Friday, January 4, 2013


Be the Change, Jerks

"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."
—Even though that sounds way more fun than a stupid couple dinner, he is totally correct and people who are routinely late are thoughtless and need to check themselves.

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"...people who are routinely late are thoughtless and need to check themselves."

Duly noted!

Tuna Surprise


Awww! We still love you!

My friends used to have something called 'Amanda time'. Which is the start-time we gave only to Amanda to help balance out her 30-45 minute perpetual lateness.


@Tuna Surprise

You are kind. I am not friends anymore with the friend for whom we had "Aways Late and Calling with BS Excuse Time." Having to give another adult a fake start time for things just to have her show up 10 minutes late instead of 20... Sigh. It was hard to keep up a peer-to-peer respect with someone we had to treat like a child.


@Tuna Surprise Ah yeah, my friends know to do this to me at times as well (dammit, I'm sorry guys!)


@Tuna Surprise We had one friend who was supposed to bring the second course for dinner who showed up an hour an a half late. That'd be fine...if we weren't eating goose beforehand. That goose dried and shriveled into the saddest thing--it might have been delicious for that fleeting hour but man, it just went to hell. That dude gets put on dessert duty now.


@parallel-lines Ok, I'd never, ever do this, so on behalf of Goddamn Late People everywhere, we would like to request this person be taken out of the category of "Goddamn Late People" and re-categorized as a "Thoughtless Dick".

fondue with cheddar

@Tuna Surprise My college friends used to have "DudesLastName time" (which was an hour earlier than the actual time) for the same reason. He thought it was funny but it wasn't. He wouldn't have had any friends if he weren't such a damn likable guy.

Nicole Cliffe

@wee_ramekin I still love you, and I actually said "oh, wee ramekins!" out loud while online shopping for normal-sized ramekins.


@Tuna Surprise My friend has recently been complaining because we "never invite him to things." We only stopped inviting him to things because he would show up 2 hours late, and we would all be ready to leave, so why bother in the first place?


@Tuna Surprise I used to do this to! I would say meet at 6 but get there at 6:20 because that's was only usually 5 minutes before she would arrive. Only my friend was thoughtful enough to start being on time, and then I was the one who was late because I assumed she would be 20 minutes behind!

P.J. Morse

@City_Dater "It was hard to keep up a peer-to-peer respect with someone we had to treat like a child." Totally agreed, and acting like a child is not a good look for an adult.

I get that people can run late on occasion, but if the lateness is a repeat pattern that requires other people to resort to mind games, then the respect is gone, and how can you trust a chronically late person to handle anything else, like a genuine crisis?


@Tuna Surprise I have couple friends who I do the "so-and-so time" thing with. Usually it's not that bad, but they were SO late to our New Year's Eve party (like, their time plus an hour or more) that I literally wondered if they had crashed the car and died on the way when I texted to find out what was up.


@OhMarie I have a friend like this. I actually sat her down and was like, 30-45 min of me waiting for you is not ok. And now she makes a big production of being on time. I'm like, I'm not your mother, I just want common courtesy. Gah. This may explain why we are not as close as we once were.

Allie J


"My friends used to have something called 'Amanda time'. Which is the start-time we gave only to Amanda to help balance out her 30-45 minute perpetual lateness."

Same here. We had "Patrick Time." Once he realized that he was being given a meeting time 30 minutes earlier than everyone else, he straightened up. This is my favorite part of the article:

"It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late.


You are rude. And inconsiderate."

I think I may love this man.


that is super cool @m


I am neurotically on time for things. I hate how cells make it socially ok for people to not be on time.

If you make it on time to your job/class every day you can make it on time to meet your friends. Clearly there's exceptions for flat tires/ unexpected traffic ect, but in general you know how much time things take. Take that into account when you're making plans.


@garli Ah, but I don't make it to my job on time every day.


@garli - Just want to pop in here and join your club, and out myself as the girl who used to do a "rehearsal" walk to all her classes at the beginning of every semester so I'd know how much time it would take. Always 5-10 minutes early.


@alannaofdoom MY PEOPLE


@alannaofdoom You are speaking from inside of my brain.

fruiting body

@garli Yep, I am right there with you. I always run early for things and it's SO irritating to get somewhere and send a text saying "I'm here, got a table" only to get a reply back that says "leaving work now" ... arrrghh fills me with rage.
(But the good thing about cell phones is that I can spend my time sitting in my car texting my sister to joke about how we're both always 20 minutes early.)


@alannaofdoom Ah, the rehearsal walk. I used to do it for classes (and I'd see my fellow neurotics doing the same thing sheepishly) and now I do a rehearsal commute for new jobs, oops.

Coal Tar Epoxy

@yeah-elle I do rehearsal commutes for new jobs as well. And they were required for classes if I wanted any hope of actually finding the correct lecture hall on the first day.


@garli I am also neurotically on-time. If whoever I'm meeting is late, I will do the thing I planned to do and leave. If they arrive after I've left, tough shit. Be a better friend.

Minus legit reasons for being late like "my boss kept me working" or "whoa did you see the traffic" or whatever. I've had a lot of friends who lose track of time or are like "haha what's the big deal? Relax!" Waiting for your sorry ass is not relaxing.


@damselfish Oh Lord, if someone pulled the "ha ha what's the big deal? Relax!" line someone's gonna have to hold my earrings. You (the theoretical you) don't get to be rude by being late and then be rude by being dismissive.


@yeah-elle I do the rehearsal commute for jobs! I mean, how do you know what time to get up otherwise? (I also hate mornings...)


@CubeRootOfPi dich vu cham soc tre so sinh tai nha I have couple friends who I do the "so-and-so time" thing with.


UGH this is so rude to anyone else who might want a table in that restaurant. And to the waitstaff and owners who might prefer to turn some tables over to make money.


@Frisky@twitter And to the friends who are waiting for you, especially at a restaurant where you don't get seated until everyone shows up.


@Frisky@twitter I find it worse when I get to a place on time and the staff seats me at a huge table before anyone from my party gets there. I look like a total ass and the restaurant is wasting a table.


@theheckle Yes, but it's EVEN WORSE when its a no reservations no one seated until you're all there joint.

I once was meeting a friend 1:15 before the curtain time of a show we were going to. I got there 1:20 out. There were tables available, but we couldn't be seated until he was there. He showed up 55 minutes out. There was a 20 minute wait, not enough time to eat and get to the theater. We got take out sandwiches and sat on the street. I stared daggers at him for DAYS.

Tammy Pajamas

Agreed x infinity


PREACH. I am obsessively on time or early for things, and it feels like every single person I know is the opposite. It is so disrespectful, for one thing, and it totally ruins your plans for the day/night. If you say "be there soon," you'd better be there fucking soon, not an hour or two later.

Also, punctuality totally runs in families (thanks, Nurture). My parents are obsessively punctual, and my in-laws are habitually [really] late for everything. And so is my husband.


@olivebee AGREED we are the same in this regard.


@olivebee Thank Zeus you are not correct about it running in families. I was never once in my entire life on time to school or anything ever that required a car to get to until the day I was legally allowed to drive. Not once in my life.

Ugh, best reason ever to pass the driver's test.


My mother is constantly late for things, which inspired my sister and I to always be on time for everything, even if it meant telling our mother that things started earlier than they did.


@garli Haha, I think that's a testament to your willpower to overcome your family's temporal shortcomings. You are right, though, that sometimes familial bad habits can be the best motivators for good habits.

