with a if-you-cancel-with-less-than-48-hours-notice-you-pay-$75 policy, so I billed him $75. I didn’t get it, but I also didn’t go back.

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  112. So I guess everything is all about you and the world has to revolve around you? Relax! You need to understand that everyone can’t always be on time… things DO come up. There’s traffic, the doctor has an appointment that runs long… we all have things in our lives that can make us late. In other cultures, being late isn’t only acceptable, it’s expected. Now I understand that in US culture, this is not the case, but I want you to see that there are reasons for lateness that don’t involve selfishness. I don’t think it’s correct to assume that just because someone is late, they don’t care about you or your time.

    • You did not read the article, did you? The author clearly stated that there are times when people are going to be late. Real reasons, like you list (though traffic is often a lame excuse rather than a real reason…if you are well aware of traffic conditions you need to allow for them).

      I suspect you are one of those constantly tardy people, since you are so perturbed by this article. So let me say back to you — the world does not revolve around you!

      Consider this, 5 people are waiting for you. Who is the selfish one, the 5 who expected you to arrive on time as agreed, or you who kept those 5 people waiting?

      You are correct about other cultures. Something you may not have considered is in these same cultures, business and social is viewed differently. You show up for a business meeting on time so that business can happen. Within the social context, everyone has the same expectations so being late is not rude within the right context. But note that the ending time is just as flexible in these structures, and taking off to get somewhere else (or just go home to get some alone time) would be viewed as rude.

  113. Greg,

    While I agree with most of this, I’m not really sure “10 people kept waiting in a meeting for 20 minutes … is actually 20 minutes times 10, which is 200 minutes wasted” is actually how time works…

  114. YES!!!
    I wholeheartedly agree with this entire post.
    Lateness is a generational thing. It has unfortunately become socially acceptable to disregard structured time. And, it drives me bonkers.

    I remember one birthday I gave everyone the time to be at the restaurant and specifically told people a time 15 minutes before the reservation was actually set at. Only one friend had the respect to call me to say she was looking for parking and would be there in 5 minutes. After sitting down at our reserved time, I waited 10 minutes, called my other friend who was plus a couple people and asked her if she was on her way. She said, “oh yea, we just stopped to look at something.” I said, “okay, well can you be here in five minutes?” She said “maybe… Is it okay if I bring more than one person, there are five of us?” I said “fine, but, please be here in five minutes, I feel bad for holding the table if you can’t be here.” The people who were there all agreed we should just go ahead and order… And the remaining people could sit at another table if they ever arrived. Finally, 45 minutes after the scheduled reservation, they saunter in as if it was nothing. My one friend came and said hi to me. And, her friends followed her. One of them had the nerve to say to me “are you here for our birthday celebration?” I’m not one to be rude and start bickering at a gathering, so I said without a smile “yes,” and just turned my back to the stranger and proceeded to finish a conversation with a friend. My friend turned to this stranger and said “actually, this dinner is for her, as it is HER birthday today” (pointing at me) “and SHE made the reservation for 7.00pm, and it is now 7.45pm. Okay?” So grateful that my friend stood up for me without me asking. All the while, my polite, old school English father was sitting there glaring at this rude stranger. He politely said hello when introduced, but he was good enough to be on my side and not engage the rude latecomers in niceties.

    Som the next time I had a dinner at a restaurant, I had to do the unfortunate thing of stating in the invite “if you are going to be more than 10 minutes late, please CALL me. Do not text me 15 minutes after the scheduled time and say you will be there in five minutes. Do not bring a group of friends without running it by me first. If you are going to bring friends I have never met before, please disclose the reason for the gathering. If any of this is too hard to abide by, I understand… But do understand that these are all part simple manners anyone 14 and older need to live by. Thank you.”

  115. I see both sides. I am naturally not a time oriented person who has had to grow a lot over the years to become more aware of time passage. I was often late though because I would get so relationally involved with the person that I was meeting with at the present, that I would be unaware of how quickly time past and be late for my next appointment. (It was a highly relational job.) So it was rude to the person waiting, but very considerate of the person I was with at the time.

    My husband is very on time for everything and can almost always guess the time down to the minute, but can be quite rude when he’s closing something out to go to the next thing. So it can go both ways.

    Also, my daughter is often late for school because neither she nor I are morning people, I have 3 other kids to get ready, and family time in the evening is a high value to us, but it often means later bed times. But her school (without any input from students or parents) decided to start at 8am when plenty of schools around us start at 8:30 or later. I don’t feel as high of a need to be on time for something whose start time was set without a majority input. And though I’m sure this makes teachers cringe, it’s not just about being inconsiderate of the teacher, but having family values that are more important than school values.

    So I guess I am just saying that there are exceptions. But the rule, as Victor Hugo put it, is that “punctuality is a form of kindness.”

    • You think it’s ok to make your kid late to school because the school didn’t consult you about what time you would like it to start? Unbelievable.

  116. There is also something to be said for it being cultural. In some cultures (ie Latin America), it’s actually considered rude to NOT be late. Or, for instance, the church I attend is very large and because they always started service EARLY that meant getting there on time was functionally late…so why not be another ten minutes late??

    Yes, it can be very rude and inconsiderate in some contexts. But in some circles it is simply expected.

    • I agree with Kim that you need to take culture into account. That can be a very ethnocentric view. Just because you think it’s rude and selfish to be late doesn’t mean that that is always the meaning behind lateness. You are right that in many cultures it probably is mostly pride or a lack of consideration for others that affects being late. However, I do many activities within a latin community and know that coming on time would almost be awkward for the host because it’s not expected. Not all cultures communicate directly where starting at 8 means 8:00 and 0 seconds. It almost can feel rude and uncomfortable to show up on time knowing the host meant for you to come 30 minutes or an hour after the time they announced. It’s annoying, and has contributed to my tendency to show up late because I don’t want to feel like I’m imposing, but the reality is that not all cultures are the same and Hispanic culture is a perfect example of how you wouldn’t function very well if you blanketed their entire culture with words of being rude and selfish. You have to understand other perspectives as well. In general though, I do think this is becoming a problem in our generation and young people piggybacking off each other like planning on coming 10 minutes late because they know the other person won’t be there on time…..

  117. This is only true in our Western culture. Try living anywhere else :)

  118. Deep breaths, Greg. I understand this sentiment. Truly I do. I have always been a punctual person. I married a habitually late person. But you sound just a bit overworked on this. 200 minutes wasted? Sending an invoice? Really? Would you send that invoice to your boss? Because in my experience, the higher the office, the later the meeting. Their time IS important, and if one meeting needs to run over in order to solve a material business issue, so be it. Or an accident causes a coworker to be late? Fine. I’m sympathetic to these things because life happens.

    It is concerning that you’re getting so wound up about this that you lack the control (and respect for others) to stop plowing through a bottle of pinot in your anger and intolerance of others. Perhaps it’s not just “they” who have the problem.

  119. i agree kim s. latin american cultures are very loose with time. and its weird for them to show up exactly at the designated time…

    that being said, i think its weird that the original author of this pointless blog post wasted 30 minutes of his/her life writing a 3 page rant about some people running late. he made it a point to say that someone who are 10 minutes late to a meeting of 20 ppl means he wasted 200 total minutes. but all this author did with whatever extra time he had, resulting from his chronic earliness, was write this stupid blog post instead of doing something productive, creative, or something meaningful. maybe the worlds over-acheiver/teacher’s-pet type of people should try to relax and not be so judging of others. kindergarten kids are being shot amd killed. and the author of this blog is mad that someone is 5 minutes late?? nice outlook on life, you will always be unhappy if tiny things upset you. try to be positive instead of negative and see where that gets you.

