lateness, punctuality, time management

There’s no greatness in lateness; when does it become plain disrespect and discourtesy?

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It’s been said that “punctuality is the soul of business” and I concur. However, I’d also argue that being on time is crucial to both good personal and business relationships. It’s good manners for one, and lets the other person know they’re valued and important.

So, how you deal with people who are constantly late? How many times has a good friend kept you waiting, but never apologised? And what about the business contact who is never, ever on time?

When someone is consistently late, doesn’t provide an adequate explanation or is quite unremorseful and doesn’t acknowledge the inconvenience caused to you when you’re made to wait, lateness can become a great source of hurt and conflict. It just seems damn rude and inconsiderate at the very least, doesn’t it?

Persistent lateness is also very upsetting in a partner or friend because it suggests that the tardy person lacks concern and respect for you – the unfortunate person kept waiting. It takes a certain amount of empathy to realise that frequently keeping someone waiting for an unreasonable time without explanation can cause hurt, is insulting and can cause the one waiting to feel devalued.

lateness, punctuality, time management

And while we can all be late at times, due to circumstances outside of our control like bad traffic, an accident, or sick child, for example, relationship counsellors say it’s very important to provide an explanation and apology to defuse the situation and allow the one kept waiting to move on.

So, why are some people always late? Is it due to having a strong sense of their own importance, a lack of consideration and empathy for the feelings of others, or just down to them being chronically disorganised and lacking a sense of time?

I hate waiting for more than 20 minutes for anyone; that’s about the absolute limit of my patience. My pet hate is long waits at the medical centre for up to 40 minutes or more – sure, I understand emergencies happen, but I think this can be very disrespectful, if not.

It comes down to values, I think; a GP practice which doesn’t consistently make you wait shows they respect your time as much as they respect their own. They’ve clearly made a philosophical and financial decision that it’s not right to make patients sit for way too long in the waiting room.

And when it comes to your personal life, if someone you love is consistently late and they want to fix this problem, a counsellor can help them to develop greater awareness of the impact of their lateness on others, and better organisational and time-management skills.

But if the consistently late person doesn’t see a problem with their lateness and feels no remorse for keeping someone waiting, it’s unlikely that they will change. So, you might have to simply call time on the them – and the relationship.

lateness, punctuality, time management

What do you think is a reasonable length of time to wait for a late person?

Images via Pixabay and thegrindstone.com