ETA: @schrodingers_cat Nice - I need to try the whole lying about start time thing with my parents-in-law. And some of my friends. Does it usually work?


@olivebee It works pretty well. It helps that she's very predictably 10-15 minutes late, which makes it easier to trick her.


@olivebee - My parents don't have a habit of running late, but when I was young my mom DID always give us chores at the very last minute. 5 minutes until church? Do the dishes!

I think she was trying to get us to prove to ourselves that we could do chores at a quicker-than-glacial pace any time, by forcing us to work under the wire when we had an actual deadline. But all it taught me is that I always have time to do "one more thing" and this is where my lateness stems from, I think. Because in reality I do not have time for that.


@olivebee This is my life. The last half hour after getting ready, I basically do a collie dog routine. Stand by the door, stand by my husband. Stand by the door, husband. Bring him his coat when he's not wearing a shirt yet, go stand by the door.

Anyway. Want to share tips?


@Bootsandcats That is my life as well. "Collie dog routine" is a great descriptor! Do you tack on the "be a total bitch to him in the car once you finally leave" portion like I tend to do?

every tomorrow@twitter

@Bootsandcats My dad does this thing where he goes "Are you ready to leave yet?" In this what-is-taking-you-so-long way, so my mom and I put on our shoes and our coats and get our bags and stand by the door, and my dad is sitting somewhere totally immersed in a video game and does not look up until we're like, uh, we thought you wanted to leave?

At which point he says "I thought you weren't ready. I was waiting for you."

Then he saves his game, methodically shuts down whatever he was gaming on, decides he needs to change his shirt, goes upstairs and picks a different shirt, brushes his hair, finds his shoes, decides he needs to sharpen his pocket knife before we leave (I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING HE DOES THIS), gets mad at me for telling him to do that later, has to find his wallet, puts on his jacket, decides he needs to take a snack...

25 minutes later we MIGHT actually leave. During this 25 minutes I am typically seething with rage.

And that is why we are late to everything we have to bring my dad to. I am so much less stressed now that I live on my own. I only have to sit through this circus if I go to my parents' house and drive somewhere with them.

I almost disowned my dad last month because we were supposed to meet for dinner before an 8pm concert and it was a disaster.

Amanda Marcotte@twitter

@olivebee I'd leave without him.

Ennis Demeter@twitter

@olivebee That's a control thing. I agree with Amanda- leave without him. Don't be angry, just say you'll see him there and leave.


@garli I was also always late for everything that my mom had to drive me to. My school had a policy where 5 unexcused tardies=detention, which sucked, because how is it in any way my 8-year-old fault that I didn't get to school on time? I got stress stomach aches when I was in second grade because of it!
Luckily, mom at least sympathized, so she would make up excuses every day. Often she'd tell the office that she had diarrhea, which was sort of like atonement, I guess.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@lue As a kid I probably made my mom late for stuff, so she retaliated by often making me late for stuff. So I tried giving her fake times but not even that worked. I'd tell her that the bus for summer camp (or whatever) left at 2:15, and she would know that I meant 2:30. And I'd still be the last kid getting on the bus.


Late people: it is not okay to be perpetually late! I am using my loud voice because this is something I deal with all the time. Lateness shows a tremendous amount of disrespect for the other person's time. When someone takes time out of their busy schedule to make plans with you and you cannot be bothered to show up or make them wait, it shows that you do not think their time is important. It shows that you think it's okay to make them wait, to make them feel uncomfortable, to put them out. You don't have to be there on the second but if you are five minutes late, let people know so they don't have to sit there awkwardly waiting for you.

Flaky people, you better run 'cos you're next!


@parallel-lines I can hardly believe the toll constant lateness took on one of my closest and longest friendships. I just got to a point where I realized I can't make plans with her anymore because I get too angry about her chronic lateness. The pleasure of her company legitimately is outweighed by a decade of making me wait 20/30/40 minutes for her every single time! So shitty, so disrespectful, sooooo easy to avoid.

Wait, I had something for this

@parallel-lines Arggghaosdjf. As a 5-minute-early type person, I can't even count the hours I've spent waiting for 10-minute-late people to show up. The first 5 minutes are no biggie, but the 10 minutes after that are basically all spent wondering if I've been stood up, if I'm in the wrong place, or if people generally don't respect my time. So here I am getting exponentially more anxious, worried, depressed, etc., and then they breeze in eventually (typically without an apology). I think it is a respect issue more than anything else. Luckily I have a pretty much on-time boyfriend, so at least now we get to wait forever for other people together.




Ugh, I am going through this right now. Where every time we hang out (when she gets there) I have to ask myself if the pleasure of her company outweighs the hassle factor.
@parallel-lines She is a big ol' flake too, so let me know when you go on your tear.


@Beericle you have all inspired me to make important changes.

miss buenos aires

@parallel-lines I don't even have any tardy friends anymore! Some of them have gotten more punctual with age, and I guess I must have kicked all the rest to the curb. I regret nothing.


@parallel-lines I became a 5-minutes-late person because of this exact anxiety, which is no real excuse but I still haven't figured out how to just be on time to things, my brain seems to only allow early or late.


@parallel-lines Agree agree agree. I try not to get super steamed about people being late, I try to tell myself that they don't mean it as a personal slight, because some people really do have a weird concept of time and just are late to everything, but...it's infuriating. To me, it's not hard at all to show up when you say you're going to, and if you know you need to build yourself a cushion, you could just promise to be there later and leave earlier? I just can't understand why it's so hard, we all have clocks and even alarms on our phones now.


YES. Lateness is not a pet peeve of mine, it is like a gila monster on fire in my spleen.


@yeah-elle I am actually starting to get anxious sitting at my desk because I'm filled with so much latent RAGE at late people.


I am chronically 15 minutes late. No matter what I do, when I leave, doesn't matter, fifteen minutes late. BUT I am constantly texting to apologize and say how close I am to the meeting place. Where does that land on the rudeness scale? Consider that I typically get the first round as an apology.


@Vicky Johnson Just as rude as if you weren't texting.

polka dots vs stripes

@Vicky Johnson I am chronically 5-10 minutes late, except for work things, where I am 5-10 minutes early (which somehow work people ALSO manage to turn into a bad thing!).

Living in LA was the best/worst thing for me ever: Traffic! There was traffic! and no one ever questioned it.

This is my new username

@Vicky Johnson Personally, my forgiveness would easily be purchased by buying me a drink, so potentially you might be okay. Although to me, 15 minutes is within the forgivable lateness time frame.

Emma Peel

@Vicky Johnson In the 15-minute range doesn't bother me (but I'm also a late person), but I hope you accurately report how close or not you are, because the "Be there in 4 minutes! JK be there in 4 minutes NOW!" stuff can grate.

Amanda Marcotte@twitter

@Vicky Johnson Super rude. Leave 15 minutes earlier.


@Vicky So rude. If it's a pattern and not a one off thing you know what the problem is and should be able to fix it. The other person/people have clearly made an effort to be there on time and you are simply telling them that they are not worth the same effort to you.


I have a person in my life who routinely misjudges/doens't care about other people's time. When he says "5 minutes" I have to ask "a real time 5 minutes or a you 5 minutes". I've heard him tell others that he is "on his way" when we are clearly not leaving for another half an hour or so. It drive me crazy and it has become a running joke. I on the other hand get to place early, just in case the other person is a few minutes early I don't want them to be waiting just for me.