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  121. Finally someone writes what I have long thought and to which I have reacted firmly. As a military commander and business exec, I have for over 20 years conducted meetings in what many would consider a ruthless manner. Meetings start on time. Once it starts, the door is locked. If you are an attendee and are two minutes late, tough luck. You are still accountable for what goes on. Discipline – an agenda is published. Anyone straying from the agenda on some tangent is verbally warned once. Second time, you are expelled from the meeting. And, you are still accountable for what goes on. You get the message after a while. Zero tolerance for wasting other people’s time. Clearly there are exceptions, but after a while they tend to be RARE exceptions. As my dad used to say, if you are less than 10 minutes early, you’re already late.

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  124. I just want to say thanks for this article. i have suffered from perpetual tardiness all my life. this is the year it ceases. No Excuses. Just make it a priority. I love the picture you give of how 10people at 20minutes. Someone recently told me being late is nothing less than dishonesty & theft. I do not want to be THAT guy any longer

  125. My college hosted an etiquette dinner for the graduating class (and even gave us little take-home cards to help us remember) and the one odd thing about this post is that I’ve been consistently told that you’re never supposed to be quite on time for a dinner party out of politeness. Miss Manners herself gives 8-12 minutes late as the optimal arrival time (–rfkanAzXf6Sq9Z-9Cw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GZr7UOmzGZSG9QSP4YHoCA&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=when%20to%20arrive%20for%20dinner%20party%20miss%20manners&f=false). Granted this is no lengthy delay, and this is the exception that proves the rule, but I thought it important to point out that there is one commonly occurring instance where it’s often considered rude to arrive on time.

  126. I had to break off a friendship due to this same issue of lateness and fuzzy planning. I truly believe this person has no idea how disrespectful lateness is.

  127. Good points, however the value is still misplaced.
    If your time is what is most important, then clearly you will be upset by others actions regarding events that include you.
    Not condoning being late.
    If you value a relationship, you will automatically be early. If you value your job, you will arrive at the meeting on time. If you value your customers, you will make the extra effort. If you value family, you will find yourself being capable of fitting more in and doing less.
    And just because you are a CEO doesn’t mean you get let off the hook. You get paid to have good time management.
    Your values will most likely never match those of people around you. But if you get people with similar values, it makes life easier.

  128. Amen.

    But honouring the set times has left me feeling ridiculous – I’m on time for that cocktail at 7.30, but… everybody else is there at 9.
    Should I stick with truly being on time and waste an hour and a half or be late/”on time”?

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  130. Not everyone who is routinely late “plans” to be late. Not everyone likes to plan their schedule down to the minute, and some people have a genuinely hard time making it to places on time, because they don’t lead such scheduled, routine lives. It’s a difference noted on the Myers-Briggs personality type scale known as Perceivers vs. Judgers. The majority of our world is run by Judging types (schedulers, planners, people who generally prefer predictability over spontaneousness). That doesn’t make your planfulness right., though it’s understandable that you’d be annoyed. Perhaps though some of us think the world could do with a little more spontaneity and a little less rigid timeliness. In short: get over it.

  131. Did you ever consider just having an open conversation with the people in your life about arriving on time vs. late, letting them know what you think/feel, and listening to how they think/feel in return? Might help to alleviate the general judging and frustration bogging down the large majority of the posts above. Remember: you are wholely responsible for your own choices (actions and reactions) in your own life, which has virtually nothing to do with others’ timekeeping practices. You can’t change anyone besides yourself – be assertive (i.e. speak up and ask for what you want), learn to adapt, then let it go.

  132. I have ADD, so yes, time did escape me. It’s something that I struggle to overcome, but it does happen. A significant portion of the population has ADD or ADHD, usually diagnosed.

    And perhaps these people are late because their dog died. Or their girlfriend broke up with them. Or today’s the day some awkward medical thing flared up and it took some time to deal with. (Oh, I will totally skip stopping at the store for tampons just to avoid offending YOU!) There are hundreds of reasons people can be late, and many of them are ones they aren’t going to ‘fess up to, and don’t need to be judged on.

    Really, the argument of “My time is more important than yours, so don’t be late!” is a little petty.

    • Definitely, but what if the friend is late every single time for several hours? It’s been a few, and you start wondering. You send him a text, asking how long it’ll take.

      “Oh, I took a nap. I’ll just eat in a bit and then start getting over there.”

      This takes two more hours.
      Yeahhhh, very irritating.

      Additionally, the ADD excuse everyone’s been making is ludicrous. I have ADHD, and I’m always, without exception, punctual. I might occasionally have trouble keeping track of things, but I care enough to meticulously plan everything. I put an alarm, I have notifications for almost everything on my phone, I look at the clock. Though usually I’m a bit early, which is something I should work on. It’s alright, but sometimes I’d rather not stand outside for 1,5 hours, waiting for others to be on time haha..

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  140. I’m always 5-15 mins late for official things (classes especially) since I’m an agoraphobic and hearing the chattering before class starts gets me into a panic attack… Not that the mean look everyone gives me when I come in late isn’t also bad enough to stop me from concentrating and basically making my presence in the classroom useless.

  141. I’m totally guilty of this *holds head down in shame* I wish I could be better @ time keeping, but I’m always bloody late for almost everything. My New Years resolution is to be on time always, but so far I’ve failed and were already in march. I never go out of my way to arrive later – Need to get more disciplined!!

  142. Wow, good to know that I am not the only frustrated punctual person in the world though it can sometimes feel like it. Saying that, I now make sure I always have something to do when I am on time therefor my time is not wasted when the other person isn’t. I can catch up on emails, articles and books and not spend the time fuming over the other persons apparent disregard for my time.

  143. Serious, man?? I though only in Brazil we had such time issues! I mean it, it is taken for GRANTED there HAS TO BE a delay in ANY schedule. Of course I fight it out of sheer revolt with this caveman behavior. I had quit any physician that has grown the habit of delaying me, I complain when people are late (and call then at 5min past the schedule frankly and hostily asking “I’ve been here for a couple of minutes, where are you??” meaning “you gotta feel bad!!”), and I always phone (no SMS!) at least 10 minutes ahead of schedule when I get to know I am not going to make it. But, man! Just couldn’t believe what you wrote!

  144. I always aim to be 10 min early where possible. That way I have time to calm, center, re-apply make-up or whatever. It also give me some flexibility if I don’t know where to go or there is a queue etc.

    My mum is habitually late, by at least 1/2hr but up to an hour. I always have to tell her 1hr earlier than when she is meant to arrive somewhere because I know she will never get there otherwise.

    Dr’s are also notoriously bad at keeping you waiting. They have very strict rules that you get there on time but you are never seen at the time of your appointment. So why not give the adjusted time of when you know i’ll be seen. Don’t keep me waiting for 1/2hr and expect me to read 2yr old magazines!!

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  146. It’s a good post, distinguishing between serial latecomers and those that are held up due to something beyond their control. Clear expectations should be set by the leadership and reviewed with repeat offenders. And, if the boss is late, he/she will expect you to have something productive to do before the meeting gets started.

  147. Great article and 100% true. My family member and good friend did this to me recently… in fact she has done it every time we had plans to meet. She is always at least 1 hour late and up to 3 hours late. The most recent event she waited until 4:30pm to TEXT me and let me know she forgot her fiancé had the day off.

    I wrote her a long email, I expected it to be a big wake up call. Her reaction? “Sorry if I have hurt your feelings”. Her fiancé let me know that she is ‘confused’ because I never contact her first on days we have plans. WOW! Some people are completely diluted.

