Are you Notoriously Late and Driving Your Friends and Family Mad??
I am perpetually early for most things. Doctor, dentist, hairdresser appointment – I am sitting in the seat waiting to be called 10 minutes before my allotted time (usually to no avail as they are running late themselves). If I’m invited to a friend’s for lunch or dinner, I arrive on the dot out of respect for the trouble they have gone to. The only thing I don’t turn up exactly on time for is a party because no one wants to be the first one there but you can still expect me around half an hour to 45 minutes after the scheduled time.
If I have somewhere to be, I allow more than enough time to get there; whether it’s work, a movie or I’m meeting a friend. Firstly, I don’t want to miss out on either my appointment or the start of that movie but more importantly because I think it’s rude as fuck to keep people waiting.
I cannot stand late people. They absolutely do my head in. Of course everyone gets held up from time to time whether it’s unavoidable traffic, a flat tyre or something urgent that crops up – I don’t have an issue with that. What I do have an issue with, are those people who you just KNOW are going to be late. The ones who laugh it off and say “oh you know me, I’m notoriously late”. Those are the ones that make my head want to explode.
You book a restaurant for 10 people for dinner, 8 of them are there on time, staring at the menu, getting progressively drunk on empty stomachs, waiting on the last two who waltz in the door 45 minutes late “hi everyone, sorry we’re running late, couldn’t figure out what to wear, hahaha”. Meanwhile the waitress is glaring at everyone because the table is re-booked for another party in an hour and no one’s order has been taken yet.
You cook an elaborate meal for friends. You have one oven. You have timed everything to the wire; the meat is resting – just waiting to be carved, the twice-baked potatoes have that perfect golden crust on them and are piping hot, all you have to do is throw a few last minute things together after they’ve arrived but the clock ticks past half an hour, then 45 minutes, then an hour. Your meat has gone cold, the potatoes are shrinking and I’m losing my shit. Happens all. the time.
We have one mate who (A) is a self-employed handyman who does work for us on a regular basis and (B) who goes away camping with us on a regular basis. We make a point of telling him to be somewhere an HOUR earlier than we actually mean and he still can’t make it in time. There’s always something else that comes up that delays him; his kids slept in, he was stuck on another job, he ran out of fuel. It’s become a running joke that’s just not that funny.
Yesterday my husband was setting off for a two day weekend with a bunch of guys he doesn’t know very well. At the last minute he got a call from one of them who said he would make the 3 hour journey with him and they agreed he would be at our house by 6pm. My other half raced home from work at 5pm, jumped in the shower, packed his bag and had his shoes on ready to go at 5.45pm. He was already brooding over such a late arrival at his destination but his blood was boiling when the other guy finally turned up at our house at 7pm. “Sorry, but I’m notoriously late”, he laughed. He could’ve been a third of the way there already.
I’m sorry but there’s just no excuse for this sort of behaviour. If you are going to be any more than 15 minutes late, it’s common courtesy to send a text or a phone call explaining your circumstances. Any later than that and it’s just plain disrespectful and rude. It screams “I don’t care about anyone other than myself and your plans are not important to me.”
I’m sure there are loads of studies out there I can quote that will categorize these offenders as having deep-rooted psychological disorders like procrastinator but seriously?
If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, plan how long it will take to get there, allow for unexpected traffic problems and if your phone rings while you’re on your way out the door – ignore it. Because every appointment you arrive late for, delays every person booked in behind you creating a flow-on effect. And as innocent as you might think your “cute, quirky behaviour” is you could potentially be causing a lot of stress and anxiety to your loved ones who are just too nice to tell you.