@quimby I had an aunt growing up who was always late, like an hour or two late, to everything. Eventually my family started straight-up lying to her about the start times of holidays and get-togethers so that she would get there on time. This worked like magic, and I'm not sure she ever figured it out.


This takes me back to my college years (2000-2004) when some friends were starting to get cell phones but I was a holdout because I didn't want to pay for one. I had a friend who was constantly late and she was always like, "Well if you had a cell phone I could tell you." And I was like... how about you just keep your word, jackass.


I am getting way less tolerant of lateness as I get older, but I also rely on a very unpredictable transit system, so I should probably just chill out. (This will never actually happen.)


@anachronistique The T was created with the express purpose of making people late when they actually need to get someplace on time. I do the Elaine Benis silent screaming in my head thing all the time. Man, the T is the worst.


@lobsterhug One of the few benefits of a gas-guzzling 60 mile commute each day is that I get to scream at traffic out loud.

lavender gooms

@lobsterhug Man, the T has been apocalyptically bad the last week or so. On Wednesday I got twenty MBTA commuter rail alert texts, starting at 5:19 AM (My alarm goes off at 5:20, naturally). And they were all for different things! 3 medical emergencies! Signal problems! Frozen switches!

Thank god everyone else in my office has to take the T to work too.


@lobsterhug The rule of the T is that if you leave outrageously early to make plenty of room for mishaps, you will arrive at your destination outrageously early. If you leave with a reasonable amount of time to get to your destination, there will be mishaps and you will be late.

I can't tell you how many times I've left home with an OK amount of time to get a across town only to miss every bus/subway connection I have to make by mere seconds.


@lavender gooms The T was epically bad this week, for sure. My personal favorite thing is when you get to the platform and there are only a few people there, you hear the announcement that "The next train to Alewife is now approaching" or "arriving" and then it... doesn't. And then all the people come. And then you aren't at the front of the line to get on the train anymore and sometimes (like yesterday's ride home) you don't even get on the train that you were standing there for 8 mins waiting for! Le sigh. My blood pressure just went up while I was thinking about this.

It should be noted that in true T karma, I got a seat on my morning commute today. It's a serious love/hate relationship I've got going on.


@AmeliaBadelia Ugh, Wednesday I had to wait through THREE super-packed trains rolling past. At MGH. I couldn't feel my fingers or toes by the time I was finally able to get on a train.

But hey, this gives us something to small-talk about besides the weather, right?


@anachronistique I feel ya. I live in the DC area, and while my normal morning commute it pretty predictable, weekends will fuck you up. I work in Georgetown, and the Metro doesn't go there. I have to transfer to/from a bus to get to my office (or bicycle, which is often faster, but it is cold and dark right now). The bus ride should, in theory, take 10 minutes. However, depending on how long I have to wait (up to 10 minutes) and traffic, that 10 minute trip can actually take 30 minutes. Sometimes taking a cab is faster, because they make fewer stops, but again, traffic.
Then, on weekends, there is often track work, or again, just wait times. From my house to my part-time job should take about 45 minutes. Normally, I would say that means leaving an hour before I should get to the office, to have a nice cushion. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the Metro, plus about 30 minutes on the train. But if my timing is off, then I have to wait up to 20 minutes for a train, plus there's the possibility of other shenanigans, so sometimes that means I'm late even though I allowed extra time. The other option is to leave 90 minutes before I need to be there and just kill time at Dunkin Donut's if I'm early.

But I still hate being late and/or having to wait for people. I try to make allowances for traffic and suchlike, but oy.


@lobsterhug I can blame being 15 min. late to the December Pin-Up on the T...and I'm not usually late to stuff. Ugh.

every tomorrow@twitter

@yrouttasight I had to choose between two buses to get to class on time. One would get me to class on time IF AND ONLY IF it was on time and nothing went wrong. If someone tried to skip the fare and argue with the driver, or someone needed complicated directions, or there was traffic, or the bus ran more than 2 minutes late, I would be late to class.

The earlier bus would get me to class 20 minutes early if it was running on time, which SOMEHOW it always was.

My solution was to find a good coffee shop between the bus stop and class and buy a latte on my way in. It added 5-10 minutes on the post-bus end, and I got to class a few minutes early with a tasty drink, so I didn't mind waiting.


@Blushingflwr Oh, I feel your pain! I used to work in Georgetown while living in Silver Spring. And the trackwork, good G-d....


@anachronistique so I am at a huge conference in the town with the T - I waited like 20-25 min for my first train from the airport - and the wait time just kept freezing, and finally reflected the actual time left to wait - good to know this is a usual thing - so I give myself lots of time to get back to the airport


so am I! I was wondering if there were any other attendees of that conference here. I almost was late to a job interview because of ice on the rails & the related slowness and delays... just made it by the skin of my teeth. So nervewracking!! Give yourself extra time for sure - it's probably fine, but there are going to be more snow flurries tomorrow.


@harebell duly noted. if i weren't so stressed about jobs I'd say let's meet up. instead, i say, good luck!


thank you, and good luck to you, too!! or as they say more satisfyingly in Spanish, "¡mucha mierda!"


@harebell do I know you?


I doubt it. There are a lot of us at this thing, after all.

But I wish lots of luck to all the job hunters at the conference! It's rough out there.


Here are my thoughts (and I say this as a chronically (...hee) on-time person):

If there is an actual start time, like a reservation or a movie or something, be on time. Just...seriously, be on time.
If it's something like, "oh, we'll be at the bar around 7:00 if you guys want to meet up," you don't have to be there at 7:00, but don't text at like 10:30 and say you're on your way.
If it is MY BIRTHDAY, and I told you I was going to be at the bar at 8:00, and NO ONE shows up for AN HOUR and I have to BUY MY OWN DRINKS because everyone assumed someone else would be there on time, I will be cranky. (This makes me sound a little bitchy, I guess? I had a lovely time once everyone got there, I promise! And now I make absolutely sure that at least a couple people come to the bar with me so it doesn't happen again.)


@SarcasticFringehead The birthday thing! Happened to me too! Well, it was me and the boyfriend and another friend that came with me... but still! I felt terrible that they felt like they had to buy me drinks for an hour plus it started the whole "no one is coming everyone hates me I am alone" anxiety which is annoying. I'm sorry but I think showing up on time to birthday parties is way more important than for other parties, especially if its birthday parties of good friends.

Cat named Virtute

@SarcasticFringehead However! If it's your birthday and you say you're going to be there for eight, SHOW UP FOR EIGHT, and don't make me sit there awkwardly alone/with friends of yours I don't know while you're fashionably late UGH.


@SarcasticFringehead I like this. I am a chronically ten-minutes-late person who shows up like three hours early for flights because she panics about them maybe boarding early. Clearly I need to seek some balance.
Fortunately I am married to a very on-time person, so that has been helpful.


@terrific Oh, that anxiety. That is the best! (It is not the best. Especially on your birthday.)

@Cat named Virtute Which is exactly why I'm always early to my own birthday things by at least 10 minutes, which just exacerbates the above.

@smidge that is much like my husband, who is TERRIBLE about being on time to social things, especially if I'm not going, but is really good at getting to the airport on time, which definitely helps. (P.S. personally, I think ten minutes is right within the range of acceptable chronic lateness. 15+ minutes is where I start to get exasperated, and 30+ really starts pushing it).