  148. Wow! At last all my feelings about punctuality in writing!
    I have a fetish about being “there” at the arranged time –
    have lost the odd friend or client due to this but what the hell …

  149. WOW take a day off!!

    I agree that it is rude and selfish to deliberately keep people waiting BUT if I had ten bucks for every super punctual person that feels very strongly that you don’t respect them if you are late that when THEY are late – suddenly it’s ok – I would not have to work as hard that’s for sure

    The difference is that the people that are late sometimes don’t lose their minds because they feel they have been disrespected – they just take it in their stride and actually don’t mind – they also don’t mind if you are tirelessly on time and always glaring at them or looking down your nose at them for their character flaw as they know it’s who you are…

    enter the realm of true friendship

    I don’t really understand why people are so het up about this respect thing when it comes to lateness – sure if you have a dinner and people just don’t get there because they are still doing their hair then yes if it happens every time, you think again about why that is

    However – many control freak type punctual people have no manners in plenty of other areas in some cases treating you in a way that they would not accept if they were being treated in that way.

    Business meetings and time – agreed – it is unprofessional and a formal meeting schedule should be stuck to – however turning up late to a cocktail event so that you are not the first there really isn’t a problem – if you are late for your friends function or birthday then shame on you, but if you show up two hours after the boring speeches at the gala event and still donate more than the richer person next to you that got there at the start to look good… what is the problem? It also staggers numbers if people don’t all get there at the same time – imagine that – no one would ever get a cocktail!

    I can see how it appears that the attitude sucks but how many times have you thought that you are not up to going somewhere and made your excuses… if the answer is never then that is an unrealistic expectation of all the weaker mere mortals

    … and things like traffic, public transit breakdowns, LIFE, kids and general other things that can happen are not always controllable – again, its’ the punctual people that have the hardest time coping with things that throw you off track like that you know – being human

    I think if you are regularly late and do it on purpose you should be reprimanded by the people you upset – I’ll bet you don’t tell your friends that you are upset that they are late, if you did every time, you would not have that many friends for long

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone when it comes to losing your mind over 10 minutes to then spend the next 20 minutes not enjoying your friends because control issues are not under control (oh the irony) is actually quite a shame

    I have plenty of friends that are late all the time, I don’t mind sitting in bars on my own and over time you know who is late and who isn’t and you adjust your invites accordingly. In a work situation If you don’t get paid when you don’t turn up, those problems soon go away – as a freelancer that only gets paid from the moment I get there – you can count on me to be on time when others are relying on me, but I am not going to stress about a late bus or an accident en route

    I used to and noticed that all around me seemed to not care – thing is that I also used to be constantly under stress and worried

    There is always a reason why people are upset in that situation – (am I on my own, could I be doing better things with my time, or is it really that I have this respect trigger that fires off after 4 seconds?) it makes a lot of difference to how you cope with it if it bothers you that much and shouting I demand respect when the person that may be oblivious to the fact that they are causing you pain is not a great way to deal with it either – they don’t disrespect you, they are just people that are late

    Like the boring friends, the alcoholic friends, the flirty friends, the way too keen friends, the needy friends, the friends that never buy the first drink, the friends that never pay for dinner, they are no different from the friends that are late – so call them out but don’t call them out for being late, but not for disrespecting you

    And the Dentist? If the Dentist or Doctor set aside appointments of 2 hours so that everything could be taken care of – they would see less people per day and not be able to afford to keep the practice, patients can take longer, but sometimes you get in to see your dentist early because of a no show (far worse) or an early finish – not often but it happens – what if the person in front of you was dying but they didn’t know that until they got there – would your time still be more important than the person that now has to take priority?

    There is a fine line with all of this and you are good at your job because of these traits but seeing them as character flaws when most of the most talented creative people in the world that provide us with the beautiful things we have like poetry and art (no I am not into that sort of thing, just using it to make a point) – the world would be a sterile, very boring, single minded place full of perfect people with no flaws! – I very much doubt that Vincent Van Gough was a punctual fellow with all that Absinthe and self harming!


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  151. I mostly agree with you.

    It depends which country / culture you are in. It also varies on importance. Being on time for meetings or social events is fair enough.

    However I hate it when bosses tell you off for being 1 minute late (not all clocks are that exact) when you stayed two hours late the night before for no extra pay, and for no thanks, and outside of contractual obligations.

    Personally I think that western society is obsessed with time. People need to learn when promptness is fair and when it isn’t.

    Being 20-30 minutes late for a dinner party is polite, any more is rude. It gives the hosts a chance to overrun. It depends on the friends though, if they are amazing with time then I’d arrive on time. Context is key.

    Also you talk of politeness but killing people (the military) for a living is hardly polite. So you might need to meditate on pointing the finger!

  152. Great Article Greg! I am chronically late to everything and have been for the last 16 years. I have tried countless methods to be on time; getting up earlier, setting all of my clocks 15 minutes faster. Here’s what I’ve found for the most part, I have no sense of time. I literally can be doing something for 20 minutes yet it feels like only 7 minutes have passed by. I am a Christian, Mother of 7, sweetest person you would ever meet…So NO I am not Selfish or Lazy or Rude. In fact I’m one of the hardest working people at my job and I’m good at what I do. I am a prior US marine and yes I was late there a alot too. I’m usually always 2 or 3 minutes late to work, 5-10 minutes late to church and dropping my kids off for school. All Not Intentionally. Is it enough to drive someone else crazy? YES but don’t judge a book by it’s cover or think we don’t care or are not aware of our tardiness. I am painfully aware of every minute I am late to any event. I hate it myself, and work really hard to fix it and sometimes honestly that makes it worse.I over try and end up late. So I continue to STRIVE to be on time to everything I do. But if I am late I’m not going to crumble to pieces or feel bad for you because in the end I know that it is always better to arrive than not to show up at all. I’ve had people keep me waiting and I feel the same as you. The difference is I understand we all have our issues you may be good at keeping time but you may stink at other things that are really important in your relationships. Thanks For Sharing.

  153. I cannot agree with you more! My worst experience was waiting at my old (notice I said old) gynecologist’s office with my pants off waist down waiting and waiting for her to come in! After 50 minutes of waiting I thought to myself, “Who does this? Who asks someone to undress from the waist down and says they will be right back and then never returns or even has someone come in to apologize for keeping someone pantless waiting for that long?!” I left and never returned again.

  154. I have kept this tab open on my iPad for months, considering the right response to this post.

    As a serial late person, I will say for the record that I completely agree that it is rude and inconsiderate for a person such as myself to waste other people’s time. You are right, no question about it.

    I would like to say that not all of us who suffer from serial lateness are doing it because we don’t care – ie showing up late because we had to make a pit stop at Starbucks, or take an extra phone call with a friend. Maybe it is because we have trouble prioritizing. Maybe it is because we are constantly running around in crisis mode. Maybe it is because we are trying to care too much about people that are expecting too much from us, because they don’t want to burn their own time in getting their own tasks done, and choose to delegate it to those that are willing to help.

    The bottom line is that there is no excuse for serial lateness. But at least in my case and some others I know…we are fully aware of this. We don’t walk around all day not caring about what time we show up. The pressure is there, we just don’t always know how to alleviate it. I say here that adding a layer of people telling us that we are always late, we are being rude and inconsiderate, we are disorganized – does not help.

    It would be much more helpful if people such as yourselves, who are timely and organized as you purport, guided others to the sunlight and gave advice and resources to those who could use it the most. A scathing blog post is good, but I was certainly not motivated to look through the rest of your site. I think the only ones that did are those that are already where you are. So…is that helping anyone?

    I know one thing from experience: Those that are graceful in their forgiveness of others with such character flaws are exponentially more likely to be forgiven for their own flaws.

    “Rude and inconsiderate” takes many forms. I just read a blog post about a 17 year old kid that was bullied by a customer because she didn’t get her order fast enough. Apparently she felt that her time was so precious that she had to berate the employee for a power outage that had nothing to do with the kid.

    When one is dealing with exponentially larger projects and resources, I can also imagine the time constraints come into play. Certainly it is good to factor such things in while hiring, promoting and firing. I wonder if the same would apply to situations where one is not at work. It sounds to me like the friends that you choose expect the same of you, and you comply. Thus there is a symbiosis in place. If you show up late a few times, will you be out of the group? Or maybe just sent back to this blog post?