Amanda Marcotte@twitter

@SarcasticFringehead I feel that your best friends and/or romantic partner are duty-bound to show up on time precisely for this reason.

de Pizan

@SarcasticFringehead My sister is one of the chronically late people, so much so that when planning anything with her, I've started showing up 20 minutes after the time she says since I know she won't be there (she's gotten slightly better since getting married earlier this year, but not much). Anyway, for my birthday plans last year we said dinner at 6:00 and then she hangs up. She didn't clarify if she was coming to my place or I was coming to hers; texted and voicemailed her a few times that day to find out which....and finally at 6:40 she calls to say, oops you were supposed to come here and we'll go to the restaurant from there. We didn't end up eating until 8:30 or so. So not happy with her.


@SarcasticFringehead My friends aren't usually that late to parties but I've found that having one or two who have promised to either come have dinner with you before the bar part or help set up (if it's a house party) takes care of that horrible "oh my god no one's coming" feeling.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Cat named Virtute Oh, god, this. I had a friend's birthday recently who said 8, so I showed up at 7:50 in case she got there early so she wouldn't have to wait alone. 30 minutes pass, I'm all alone, and then one of her more douchey friends shows up and has no idea who I am. (We've met like 10 times before.) After 45 minutes of incredibly uncomfortable chit-chat, I text her and ask "you still coming?" and it's another 30 minutes before she actually gets there. URGH!


@SarcasticFringehead Once I went to a birthday thing at a bar for a friend at 7pm, and I had a lovely time with all of our mutual friends for three, THREE, hours while waiting for her to arrive.

When she finally showed up at 10, she didn't understand why we were all drunk already and got huffy. Sigh.


Also Mr. Fringehead has a very poor grasp of how long it takes him to leave the house/how long it takes to get places, and it is sometimes very frustrating.


@SarcasticFringehead mine is like that too. I don't understand it. He can't get out the door in less than 10 minutes. Sometimes I'll listen to him make plans and say "I have to do x, y,z first so I'll meet you at 7" and I have to shake my head because there is no way he can physically do all those things and still get where he is going by 7. It is very frustrating to me.


@LJ6000 It's like he takes the absolute most optimistic estimate, without factoring in that he always ends up getting distracted by his computer or whatever. It used to really upset me, until I realized that he does it to everyone, so now I either deal with it if it's not a huge deal, or threaten to leave without him, which usually does the trick (or at least I'm on time).

This is my new username

@SarcasticFringehead This is exactly how Mr. New Username is too. He doesn't plan on leaving the house until the exact amount of time it takes to get somewhere. He is not familiar with leaving a couple minutes early to get somewhere. And he thinks getting ready to go time does not take actual time, but it does. SO for him, in his head is leaving with plenty of time to get somewhere on time, but in reality that is not the case. It has been some source of anxiety when we first started living together, because he then he makes us the late people. We are working on some balance with this.


I am almost always -- barring something horrendously wrong -- on time, or within a +/- 5-minute window for most things.

My policy? If I'm waiting for someone for more than fifteen minutes after the scheduled meet-up, I text with a cheerful "I'm here! What's up?!"

If they don't have a good excuse, and aren't there in another fifteen or so to boot, I send another cheerful text: "Ok, I'm having a great time here by myself with my book! Don't worry about coming out!"

And then, who cares. That's enough passive-aggression for a lifetime. And it feels pretty good.


I had so many friends in college that would show up late to everything. I can see showing up late to a regular party, but they'd show up late to a potluck dinner! How are you supposed to have a potluck with good food if only a handful of people show up on time and the rest show up later? Those of us that were punctual learned to set the time of the dinner an hour early so that we wouldn't be starving waiting for others.


@ohmy students at my university are never on time/never show up to things at all, to the point that official events always start 10-15 minutes late so that everyone can show up. This led to several of us being very surprised when my graduating class held an unofficial holiday potluck and everyone showed up and was on time.


My middle school orchestra teacher, on the first day of practice, wrote this on the board:

"To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late."

I've never forgotten it, and I am always on time, if not early.

Also, worth mentioning that being perpetually on time (or early) in my life has directly contributed to:

- two pay raises at two separate jobs (in both cases each boss pointed that out as one of the main indicators that I am responsible and that I deserve a raise)
- catching an ex in the act of cheating on me (hence the ex part)
- winning a $200 prize for being the 10,000th customer at a local store in my hometown (I arrived 15 minutes early, and 2 customers walked in after I did but before I was supposed to arrive)

Being on time: it pays!

the angry little raincloud

@Blondsak That middle school orchestra teacher also sounds like someone who would say, "I get more done by 10 am then most people do all day" or the like.


@Blondsak And not only is being on time/early sometimes rewarded, but being late can get you punished. A friend of mine - a professional woman in her 30's - lost her job because of chronic lateness. Her office gave her YEARS to fix her shit and despite chance after chance she just could not make it to work on time in the morning. Even worse (to my mind) was that she refused to ever take any responsibility, and would just rail on about how unfair it was that her boss expected her to be in the office by a certain time each day. The nerve of him!


@the angry little raincloud

He was actually one of the best mentors I ever had. When it came to this, he simply understood what dealing with 150 twelve year-olds at once usually means for productivity.

I'll give you this though: I don't think he'd say that about himself, but I know dozens who would say that about him.


@Blondsak My husband and his colleagues use this same saying when they shepherd 150 high school band and orchestra kids around Europe every other summer. It sounds kind of uptight, but it is critical to making sure itineraries are kept/planes are made/that one spaceshot kid doesn't get left behind in Dinkelsbuhl.


@the angry little raincloud It might seem passive-aggressive, but that is SO TRUE as a professional musician. I am guilty of losing track of time when there is a social situation, but when I'm doing a gig/working a job/going to rehearsals and performances, you can bet your ass this is my motto. I feel like it's even more unprofessional to be late as a musician than a typical office job.


My closest friends are late people. Drives me crazy. I began saying, "Is 7 going to work, or should we just say 7:15?" Now they refuse to say a time, and will only commit to a range. "We'll be there between 7 and 7:30." Makes me want to kill them. We don't do a lot of reservation-style dining, but I am sure they would care as little for the restaurant's schedule as they do for mine.

People. Do not do this. They are very dear to me, but I love them less for being juvenile and selfish. People are waiting for you.


@noReally That is selfish--I'm sorry, I'm sure they are lovely otherwise, but ugh. Sometimes that half hour makes a difference as to whether I can get other shit done or not, so, just effing tell me.


LATE PEOPLE. I am talking to you. Why are you always late? Do you have time management problems? Too bad, so sad. Figure those out. Why do you think we will wait around for you? Do you think you are so special and important that everyone will put things on hold until you grace us with your presence? YES I AM MAD.


@yeah-elle What kills me is that it is SO EASY to be on time. It is one of the easiest things. I do it all the time and it costs me nothing energy or money-wise. Obviously I also am mad.

Judith Slutler

@yeah-elle It's me, I'm a late person! I think it's because I am always doing one last thing before I leave the house. However I'm improving.

Also, I tend to think nobody will care if I show up or not, not that I am special.


@yeah-elle I'm not the best person to respond to this because I am so chronically punctual it mortifies me (e.g., I have to figure out ways to kill time before casual get-togethers to pass as normal). BUT. I once had a male friend who was charmed by feminine lateness (there are a ton of questionable gender norms going on here, of course), so when meeting him I periodically showed up late.