    How about family? I gather that the same pressure to be 100% on time with work and social situations is also imposed within the household. Does that work for everyone?

    I commend you for rising to the echelons of timeliness. Please continue to let us know what it is like from your perspective. Perhaps one day everyone in the world will be more organized with their time.

    I will leave off with this story, and then finally close the tab of this page I have left open. I hope you consider it to be useful, if you take the time to read it.


    A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

    “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

    “Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man

    “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”

    “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man asked angrily.

    “I just want to know. Please tell me…how much do you make an hour?”

    “If you must know, I make $50 an hour.”

    “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.

    “Daddy, may I please borrow $25?”

    The father was furious. “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I don’t work hard everyday to put up with such selfishness.”

    The little boy quietly went to his room and closed the door.

    The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. “How dare he ask such questions only to get some money”, he thought to himself.

    After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:

    “Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really doesn’t ask for money very often”. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

    “Are you asleep, son?” He asked.

    “No daddy, I’m awake”, replied the boy.

    “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man.

    “It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.”

    The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

    The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

    The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

    “Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.

    “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

    “Daddy, I have $50 now…can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

    The father was devastated. As he eyes welled up with tears, he put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness and scheduled dinner for the next evening.

    -Author Unknown

  155. I am a late person… and in all honesty its because it takes a oot of effort and i really usually dont want to be there anyway lol since i was a child, ive never seen the importance of being on time, ive always been a person who came late. Not that i dont understand it, i just dont really mind. I dont mind if people are late, i dont even mind if theyvdont show up at all… i feel theres more important things in life than rules and regulations, time schedules and what not to follow and you should be free to do as you please. Lol

  156. I am making one of my children hand copy this post. He is habitually late to everything, including homeschool. I tell him that school starts in ten minutes, and while the other children are there two-three minutes early getting out their books, he saunters in five-ten minutes late EVERY DAY. Today he told me, “It’s just homeschool.” I guess the rest of our schedules don’t matter. So I gave him a “detention”. He just looked at me bewildered. He will copy this post and another person’s post about being late during his “detention” period. If it doesn’t work, tomorrow he will copy them each twice. In fact, I think I will just up the ante each time he’s late. I bet he starts showing up on time really quick!

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  158. *yawns* I am sorry I did not hear you cause i was too busy being lazy.

    Give me a break

    I wonder for all of you on timers how many other people you pushed, shoved, cut off, yelled at, and acted like a general douche to get out of your way to make it on time?

    I heard that in a general metropolitan area 10-15 minutes late is the standard.. Unless of course you are the one douche in the rear view mirror gesticulating wildly for me to get out of your way so your so entitled butt can get there on time. Perhaps you think of it as a game or a challenge to get through all the crowds rudely yourselves and make it there just to say you were “2 minutes early”.

    I don’t know maybe if we worried less about times, rules and regulations and started worrying about the heart of people.. things would be a bit nicer in this world.

    Do you know that timeliness is really only celebrated in the US? Or have your US centric views clouded your thoughts, unable to see life any other way? In many other countries it is perfectly acceptable to arrive an hour late for a dinner party, and no the party then does not start at 3am. It starts when the person throwing it says it starts and ends when the last person leaves.

    I have seen that usually the one person who is so concerned on what time everyone arrives is usually the one who is upset for most of the party anyways, and they are the ones who are cut the next time. Leave them be to party with the rest of their on time friends… I am sure their lives are full of spontaneity and variety.

    Not preaching but just my random thoughts…. criticize away….

    • hmm lets take just one of your assertions DEMONSTRATED

      “Or have your US centric views clouded your thoughts”

      I have it on pretty good authority that the author of this article was in fact born in Africa, and lived in Africa till adulthood. Subsequently he lived in Europe and now resides in Australia with his main business focus in recent years being Asia

      So you couldn’t be more wrong,.. could you?

  159. Something like 10-15 minutes late, I can deal with, I HAD a friend (I’m threw with him starting today) who is chronically no less than 30 minutes late, often several hours late. Also disappears for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time. No matter how many times people (including myself) try to tell him about it, he merely apologizes because he thinks it’s what people want to hear. Several times he’s told me himself “what’s the big rush”? big rush? Well, look at your f***ing track record idiot!

    Well I had just recently gotten back up with this friend about maybe a week ago, the first few days he showed up at a descent time of day at least, I didn’t give him any deadlines and he didn’t give me a time to expect him… But today he calls me at 2, telling me he gets off work at 4 (that is, if he even works, he says he does construction but I have yet to see any proof and I don’t think anyone would put up with his shit)… So I call him at 4 like he asked me to do, but I get no answer… for the next 2 hrs I tried to call him again at least 3 or 4 more times, no answer. Finally, 2 and a half hours later he pulls up in my drive way, I told him “strike 1″ (because when I got back up with him I told him, he has 3 strikes, 3 times he can be late, between now and the next 7 months), well I told him “strike 1″ and he got a pissy attitude, slammed his car door back shut and drove off in a huff… Fine, fuck him.

    I honestly think many chronically late folks are people who live with their parents because nobody will hire them, theyr too lazy to work a job anyhow, and they lack maturity. It’s the same folks who never get a job, always mooching off someone or other, be it their parents, the neighborhood, w/e, but will always talk like they’ve got a job or theyr looking for a job or w/e and you just KNOW it’s bullshit, theyr blowing smoke up your ass to tell you what they think you wanna hear. Chronically late people (from my experience) are also Chronically lazy and immature people.

  160. English is not my first language. I have to disagree with most if not all of the comments on here. Most people that are always late have either OCD or ADD or both. Most of these people don’t even know they have it. I am not talking about the ones that actually do not care. I am one of these OCD/ADD people. Even when I was a child I was always late. My mom tried everything, I would wake up an hour before every body else and still be late. Do not think that these people do not care, the anger of the person waiting is “nothing” (don’t get me wrong) compared to the embarrassment of the person who is late. I have locked myself up in my room crying and praying to God asking what is wrong with me, why am I so “different”. I have trouble estimating how much time I will need for things. I procrastinate, I get anxious. I am unable to read books, because I cannot concentrate. I only read articles. I have always wondered why am I such a terrible writer, well because my mind is all over the place and the sentences are literally all over the place. I know I am intelligent (not being arrogant) but I am unable to turn it into succes. Oh I KNOW what these people are going through. It is just not written on their faces. I didn’t know I had OCD or ADD until 6 months ago. Hope that some people understand now.

    • I understand where you are coming from. I struggle with the exact same thing. Always have.

      Now, hold on to your chair because you are not going to like this. That is a lame excuse! Use your brain and you can overcome the problem. Show people that you are master of your life rater than victim to your circumstances.

      Here are some things that help me:

      1) Develop a true desire to change. I don’t mean a fooling yourself lip service, I mean you damn well want to change and you are damn well going to do it.

      2) Conscientiously recognize that what you think will take 5 minutes actually will take 20.

      3) Set an alarm (or two) to tell you it is time to stop whatever you are doing and get ready to go.

      4) When the alarm goes off, stop and get ready to go. If you need to set an alarm saying it is time to wrap up, another for time to stop and a third to walk out the door. OBEY THE ALARMS.

      5) Do not ever make a lame excuse for being late when you are (unless it was truly unavoidable…like you car broke down or you got stuck behind a bad traffic accident). The more you allow yourself to excuse your lateness, be it to ADD, OCS or just plain laziness, the more you will allow yourself to continue being late.

      6) When you are late, always apologize sincerely (again, with no lame excuses). You might even want to acknowledge you recognize you are late a lot, and are trying to overcome that character flaw.

  161. So my friend posted this article on Facebook and I can see why he would do it. When we eat lunch or dinner sometimes with our group of seven friends, one might be late. And in the article, you talk about people who are routinely 5-10 minutes late and I find that most of this article is directed towards actual business meetings or important dinners and such. So I guess here is my question: is is reasonable for my friend to have a freak-out when we arrived about 3-4 minutes late just this last weekend when before we’ve been reasonably on time, as in within a minute of the designated meet time?