The truth? It was actually kind of awesome. Kind of like being a low-level celebrity. Instead of sitting by myself--the first to arrive at a restaurant or bar, waiting, checking my phone, checking the door--I just got to swan on in. There was always a little flutter of action as he'd stand to greet me and make a fuss about my arrival.

I could never do it routinely, but I can kind of comprehend how it feels great.


@datalass Yep, I had a friend (ehhhh) once who was always dramatically late, and always made a dramatic entrance to match, all "oh, I'm here, I'm here now, I'm soooo sorry, haha, you would never guess what delayed me!" I witnessed that spectacle a shameful number of times before I finally said fuck it.

Obviously not all late-comers are addicted to this entrance (whether it's subtle or not) but some certainly are.


@yeah-elle Time management, hands-down. I am embarrassed every single time. I hate it and I hate how it looks and makes other people feel. I just always think I have time to do more than I think I do, or I think things don't take as long as they do. Then I get in the car and look at the clock go "oh, shit."

I'm working on it (I *finally* admitted that I am high maintenance and it takes me an hour to get ready in the morning, which was a huge step), but my boyfriend suffers from similar time management issues so we're often waiting on each other to leave - so we are each late to things about double what we would be if we were single, if that makes sense. We have problems.


@yeah-elle YES! The Entrance! I will own the fact that I'm sooort of part of the problem, because I (used to) enable The Entrance. Because what choice do you have? Yell at them and then have a terrible time after you waited for SO LONG for them to get there? Or suck it up and be mad later, once you're done? I mean, now I know that there are different choices, but that took some time on this earth.

ETA: ALSO the on-time person has to do all the work of like, getting a table, saving a seat, watching the door, saying "no someone's sitting there actually" etc. And it is not pleasant and way funner to be able to skip that because your friend did it for you while you were "running a little behind haha".


@datalass Ah! You nailed it! The awkwardness of being "the first one here"- pretending to watch the television in the bar that is on closed captions, nursing a drink, trying to fend off creepy guys who see you as a lone gazelle on the Serengeti.

I have just started being late to meet friend who I know are chronically late to balance it out. It is nice to make entrance, but I don't like to make a habit of it.


@yeah-elle I used to be one of those people who friends would give a fake (early) start time to, just so I'd only be 1/2 hour late. Then, I started taking Adderall, and somehow now I'm on time for everything. It's freaky.

So, sometimes your bad friends are under-medicated! Solution - if they're late, push drugs on them.


@leastimportantperson Yes! I think late people don't even think about these things, probably because they've never been the first one there to anything. But it's basically like, the early person gets to be your personal assistant and get everything ready for you to have a nice time, whenever you finish doing that more important thing and decide to swan in and make your entrance. Must make you feel like a real celebrity! I would try it myself but I know being that late would make me crushingly anxious and guilty so I probably won't.

Nicole Cliffe

On the flip side, as an early person who sometimes has crazy things happen, like we all do, the feeling of being late is like hot pokers and boiling oil and roiling shame.


@Nicole Cliffe I really don't understand how people can live with the total, crushing hell-flame-panxiety of being late on a day-to-day basis


@Nicole Cliffe On the rare occasion that I am late, it honestly leaves me a sweaty, nervous, wild-eyed, near-to-tears wreck. Even when it is beyond my control and the bus is being a giant fart, I have to tell myself, "Shhh yeah-elle, stop checking the time. What will be will be. Shhhhhhhhh."


@Nicole Cliffe Yes, yes and yes to this. Another chronically early, chronically neurotic person checking in.


@terrific If it helps, I am a chronically sorta-late person who feels crushing painxiety every time.


@Nicole Cliffe This precisely. THE PANIC.

Barry Grant

@Nicole Cliffe

OCD impels me to arrive early to events. One of my best friends has her own charming neuroses, one of which is her inability to "change states", i.e., leave one place for another. She is also one of the most loving, intelligent, funny people I've ever known. So I learned to just deal with it. She's too sweet to bring up the maddening habits I have, so I call it a draw.


@Nicole Cliffe Yup. Some people downthread asked for tips on how to become prompt and punctual. For me the answer is "be absolutely terrified of the shame that will fall on you and your family if you are late." This is why I routinely show up for work twenty minutes early.


"Imagine if everyone thought this way." Some cultures do and they still manage to exist!

"To Westerners, time is a set of stripes drawn on the tarmac that is on the road on which we drive. They believe to drive at exactly constant speed, so they think they know exactly when we will cross these stripes. There is one big stripe every hour, a small one every minute, a very small one every second, and so on. Westerners feel sure the road is straight, regular, and goes on forever. Their journey stops when they die, but dying soon is not a real possibility to most of them. Their agreements with each other about future deliveries and payments are very precisely drawn on this tarmac. If they fail to pay or deliver at the moment their machine of time has reached the agreed tarmac stripe they are in big trouble and probably loose their customer and all his friends. So, agreements made often cause Westerners to be very nervous."


Uuuugh this GUY. "Seconds of my valuable time! We could be MAKING BUSINESS with this time! Showing up with your sandwiches, like non-Westerners. Disgusting. DISGUSTING. I OWN CLOCKS AND YOU WILL ABIDE BY THEM OR PERISH, YOU SLATTERNS."


PROBABLY NECESSARY CAVEAT there is of course such a thing as being too late too often, especially with friends, and it is often driven by selfish disregard for the feelings of others; no one is denying that is a thing that sometimes happens. But this AWFUL MAN is painting all lateness with the same terrible brush and he is a regular Salvador Dali mustache glued onto a fussy clock.

Judith Slutler

@melis OK I actually read the article now, and who ever expects NOT TO WAIT AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE. Fuck that noise.


did Cogsworth write this article


@Emmanuelle Cunt I wonder how much of his assumptions about time and respect and what kind of behavior he is entitled to are rooted in his cultural position!!! (the exclamation points are because I have an idea of how much that is!!!)


@melis "So, agreements made often cause Westerners to be very nervous."

I'm not a nervous person when it comes to agreements - I just don't like to be lied to! If a person says they'll be at a certain place at a certain time, I take them at their word. If they are late for any reason that is not of their own making I am always more than understanding (unless I figured out that they lied a second time to get out of feeling shamed, which sadly happens all too often). But people who are perpetually late are essentially lying to me over and over again. Ultimately for me, this is about my personal feelings about respecting your friends/family/other humans and telling the truth.


@Blondsak That's such an intense way of looking at it, though! I know very few people who are late because they love lying to their friends and then just wait in their car or whatever to fuck everyone over. I think that some people, when they say "let's do a thing at 8," think to themselves "this is a goal we've loosely arranged for ourselves that we'll modify as circumstances change" and some people think "THOUGH I BE BLEEDING FROM A THOUSAND FACIAL STAB WOUNDS I WILL SEE YOU AT 8:00 EXACTLY AND ANY DEVIATION FROM SAID TIME MEANS YOU HATE ME."


@melis I would hardly call it intense, though I know you and others do, and that's okay! I'm sure you have expectations of others that I would also call "intense" and tell you to chill out about; that's not the point though. The point is that it is an important factor for me when it comes to choosing who I spend my time with; just because it seems silly to you doesn't mean it necessarily should be silly to me.


@melis Also, I feel right now like I'm risking the wrath of evil melis and it's kiiiiinda freaking me out.


@Emmanuelle Cunt On the one hand...yes. I expect to wait at the doctors office. But on the other hand...it is total bullshit that waiting for ages at the doctors office has become the norm. We made this appointment weeks (or even months!) ago. I have taken the time off work to come here, I have busted my hump to make sure I'M here on time or early. If I AM late for some reason, I risk forfeiting my appointment time entirely! And am sometimes charged a fee! Yet it's perfectly normal for my doctor to keep me sitting and waiting for an hour or more past my appointment time?


@Blondsak Evil Melis just texted to say she's on her way she'll be here in like 5-10 if traffic's not bad


@melis MAN, I wish I could like your first response to @Blondsak more than once.

Also, I start to bristle at people who think of my tardiness as a marker of whether or not I am a trustworthy person or a person worthy of friendship.

Does the fact that I'm usually 15 minutes late negate the fact that I am the friend who will let you sleep on my couch when you and your SO break up? Or that I will bend over backwards to find you that awesome Christmas present? Or that I am the friend that you KNOW you can come to for realtalk advice that is never the less sympathetic and tactful? I completely balk when I read that y'all have stopped being friends with people for tardiness; in my mind, I'm like "Does 15 minutes of tardiness really outweigh those other benefits of having me as a friend? Shoot!".

I guess it does, for some people. Which, okay, cool. If you want to denigrate my worth as a person/friend because of my tardiness, that's fine for you. Neither of us needs a friend who we feel is disrespecting us.


@melis It's funny, because what you said to @Emmanuelle Cunt down below is EXACTLY how I feel about people being late, I just didn't put it as well as you did. Brains - why can't they all work the same?

evil melis

anyone who is ever late even once - even once - hates their friends and is a monster who cavalierly lights the feelings of strangers on night-fire. they shall be Punished. o yes they shall be punished. i needed those four minutes. i needed them for my minutes tower. my minutes power of perfect punctuality and perfect solitude. i call it camazotz. where everyone is always on time. working in perfect unison. hello, neighbor. thank you for your punctuality. thank you for your punctuality. the tardy shall have their skin removed. my time. my time. i own all time. you cannot borrow it for your lateness you disgusting meatbeast



"Neither of us needs a friend who we feel is disrespecting us." x1000 yes yes yes. Anybody is free to drop me as a friend at any moment. All I would hope is that they in turn see past my need in friendships for punctuality, to the fact that I would also let them sleep on my couch, bend over backwards for gifts, talk to me about anything, etc.

Pet peeves, we all have them! One of the eternal beauties/frustrations of life.


@melis Yes! It's not like I'm sitting at home looking at my watch like, "Let's give it another five minutes, just to see them squirm." It's more like-- I walk into my bedroom to grab one last thing, immediately forget what I went in there for, see a pile of laundry, decide to put it away, and then at [some time] (because I don't really have an internal clock that can sense how much time has elapsed) I glance at a clock and go "Eight o'clock. Eight. Was I supposed to -- FUCK!"
This state of being is causing infinitely more problems for me than it is for you, I promise. I already know that it means I don't get to accomplish more than a handful of to-do items each day, that I have to deal with perpetual embarrassment, etc. And according to these comments, it also means I don't deserve to have friends? SUPER.


@wee_ramekin I don't speak for all Perpetually Prompt 'Pinners, just myself, but I would never end a close friendship over lateness, nor do I think lateness always negates an otherwise great person's awesome qualities. If I've got plans to meet my boyfriend somewhere, I now expect to get a text from him at the pre-arranged meeting time saying, "Oops, sorry, leaving the house now." Happens all the time and because I love him and think he's the best, I accept it. It's the price of admission, you know?


@Jinxie I would never end a friendship, but I would start reconsidering what events I even want to bother inviting you to.

@melis I get what you're saying, but "I think that some people, when they say 'let's do a thing at 8,' think to themselves 'this is a goal we've loosely arranged for ourselves that we'll modify as circumstances change'" is a sack of bs. If I am on time and you are late and don't tell me until the arranged time has passed, WE are not modifying the plans, YOU are modifying the plans and leaving me out to dry. How is that a good friendship?


@melis To me it depends so much on what the friendship is already like. I know I sound like I'm totally building a minutes tower (give me your minutessss melisss) in my other comments, but a lot of people's lateness so doesn't bother me at all, and I'm happy to wait for most of my friends. For real! But there are a few people who just are always really late even in really important situations, and they often have seriously insulting excuses.

Anyhowz, you can find me in camazotz if you need me.

Julia duMais

@melis this is one of the greatest comments I have ever seen, except that Cogsworth's blog would be so much more delightful than this, and Lumiere would have five different accounts to leave trolly comments with, and now I am sad that it doesn't exist.


@wee_ramekin I have friends who are perpetually late. It's how they are. I've seen what causes it (they're a married couple, each individually can be on time but they make each other late). But they would also come fetch me at 2 in the morning if I needed them to. So, yes, it's annoying, but everyone has annoying traits. If I'm going to stop being friends with someone over lateness, it's really not just about the lateness - it's about the rest of the relationship. Either we're not close enough for me to know about the rest of your awesome traits, or you have done enough other things to signify that you don't care about me/my feelings.

Also, @melis's point is really great (as usual) that it's about different expectations. Different people have different expecations about what it means to be on time and how important that is, and we don't always have frank conversations about it. So the person who thinks "let's meet up at 8" means "I will be there at 7:55" is getting annoyed with the person who thinks it means "sometime between 8 and 8:30" who thinks the first person needs to loosen up.

de Pizan

@Jinxie I've run the office in two medical clinics, and we were usually very good about staying on time. But I can tell you that almost every time the doctor got behind, it was because of the patients (although I've heard horror stories of doctors who were purposely late because they thought it made them seem busier/more important, the doctors I've worked for definitely aren't like that). Either the patients were coming in 15 minutes late, or getting there and saying oh by the way, I got in a car accident and this is going on that medical claim--despite always asking on the phone if this is a new problem/injury, which means lots of paperwork and the doctor having to do an exam, etc. And once the doctor gets behind with one patient, it can set a whole domino effect for being late the rest of the day, especially when we're really busy. And maybe it's because I hate lateness so I make sure the front office is always on time and doing absolutely everything to keep the doctor running smoothly, but we are always mortified when a patient has to wait more than 10 minutes.


@Jinxie Seriously: I don't mind that much when I have to wait at the gynecologist, because sometimes she's, like, delivering a baby and my schedule does not really enter into consideration. But why the fuck is my dermatologist always an hour late? And why is that my problem instead of his?

Springtime for Voldemort

@wee_ramekin I don't really care about 5 or 10 minutes late. 5 minutes late is within the plausibility that your T-Mobile says it's 7:55 while my Verizon says it's 8:00, and then 10 minutes is just 5 minutes with our phones not synced. 15 minutes is sending me a text territory, but not a big deal. It's really the constant 30+ minutes, or the never sending me a text saying you're gonna be a couple minutes late that gets to me. It also depends a lot on the specific event: I have a lot less patience for being 10 minutes late for a show than I do if we're meeting at the bar, or if you're just coming over to drink with me on my couch as we gab.