    This is probably the first time in a very long time that we’ve been late. Sometimes, when a friend is late, we usually wait five minutes for said friend to arrive and then enter. That is now an expectation in our group because our timely friend always gets so frustrated when we’re literally two minutes late. And I don’t like that. Personally, when I’m eating with a friend, I’ll wait up to ten minutes for them, even though I could already be sitting there waiting for them five minutes previous to our arranged meeting. I like to spend time with my friends and going ahead and eating without that friend defeats the purpose of that meeting, right? Here’s an example. I waited 30 minutes to eat with my friends when they last minute changed the time to eat. And did I make a huge hissy-fit about it? Did I rant and rail against their untimeliness? No. I simply waited and did something else until they got there.

    Usually, I am a punctual person and I think being punctual is very important in business relations and relationships in general. When I’m meeting for something professional, I try to get there 5-10 minutes ahead of the designated meet time. But when it’s just a casual dinner with friends who have busy lives and sometimes can’t make it because something small came up last minute and it only took a few minutes to get it sorted out and that’s why it made them late? I really don’t care as long I get to see them and talk to them. So tell me, am I being unreasonable? Or perhaps we should try to compromise something here? How can I make this up to my friend, who I value as a person even though I think his strict punctuality is a little extreme?

  162. Your are right about late people — but the meeting organizer is JUST AS MUCH TO BLAME!

    There are certain meetings I am always late to, and always will be late to. Why? Because I know they are not going to start on time. So why should I show up on time? And guess what, I still arrive about 5-10 minutes before the meeting actually begins!

    If a meeting is scheduled a 9, it should be started promptly at 9 regardless of who may or may not be there. If a key decision maker has not arrived, the meeting should be canceled at 9:05 and rescheduled around convenience of the folks who were there.

    Do this a few times, and those constantly late people will learn it is not OK for them to be running late. They will feel embarrassed when walking into an in-progress meeting with their bacon sandwich rather than feeling free to warmly greet everyone.

    You can even make a point of stopping the meeting, looking directly at the person, and say, “Since you were not here on time, let me catch you up on what we have covered so far.” Then do a quick recap. Do it in a friendly way for sure, but the point will be clearly made. Then just continue the meeting as if nothing unusual happened.

    I now lead a meeting that used to be notoriously late-starting, with half the group showing up 10-15 minutes late. Now almost everyone arrives early, because they know we start on time.

  163. Oh, by the way mate — you are a lot more patient than I am! Waited 50 minutes at the dentist? Ouch.

    Just yesterday I showed up for a photography sitting appointment with my family. We arrived 5 minutes early as requested. 10 minutes after the set time I was ready to go, but because of my family hung on. 20 minutes past I stood up and said “lets go”.

    As we headed out the door, the receptionist had the gall to ask if we were leaving. She didn’t even acknowledge we sat around 25 minutes — let alone offering any type of apology.

    Yes, we are leaving. Goodbye.

    Again, if more people would start doing this — just walk away — folks making the appointments would become much more attentive to scheduling accurately. They would become keenly aware that always making people wait is not acceptable service, and might even start to worry about loosing customers if they do not change.

  164. My favourite bit of this whole rant by the author is where she admits that occasionally she is late. Therefore she must admit that occasionally she is rude and selfish ? Like everyone else on earth ?

    I also enjoyed reading the comments by passive-aggressive bosses here, talk of forwarding it onto people who work for them. Rather than actually having a chat with the person ? I would class that as rude and selfish. If your not willing to take on that responsibility you shouldn’t be a manager. I have managed before and noticed that staff often follow by example, I would guess that quite a few of your staff are following your lead.

    Someone who is religiously late has a problem. Is it that they don’t enjoy their job ? Or perhaps they can’t make the hours that their company/employer expects them too ? If this is the case it’s up to the employer to seek out a means of fixing these problems with the staff member. Happy staff are much more effective that the staff that are only doing the bare minimum.

    Try a little perspective before you jump to conclusions.

  165. This is bullshit. Anyone complaining about other people being late are either selfish themselves andthink their time is more important than the other person running late, or they have a lot of free time and nothing really going on in their lives
    and have plenty of free time to be on time. To be honest everyoe complaining
    here makes it sound as if they think the world revolves around them.
    I am extremely busy all the time and always mostly late because i am engaged with other busyele who are also often late because they are busy. I do not whine about other people being late because i thinkno ofvt them and understand they are busy too. Busy people understand one another thats why you all are clueless and the rest of the world kniws a set appointment had a 30 minute leeway. That is why the word sharp was invented to letvpeople ow the meeting time must be absolute for a reason. I
    Stop being selfish and wake upp

  166. Maybe people show up late to your social gatherings because they’re expected to run on a business schedule whilst there.

  167. Its actually worse in Africa! Have you heard “african time”?.
    People donot only turn up late to social gatherings but also business meetings. I’ve not attended shows in years because of the lack of time discipline on the part of organizers. Everything starts hours late. Imagine a show scheduled for 8pm not starting till midnight…
    The worst thing about it is that everyone sees it as normal. If you waste my time, you’d have to pay for it or consider the meeting off

  168. I’m so glad to know my feelings about tardiness are not antiquated. I had a recent outing with a group. Five members of the party reported they would be an hour late for a function that had already be re-scheduled. What burned me was that they had to know earlier that day that their participation in another scheduled event would make them late. But rather than contact the other members of the group about the delay or trying to move the meeting time they said nothing. It took finding out from various texts at the meeting start time that they would be late. Upon arrival none of the members wanted to make much eye contact and none offered an apology for not communicating their delay in a timely manner which I thought was extremely rude. I feel they believed their late arrival was justified because they had “stuff to do” before the meeting. But I was angry at the fact that they felt their time was so important and that it wasn’t necessary to notify those of us waiting around because after all we had all day to wait on them, right? Oh an apology did come….but at the end of the gathering. It was mumbled by one late attendees to the hostess but not the other members kept waiting as we were loading into cars. And it was followed with a “but we had stuff to do so we had a reason for being so late.” WTH? When did etiquette die in this country?

  169. It almost seems though the way people act though just makes it worse… I hate being late and yet it happens more often then i would like to. But i am also still just a college student. And it is never their intention obviously but people don’t realize that they pretty much say “its better to be absent then late” which is an impression i really hate and it just makes it worse and worse.
    I used to be in scouts and one of the leaders decided that if anyone in one patrol was late they would make the entire patrol do the stupidest thing that came to mind. Which just ended up making them more angry they they already were when that happened to my patrol when i would say “I don’t enjoy trying to embarrass myself…people already treat me like shit enough, I don’t enjoy watching others embarrass themselves either so I will quit long be4 you can get me to do that…” and even having to say that is embarrassing enough already so if my parents were 5 min late giving me a ride i just didn’t show up and i just would have to deal with it at all.
    Which brings up another point that it becomes a cycle of parents never being on time so you just end up doing the same thing…. I still genuinely really hate it when I’m late and it pisses me off that it happened…being not the wealthiest and depending on public transport to get to school and the fact that you spend 5 hours a day on the bus, 8 hours at school and now you now only have 5 hours to work/eat/homework/and actually get a second to enjoy yourself in a day(assuming you can get by with only 6 hours of sleep a nite….)and perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for other people because you are too paranoid to do anything but stare at other people eyes and then count all your possessions to see if they are still there to look at other people or else something will go missing….>.>….instead of being able to at least use that wasteful 5 hours in that virus-ridden machine to perhaps pull out your computer or phone or book and play a game, or read a story, do your homework, get some sleep, finish what you couldn’t at your job….but that is just impossible…..
    To actually work everything out and when you end up making a mistake and because you were too ignorant to look up the public transport site to see that they changed something (ukno with those OTHER 24 hours you wish you had in a day….) to being late to class and being thrown in the spotlight if being pissed off about being late already and all the other things that happen to be the most hated person in the world was not enough already….to the point that you couldn’t help but miss half of your class and thinking is the 3% to your grade and all the information you will miss making it that much harder to catch up+the embarrassment+5 wasted hours on the bus really worth it to the point where i want to be able to get as much class as i can to get a great grade but it feels like you are just too encouraged to miss it =/… for the win….
    Too bad people will just keep making it harder for the people that do try to be on time and that everyone in the world is pretty much screwed with all ignorance of rude people and the impossibility to be thought of as someone who tries….=/

  170. I used to be always early, 10-15minutes, to everything. If people were late, it didn’t really bother me, life happens. I went through a tough time, relationship breakup with someone that I really loved. I had years of heartache & my digestive system just stopped working, & I felt very unwell. My mind wasn’t as focused on being on time, just trying to put on a cheerful face so people wouldn’t see how sad I was inside. I was 15 minutes late to a friends house, she started being mean to me because I was late (I had to listen to 2 hours of her being narky), when I taken the trouble to drive over to pick her up & drop her home (1 hour of my time, not to mention countless times she had been late to me). I had no sleep that night, it was my ex’s wedding day & my heart was broken. She didn’t say one kind or supportive word. If someone is anal/narky about a person being late, then I see it as a lack of compassion & re-evaluate the friendship. Nobody wants to be late, but life does happen.

  171. BS I have been running late my whole life…there are just some of us that have ten things happen on the way out of the door. And yes most of the time they are all important. I can start hours early and still be late. The phone rings the dog gets out a neighbor comes over…someone needs something! And they are just as important as the person I am having dinner with. I have one ass hat anal friend that berates me every time I am late…not much of a friend I would say. Being late to a dinner or a movie or something as petty as that is stupid to be hassled. I don’t mind if some one is late to my dinner…they are welcome anytime. Now to weddings…funerals etc…ya I am on time. Who the hell are you thinking your stupid dinner party is any more important than my dog getting out of a neighbor needing something…as my Mom would say you do not need friends like that! Well gotta run…gonna be late! :)

  172. Well you all glorified, sanctimonious people rush around in your SUV’s and trucks to get somewhere that you think is important and has nothing to do with being on-time. But when a poor slog like me needs to hurry by foot from the office to the bus or train station, you hell RUN, RUN , RUN, RUN, RUN. What harassment. Well I can’t run. I have an injury. Then when I have to cross one busy street on the way on a street with a cross walk, half of the drivers don’t stop, prefer to run my asss over so they can get somewhere where they think is more important. So shove it!

  173. Nothing makes me laugh more than this, if you think i am going to make my time free for others because of ‘manners’ you can think again, nobody is more important than me, and I am being serious :). I know i’m not alone when I say that because that is universal truth. If time is more important to you then that is fine, but don’t expect others to take this point of view on that easily

  174. I am not a very punctual person when it comes to appointments and meetings I have to confess. For 70% of my appointments I run about 5 to 10 minutes late. And I hate it, it frustrates and stresses me out all the time! I know I’m offending people. The times that I’m on time, or even early, are the times when I leave home (or another place) ON TIME. So easy, just build in that extra time you need to leave home, for instance: 10 minutes? One time a friend of mine told me that she scheduled our appointment 10 min earlier to make sure I would be on time. That was quite offensive but it taught me a thing or two about being on time. So true that. Now that’s talking about 5 to 10 minutes late, but I do have friends that are chronically late, and I mean 0,5 to 2 hours! Very annoying, because others (me!) have made the effort to be on time, so they can at least have the courtesy to do so too. True that again. On the other hand: these friends are not rude people, among them are kind and warm hearted persons. They’re there when I need them (really NEED them and not to be on time on my birthday party) and never too good or busy to help. Being late has nothing to do with being a bad person. Okay I wouldn’t hire them when I need them to be on time on their job, but… don’t be too judgmental about it. I read a nice quote the other day: I SHIVER, THINKING HOW EASY IT IS TO BE TOTALLY WRONG ABOUT PEOPLE, TO SEE ONE TINY PART OF THEM AND CONFUSE IT FOR THE WHOLE – Lauren Oliver

  175. If you truly valued your time, you wouldn’t sit around waiting for someone you know is consistently late. You ought to address this person directly with your issue, and consider setting yourself a reasonable limit for how long you will wait to meet someone. If someone passes this set time, get on with your day.

  176. Just for the record, the answer to your question is “no.” Your time is not as important as mine…or rather, my family’s time. You will have to excuse me, but I refuse to apologize to anyone for having my priorities straight. My immediate family comes first at all times. Sure, I will text or call to let you know I am running late, because that is the courteous thing to do. But I’m not going to rush around, like a panicked chicken with its head cut off, because I might be late to a business meeting or brunch or get-together with friends…even if I am the person who requested it in the first place.

    Everyone who knows me realizes that I’m a mother and spouse first and foremost. Not an employee, not a friend, not even a niece or daughter or sister. I am a mother and spouse. My kids and my husband are more important than you 100% of the time. Who are you to expect me to place being punctual with you above a few minutes of extra time I might need or want with my children or spouse? Who are you to expect my children and spouse not to have unexpected needs too frequently, since it interferes with your airtight schedule? I would certainly hope you would never put an arrangement with me above the quality or quantity of time you give your own family members.

    So, if I need to spend the extra 15-20 minutes to help teach my frustrated child how to zip her jacket on the way out the door, or comfort my other child when she trips & skins her knee on the steps outside, or run by my husband’s work to drop off the lunch he accidentally left on the counter, then I am absolutely going to do it, even if that means that you have to wait on me be all by yourself for a short period of time (God forbid). I have to spend too much time away from my family already, and they are the people to whom my time truly belongs in the first place. So, if that means offending self-righteous, narrow-minded, impatient, “punctual” people, then so be it. I promise you I won’t lose any sleep over it.

    • Yeah we get it, other people are scum compared to your kids and husband. God forbid you ever break up and need to make friends. You might be forced to treat other people with respect for one.

  177. Thank you for the post Greg. You’ve put into words something which I’ve been shouting (literally) about for years. I have an events staffing business in Cape Town, SA and one of my biggest problems is latecomers. I have fired many staff who continually arrive late. As you mentioned – the worst part is the “don’t really care” attitude when they finally do arrive for work; the half-shrug of the shoulders and the phrase “I won’t be late next time”. But they are late the next time, and the next. I think perhaps it may have something to do with their upbringing. You learn these bad habits from your parents.

  178. You can’t make it personal,you have to look at it as business and I don’t agree with article at all. You can have a personal on time everyday and does not really work hard and maybe only does 4hours of work in a 8hour day. Now the person that is always 1/2hour to hour late everyday is a harder worker and gives you 7hours of work. The the bad person here for are business is the person on time. Look at the work being done,that is where the business makes money, it is not made becuase Bob was there before Sue. Also comes down to the type of business you are running.

  179. I find this post to be rude and selfish. You have completely forgotten about the parents of small children. I have twin one year old boys and let me tell you its lucky that we get anywhere and a miracle if we’re on time. When you have kids the promptness you had and were so proud of goes flying out the window. It takes serious planning to be able to not only plan for yourself but multiple small children. There is a specific window of being too early and having a kid meltdown or being too late and offending the person you are meeting. Plus you could be perfectly on time and then literally just about anything could happen to cause you to be late. One or both kids could poop or pee themselves, they could constantly be taking off clothes as you frantically put them back on, they could throw a tantrum, they could hurt themselves, I mean the list goes on forever. You are rude and inconsiderate to not take in mind the kind of trouble people go through to even leave the house. Sure there are people in different situations who don’t have kids or any other escusable reason to be late but you are rude to lump all people that are late into the same group.