Having said that, I know that with parties, times are theoretically more flexible - a NYE party that starts at 8, most people will be there by 10:30, but it freaking drives me nuts. "Fashionably late" is 20 minutes; 45 if you're going for some drama. If everyone is fashionably late by a couple hours, for the first hour there's exactly 3 people who don't know each other, standing around nervously trying to sooth their social anxiety by eating some cocktail shrimp without looking like pig, waiting for the other 40 people to show the fuck up already. (This last bit was directed at no one in particular, but also everyone in particular.)


Some of us getting cancer screenings at the dermatologist. :(
I have gone to the dermatologist in the past for one of my routine check-ups and had him say, "ok, we're doing this impromptu surgery NOW! please sign the waiver form and i will go page the nurse for anaesthesia immediately."

And I have to admit I really hate talking about going to the dermatologist because for me it's 3-6monthly melanoma screenings, but you sometimes get attitude from other people when you talk about it, because they assume that you are being high-maintenance and it is for some non-fully-essential acne or complexion thing, when actually, no.

Life, punctuality. Dermatologists. Not always simple.


@harebell You know, that's fair -- I've never gotten that urgent of a result from a Mole Search, so it hadn't occurred to me. But in my guy's case I'm pretty sure the problem is mostly that he overbooks his appointment slots.


@melis Also, he is an idiot because prat is not spelled with two t's.


Ah nooooooo. I promise I try! I always try. :( (I am also late for some friend gatherings because all my friends live at least an hour away and schedule things so that I have to leave directly from work to try and get there on time, and then I get stuck in traffic, and then I'm late. :( It makes awful feelings in the pit of my stomach because I feel like everyone will hate me, even though I do try. And apparently I'm right! Good for me.)

This is my new username

@frigwiggin I think it depends on context a lot. I think for most people the people that are late for EVERYTHING ALWAYS no matter when, no matter where, are the people that the hate is geared towards.

I also think giving the heads up of "hey guys I work until 5:00 and will have to head to this straight from there so I'm going to be late" is a perfectly reasonable thing to say when plans are being made.


@frigwiggin It's context. If I know a friend is leaving work and might get stuck in traffic, and they're late, it's okay. I think it's also worth mentioning ahead, like "hey I might be a bit late because traffic was HELL last time, so just a heads-up!" It'll give you a bit of peace of mind, at the least.

An example of when it's not okay: If a friend has a regular plan to pick me up at 8 from a location that we both know is only a 5 minute drive from their place, and they know I'll be there at 8 and we both know it's fucking freezing outside, and they still manage to show up at 8:10 every time, then it's not okay.


@yeah-elle This precisely. Like when my family gets together for a picnic, the people driving 2.5 hours to get there get a lot of latitude. The people staying 15 minutes away and who promised to stop at the store to get the rotisserie chicken (the main course)? Not so much latitude.


@yeah-elle Yep. It's ALL context.


I have strong feelings about lateness, but I also think that non-late people need to mitigate their time losses at some point. I have friends who are consistently late ("Let's meet at the bar at 8" means sometime between 8:15 and 8:30), and I'm usually awkwardly early, so after I realized it was a chronic thing, I just started making myself be late too or bringing a book or going ahead with whatever with the people who were there and not worrying about how late they were. And maybe they are all still rude and selfish, but I don't feel so pissed about it.


@professionalmess I have a really hard time being late even when I try. I just get so anxious waiting around!

Angry Panda

@professionalmess Yeah, this is how I deal with it too. I try to get everywhere 5 minutes earlier than the time we agreed on, because I hate being late, but I realised I wouldn't have any friends left if I stopped hanging out with the ones who're chronically late. Now I'm just prepared to wait alone for at least 15 minutes, turn up with a book, get a coffee... and wait. Getting mad about it was only a waste of my time and energy.


@meetapossum Me too. The times I force myself to be late, it's just so...uncomfortable, even when I know that I am still going to be the first person there, even if late. But I guess maybe that is how late people feel when they try to be on time? I don't know. It just makes me super anxious to look at the clock and see that it's 5 minutes after the time I was supposed to be there, and I'm still not there! And I'm not even an especially anxious person, otherwise.


@thatgirl Deleting comment because it's actually rather petty. I just... don't like being late to things; it makes me feel ill.


I have been late to just about everything for as long as I can remember. I can't really explain it, I'm just insanely disorganized and absent-minded. I can get to work on time (usually!) because I have A System, but a one-time social engagement is kind of a crapshoot. I'm not trying to waste his time-is-money or maliciously force him to sit at a bar in his own (apparently miserable) company. It's just a difference in personality and if he wouldn't want to be my friend over it that's fine, because he sounds like a jerk.


I am usually 5 minutes late if I am meeting someone in a bar/restaurant/coffee shop. And, I know this is crazy and inconsiderate, but it's because I am TERRIFIED of getting there before the other person and having to stand around awkwardly.

If we are meeting at your apartment, or outside the bar or something, I will probably be 5 minutes early to on time. But please PLEASE do not make me sit at the bar alone. :(

(Note: I've stopped doing this sometimes now that I have a smartphone and can read a book or pretend to look busy).

But anyway, I'm saying this because lateness is often associated with arrogance, but sometimes it is also social anxiety. Getting to a party when it's still kind of empty and none of your friends are there yet is terrifying.

Cat named Virtute

@klemay Ha, I have kind of a reverse thing. I'm visually impaired, and have super bad night vision and am really nearsighted, so I HATE meeting someone in a new place when they're already there (especially bars, but other places too) because it's means I have to FIND THEM. I would much rather show up early and chill out with my book or phone and a cocktail and have them show up a little late, to mitigate the anxiety. Just ask @teaforall about when this happened at a Montreal pinup and it resulted in us having two separate tables of pinners.


@Cat named Virtute Clearly we need to hang out. It would be a beautiful friendship! We can plan for you to show up first, and then I can find you and no one has to be anxious!


@klemay This is interesting, because my anxiety is the opposite and causes my annoyance when people are late! Basically, I have a "socialization threshold", and after a certain point I need to be done with people. So if someone shows up 45 minutes late, I resent being forced into that "mandatory pleasantries" period when I was all set to make my goodbye rounds and leave. Super-late people tend to stretch out events too long for me--of course you're down to hang for 2 hours when you arrived 2 hours later than everyone else. But that's a problem with people at the extreme who expect the party to begin when they show up, and certainly not applicable to the majority who are like 15 minutes late.

(First comment on the 'Pin--eek!)


Ugh, guys, I've made a new friend in the past six months or so who I always like but who is perpetually, RUDELY late EVERY SINGLE TIME we've ever made plans to hang out. The type that says "I am out the door! Be there in 10 minutes!" when she is actually still doing her makeup or whatever. At that point it's just lying and I think I should probably stop hanging out with her, which makes me sad... because I need more friends.


I have friends who are chronically late - once they made a group of us wait for AN HOUR for dinner. What I do now is give them a 15 minute grace period - if they haven't contacted me to say that they're running late or are not there within that grace period, I leave.

Tammy Pajamas

I have a good friend who is chronically late. She had her baby in her car: the only time her lateness was funny (everyone was fine).

Judith Slutler

So what is everyone's lateness grace period? As a late person, I tend to go for like 15 minutes as ok.


@Emmanuelle Cunt It's so different for different situations, I think! My basic threshold for Is This Person Attempting To Honor The Social Contract? is basically: are you making a good-faith effort to be within +/- 15 minutes of the agreed-upon time? If you can't for whatever reason, are you doing it because you don't give a fuck about me or because it's genuinely hard for you to estimate how long some things take? Are you being nice and communicative about it? Also, you know, it's just time. It's okay. They'll get there eventually!