    • In my experience, parents who are consistently late, were single people who were consistently late. We bring ourselves in to any new situation. I do not think the author is alluding at all about parents of small children, who are put in unavoidable situations. I myself have 5 small children, and can count being late on one hand.

    • It might be useful for both parties (parents and children) to learn how to exercise some control over the children.

  180. I work at a dental office although we pride ourselves on being on time, as it is disrespectful to keep others waiting. Although saying this, the times we have run behind, were due to unforeseen emergencies for a patient. Yesterday I had a patient who failed to show for a previous appointment and was late for his scheduled appointment, I called him as he was 10 min late which he proceeded to tell me he thought his appointment was at a later time. I normally only make 1 reminder call, but with this guy I made an exception and made 2 reminder calls, due to his previous no show. He informed me that he will be about 15-20 min late, in which I informed him that we will have to reschedule him as we have another scheduled appointment which we do not want to be late for. The complete jerk has the audacity to demand that if we do not accommodate him he will go elsewhere, in which I replied OK. With this reply he hung up on me. No one needs to put up with people who do not respect your time, or the time it requires to complete a procedure, we are dentists not miracle workers. Please don’t play dumb, we know the difference between a valid reason for being late or not showing for an appointment or just being ignorant.

  181. Every day I’m working I see the ignorance of latecomers it makes my day long and stressful . And I’ve been on flights sitting on runway to wait for two halfwits getting on half hr later with duty free bags makes the blood boil

  182. I would have to agree with this for the most part. Nothing is more aggravating than telling someone to be somewhere at a certain time and them show up half an hour later. Or when I have to be at a class by a certain time, but my previous teacher holds the class late consistently. Or when a rehearsal is said to end at one time, but ends up being held over 30 minutes, as though as students we don’t have anything better to do with our lives than stick around getting yelled at. My favorite thing though has got to be having my band directors post this to Facebook and say that being late is rude when they constantly give little to no consideration to their student’s time. Yes, being late and disregarding other people’s time is inconsiderate and rude especially if you try to become a complete hypocrite about it.

  183. I am a church goer, and I remember once the minister was constantly frustrated at the people walking in 30 minutes after the service began, and he brought this up once by saying, ‘I bet people who are constantly late for church never show up at the movies half way through it, but get there in time for the movie to start…’ Good point. Also, I find those who are ‘consistent offenders’ at lateness seem to be quite satisfied to complain when someone is late, and keeps them waiting………

    • Greg,
      I think you should ‘try’ to be late on purpose. See how other people react, especially those who are expecting you to be on time,(as you always are punctual) If it doesn’t freak them out (thinking something must difinatively be wrong with you) It will at least show them how rude it is and how uncomfortable, lonely, uneasy, bored, and unimportant they make you feel when they make you wait.
      You should also remind people when setting appointments or making plans that it is very important to you that they meet you at the specific time as you are really busy or you have other things you must do afterwards etc. Sometimes people forget, esp when they are not pressed for time or dont have somewhere to go afterwards. Let them know you will only have x amount of time for the visit or meeting and give an ending time so then you are not forced to stay late and ruin your schedule. Punctuality is very important to you but not everyone feels the same. When someone knows you are waiting for them alone and they dont seem to care then they really dont care. Those who really care and know you and your need for punctuality will not leave you waiting on a regular basis.

  184. This article is so true! Thanks for writing it, and I can relate a lot. I have friends who are always late. Oh, and the best part? They tell me that no matter how much they try, they will always be late and I have to live with it. I don’t think so. They are fully aware that they can keep themselves from being late and that they don’t do it. I love my friends to death, but they are always purposely late and they think that it is perfectly okay. I talk about with two adults who are “suppose” to help me and while they agree that its rude, they say I have to deal with it. I feel like telling the both of them, “Oh yea? Well deal with this: Neither of you two will be ale to ever talk to me again.

    The truth is that if you are late, you can help it and if you can help it then good for you. You are doing yourself and the person who wants to see you a great service by showing up when you’re suppose to. If you know you can help it and you choose not to, then you are hurting your friend and yourself at the same time. Seriously though, why in the world would you want to be late all the time and waste your other friend’s time that he wants to spend with you? Normal people don’t do that.

  185. Thank you! You have nailed it! No matter what the excuse, late is late.
    Unfortunately, the ones that are affected by others lateness, rarely speak up. If we stopped waiting for others to show, canceled the appointment, started the party, meeting, or other event, or went ahead and was seated and placed our order, eventually the message would be gotten. The world should not stop for the late person. They can give any excuse they want, but it is just an excuse. Yes, occasionally all of us will have an unavoidable situation that causes us to be late, but no matter what the reason- when you are dealing with another person, and are late, you have impacted that person. They have had to wait on you. A flat tire, an accident, both are legitimate reasons to be late; but neither reason diminishes the fact that someone was left waiting. Although I’m sure that in those instances the person waiting would forgive the lateness, you were late none the less.

  186. Some on time ocassions don’t matter like if someone was to be 5 or 10min late as of traffic. Only business would be important as to what I got taught at college and school.

    So yes I only be on time for the important things with reason here in UK.

  187. I came across your write up on Facebook. I think a lot of what you say is valid, but I also think that you perhaps allow the concept of time to rule over your life. Don’t let it bother you so much. There are more important things in life than being on time for a meeting. Enjoy life as much as you can without chasing the clock. We’re all going to die anyway.

  188. A friend on FB shared the article and i couldn’t agree more, time rules us in so many ways each day. I moved to Turkey 10 years ago from Denmark and were i come from it is still general the common rule for Danes to be on time but in Turkey that rule is riddled to point were now after just simply understanding i cannot change a people single handled i allow for 10 minutes wait time and then just leave, be it a doctor, a business meeting or even the wife. No one can be more important than myself is my golden rule as 1 minute wasted is 1 minute off my life clock and i don’t intend to wait around wasting time which at end of the day is more precious than anything because as well all are poignantly aware our life will draw to a close or as some say start as a new chapter the day we park our shoes.
    A good example as i say to my local Turkish friends, family and business associates are if you turn up late for a plane will that plane wait for you, or a train or anything else that runs on a schedule. 10 minute rule should allow for that hiccup that can delay and if you know you aren’t able to meet on time then call in advance and let us know as i don’t mind rescheduling. I find that although in beginning i got surprised faces and gasps when they finally did arrive and i was already on my merry way that after discussing it they have taken my words to understanding that when dealing with our good friend the Yabanci (Turkish for foreigner) you should make extra time to be on time with him or call in advance and let me know you cannot be on time and reschedule. .

  189. Normally, I give everybody a chance to add a few minutes, if I get an ADVANCE notice “Sorry, will be late by… minutes.” However, if that revised target is not met, I just walk off/out. In Malaysia, where I live, there is this idiom called ‘Malaysian time’, meaning 5pm PLUS 30 to 60(!) minutes, which is unfortunately largely accepted and people try to pass as ‘Malaysian Culture’.
    A VIP attending an event (corporate function, wedding etc.) is a special honor. I cannot recall how often a crowd of 200 – 800 guests were waiting for up to 2 hours(!) for the VIP to arrive, doing nothing else but exactly that… waiting.
    I thought this situation over and over a few times, but I think, I would just tell that person off -no matter who it is- with a friendly “Glad that you could make it. Sorry, we had to proceed, I won’t let my other X00 guests have cold food.” That should be etched into his memory for some time to come.
    In a smaller circle…, we had a colleague who was notoriously late, pissed off bosses, peers and car-pool drivers alike. We taught him punctuality by just cutting him out of our daily activities. It went like “Sorry, I am late… what shall I do?”- “It is ok, we have re-organized ourselves. All tasks have been assigned.”
    We did that twice, a third time and after that, this guy was10 mins early for all appointments.
    Waited at a wedding-reception for nearly two hours for the bride to arrive (the groom was waiting with us!). NO food or refreshments were offered! A family-member told the guests “The bride is stuck in a traffic-jam.” – How come that everybody else was there on time?
    This was the first and only wedding ever where my wife and I walked out before it even started, … and we took the wedding-present back with us!

  190. This is an absolute rocking article – I love it! I had close to the same experience with a physician who was frankly a snob but when asked what time was convenient for my next visit I asked which one was it convenient for him to keep…he was highly insulted.
    I grew up outside of the US and being “late” is acceptable and normal in Europe and South America for example however I feel it is rude if being late is your typical MO and unacceptable.
    The topper is those that show up with food and eat while you are hosting a meeting. I typically stop the meeting with complete silence for as long as it takes you to “finish” your meal particularly if it is not an agreed working/lunch meeting. I have invited people to leave meetings as soon as they arrive significantly late. I have locked doors. I have relocated the meeting last minute just to make a statement to the individual(s) who are late. Sure everyone can run into an issue causing them to be late but if running habitually late is how you run your life….rethink please!

  191. Here we see the classic conflict between Type A personalities and, well, everyone else.

  192. I totally disagree with your article…you sound quite uptight….so what if people are ‘late’…surely the time is just a guide and an approximation…I feel sorry for you that you are so bound by the clock

  193. This article is very, very TRUE. I know a lot of people who are aging party-holics, still running around to clubs, bars, and rock concerts at age 45, texting all their friends about “running late”. No wonder they never established long term relationships or got married. Grow up people!

  194. As an aside, late people aren’t necesarily inconsiderate, but quite the opposite, are chronic people pleasers. When someone asks when you’ll make it, they give them the absolute best case as soon as possible time, ie what the other person wants to hear. I’ve overcome my chronic “lateness” by simply tacking on an extra 30 minutes to my estimates. Suddenly I’m “early” even though I’ve literally changed nothing

  195. I would argue that perpetually late people can care too much.

    I used to think exactly the same as the writer. However, I’ve been caring for my father with a life-debilitating condition for the last 5 years. He needs assistance using the bathroom and I can’t say for sure how long that will take considering his illness. Also he can randomly want to communicate to me about something. And because he can’t speak the process of working out what he’s trying to say has taken as long as 2 hours in the past. The fact he even wants to communicate is something rare, so I try my best to be there for him when he does.

    During the early years of caring for him. I ended up late for everything. I eventually refused to work and make any social commitments because I knew there was no certainty that I would be able to be on time. Living in isolation pulled me into depression and it was a downward spiral from there.

    The problem with the personality type that sees perpetual lateness as unforgivable and a criteria to judge someone is their lack of acceptance. Stuff doesn’t always happen when we’d like. It’s life. Babies are rarely born exactly ‘on-time’ (whatever that means). I’m sorry you might be late to your business lunch at the golf club at 2pm because your wife’s water just broke or your frail mother suddenly needs assistance with something. It’s LIFE. Eventually you’re going to have to weigh up your priorities. And if your punctuality means more to you than the people in your life- then you’ve lost the plot.

    I have committed myself to various projects at the moment but I don’t even mention my dad anymore if I’m late. People don’t like to hear the same excuse. But I don’t live for peoples approval. At the end of the day I have to explain myself to myself.

    So I’ve learnt not to care so much about punctuality per se and more about my priorities in life. If someone was in dire need- i would rather take the opportunity to help them and arrive late for a commitment. I’d hate to have to go to bed at night knowing that I didn’t weigh up the priority of an immediate need over the luxury of being on time.

    Finally, if you don’t respect your own time enough to bring a book or something to make any extra time more productive then you should really stop complaining because you haven’t learnt a simple lesson of life… to expect the unexpected.

  196. Ha ha ha…. Time starts when I get there…. Ive been left waiting too many times in life, so not anymore :) I understand calling people rude that are late, they can be for sure. So you feel like an idiot, foolish, unimportant when you are on time. Well, you are. I am smiling. Fools.

  197. I do not mind others being late about 5-10 minutes if I can tell it’s because they were caught in traffic or had to kid their kids ready. However, if you walk in 10 minutes late with a Starbucks cup in your hand, then Im officially irritated. Your caffeine fix can wait (and this is coming from a diehard addict).


  199. Every generation thinks the next one is lazier and worse.

    The author could learn a lot from reading the book “The slient language”.

    Native americans would show up any time during the day. They often missed bus schedules when they transitioned to reservations.

    30 minutes was not a long time to wait in south american countries. While it royally pissed off the people waiting who were from the U.S., the secretary and people actually being seen didn’t understand why.

    Its rude and lazy TO YOU. Its normal to others. Isn’t it just the slightest bit egocentric to claim that your ways and attitudes towards life are the only correct ones?

  200. As usual a completely black & white approach is ridiculous. If an employee is occasionally late but still gets their job done I have no problem with it as long as their performance is fine and the department is doing fine. It of course depends on the job.

    I look at it this way… is their tardiness a result of laziness that hurts the other aspects of their work? That of course is a problem. Or… are they super or at least good employees that just happen to have a difficult commute or family circumstances that cause them to be late on occasion and/or leave work early occasionally? If the tasks assigned are completed who cares?

    I come in on time every day and leave exactly when I should every single day for the past five years now and rarely need to leave early or come in late but I don’t judge people who do. If the work isn’t suffering it is completely irrelevant. Just because you are in a position of power doesn’t mean you need to ego trip unless performance is suffering.

  201. I personally think it depends on who you’re meeting. Some I know will be late but will also be there later to listen to you at down moments. Some are on time but also don’t give a damn about you when you open your mouth to say a sentence or two and never comprehend or listen.

    I personally don’t mind coming earlier than meeting times, but if I’m just coming to listen to people who don’t give me the time of day, I don’t want to come at all. That being said, I’ve also come earlier to meetings and forgotten things, only to be the late person myself.

    I agree, it’s rude to be late when every second counts as money, but I wouldn’t go to extremes to extend to friendships. Rude and mean people will be rude and mean, regardless of whether they’re late or not.

    But, being on time is a good starting point for character-building, as well as paying attention, working hard, helping out, giving ideas, etc.

  202. I’ve been late for social meetings but I always made sure the person in charge or some one I know who will be there knows that I’ll be late and why. When I worked construction where I was the lead person I hated people who were late every day when we were on the same job site for months at a time. The first one or two days were understandable until you figured out how long it takes to get there but after that you can stay home as far as I care. I have no use for chronic late people. Your right, it’s rude and a sign of laziness

  203. OMG, I just want to scream reading this. Biggest pet peeve EVER!!!!
    FLAKES!!! Very disappointing.

  204. You spoke my mind! I hate when people tell me to arrive at 6pm and waltz in 20-30 minutes later and ignore that I was kept waiting! Its not even considered worthy of an apology or a discussion even. In fact hate is really an understatement, its beginning to affect my blood pressure! Maybe its an actual medical problem :/

  205. So, my new husband has a son (3 sons total) who tells us he will be back in the morning and shows up after 12 or not at all. He is doing home remodeling for us. Yes we are paying him. There are times he provides a reason, other times doesn’t address it. This has happened several times and the family joke is that this young person (30’s) “Has his own minute.” I CAN’T TAKE it anymore. He wasted 5 hours of my time this week and I feel terribly disrespected, but the whole family seems to have no regard for time, commitment, following through on what they say. What can I do to deal with this lack of understanding about disrespect? They don’t seem to know, understand or realize that their behavior, or lack of, is disrespectful. Even my spouse seems to feel that he is just being “understanding” when his children do not follow through, show up, complete something or help out. He let’s it go as “understanding”, rather than showing righteous indignation regarding their behavior. HELP! I have cried, explained, complained and our relationship is being effected. What can I do? How can I help them see their behavior is disrespectful and negatively effecting others?

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