@Emmanuelle Cunt Coming from the standpoint of a lateness hater, it totally depends on the situation. Going to a party (not a dinner party) has the most leeway, meeting for drinks has a fair amount (you hit the lights wrong/couldn't find parking/ bus was late, ect) which means 10 minutes isn't crazy.

If it's like a movie or a dinner party where more people are waiting on you, patience runs out faster. Does that make sense?

Emma Peel

@Emmanuelle Cunt Agree that it depends on the situation. Under 10 minutes usually falls into "don't apologize, don't explain" with my group of friends no matter what. More if you've warned in a general way that you might be running behind.

Reading the vitriol in these comments, I think we're also way more relaxed about this than others are. We also tend to meet in groups so one person is rarely sitting on his/her own, and ~30 minutes late to a group meeting at a bar for drinks really just isn't a big deal.

Restaurant reservations are the one where I think being on time is really important.

Also, showing up to house parties on time = a thing, or no? My friends and I always go late, but "late" has shifted back from "11 if it starts at 9:30" to "10 if it starts at 9:30." The only parties I show up for right on time are usually at good friends' apartments, where I'm prepared and know where enough stuff is that I can finish helping set up, etc., if necessary.


@Emmanuelle Cunt - Depends on romantic attraction to the person who is late.

Non-existent? 5-15 min, depending on situation.
Existent, one way? 15-20 min.
Reciprocated? I mean, same as anything else, but damned if it doesn't feel like forever when it's only half a minute.

Judith Slutler

@garli That totally makes sense! I think I'd rather just cancel if I were to be 15 min. too late to a movie.

@Emma Peel Showing up to house parties on time is not a thing in my world, unless people have been drafted to help out with something. I think everyone I know would freak the fuck out if their apartment were suddenly full of people at 9 PM!

Also, I've started doing dinner parties a couple times a year, and if I've got over 10 people coming over I actually appreciate it if there are a few stragglers, I usually plan a half-hour window for everyone to arrive. It's kind of a nightmare if everyone is trying to take off their coats and hand me salad bowls and hug me hello at the same time.


@Emmanuelle Cunt It depends on the situation. If it's a dinner date and we have no other plans and won't lose our reservation, 15 minutes is fine. If you're picking me up from the Metro and I told you I'd be there at 8 and I have to stand outside for 15 minutes? I'm gonna be annoyed.
If the event we're going to has a specific start time, then no, don't be late. When I'm going to the theatre with friends, I usually set an arrival of 30 minutes prior to showtime, which means that you have a little bit more grace period, especially since I can pick up the tickets and such. Being late to a baseball game is less of a big deal than being late to a movie which is less of a big deal than being late to live theatre. Also, if your late ass means that we missed our dinner reservation or tour or something? Then I will also be pissed.


I had a friend who did peace corps in Africa for two years, and always laughed away her lateness (like, hour plus lateness to coffee) with saying she was still "on Africa time." Because according to her Africans are super late to everything. Which is fine IF YOU'RE IN AFRICA, but she'd been back in the states for two years, and had grown up here for 25 years before peace corps. And we're not friends anymore, because it turns out her unapologetic lateness was not a cultural leftover, but a symptom of her general selfish disregard for anyone not her.


@Bayou So my family is Cuban. My grandparents (from Cuba) are SUPER PUNCTUAL, they would prefer to arrive a little early rather than risk being late. Or a lot early. While Miami is more laid back than other places I've lived, if you make an appointment or tell someone to arrive at a time, generally this happens just as much as in more time-conscious places. To me Cuban time has always been about the long, lazy dinners/drinking rather than impacting everything in your life.

One time my grandparents got invited to a wedding and were told it started at 7. They got there at 7 and didn't recognize the bride and groom at the altar. Turned out that was the wedding happening before the one they were invited to. The family laughed and said they told them an hour before the wedding because "lol Cuban time!"

tl;dr: ______ time is a bullshit excuse. People in Africa (which, uh, is a whole bunch of countries with very different cultures so I'm like, Kenya Time? Algeria Time? South Africa Time? They're all gonna be very different!) can be just as late/punctual as elsewhere when making plans.

ETA: Not that the Africa thing is directed at you, just a general peeve about how people talk about Africatown, Africa. I had a lot of friends who "went to Africa" but never the same country....

the angry little raincloud

Can I bitch about people who are early? Not when meeting someone OUT (that's fine: be as early as you want, as I'll never know, since I'll be there 5-15 minutes, plus or minus, within the agreed upon time, based on the cooperativeness of public transportation that day), but when they are coming to visit my place?

I am one of those people who is frequently scrambling to get places on time. (Or not.) I'm one of those people stuck on an uptown train, forever. I'm one of those non-morning people, so chronically tired in the morning, etc. Basically, maybe these are excuses, but I need all the time I can get.

So don't show up early to my place! I rarely invite people over in the am (this is mostly family members), but if you say you are showing up at 11 am, DO NOT SHOW UP AT 10:30. I'm probably still in bed. I would have been ready at 11. I'm not ready at 10:30. Or 10:50. If I say come over at 7:30 pm, don't show up at 7. I don't home from work until 6:45 (or later, depending on subways/buses), and I need time to, I don't know, pee, shower, make things less disgusting, whatever.

Judith Slutler

@the angry little raincloud OMG THIS. A friend of mine was showing her apartment to someone because she was leaving for a month and wanted to sublet it, and the potential subletter rang the doorbell half an hour early! What would possess someone to do that?


@Emmanuelle Cunt
Emily Post actually says if you are going to someone's house, the polite thing to do is be 5 minutes late to give them a little extra time in case they are running behind.


A similar type of aggravating friend is one who doesn't know how long things take, eg, who says "I'll be there in 15 minutes" when they are about to embark on a 30 minute trip. If you have a smartphone/have made the journey before, you can tell how long it will take.

fondue with cheddar

I was habitually late when I was young, and in more recent years have tried hard to change that reputation. It has worked, but now I get stressed out when I don't have way more time than necessary to be ready for things because I am so afraid of being known as the late person again.

This weekend my sister-in-law asked us to meet them for dinner and I said I could be there in an hour and a half. She thought it was ridiculous that it should take me so long, but I don't want to promise that I'll be there in 45 minutes, rush, be held up by something, stress out, and be late.

Also, now I'm 15-30 minutes early for work every day and I'm usually the first one here.


I am never to rarely late for things, unless it's a purposeful, I don't want to be the first one at the bar/restaurant/party kind of thing. But I still usually end up being early. But the flip side to this is that I cannot for the life of me get out of the house without a firm deadline.


I'm usually late, and I get really mad at myself about it. For me it's a combination of over-promising and compulsive behavior.I say "I'm on my way" when I'm not because I know someone wants that to be true and I want to make them happy. And sometimes I decide to empty the dishwasher when I need to leave the house right now. I think it's all related to anxiety. I wasn't like this when I was younger and I used to hate late people, but I think the behavior usually stems from something pretty deep, so I just try to forgive myself and other latey-lates. (I also try to be on time -- I'm not a jerk.)

Stephanie Boland@twitter

@kate.m Thank you for this- I think I understand a couple of my friends a little better. I'd never thought of it from that perspective.


I am a thrower of dinner parties. Not potlucks or simple affairs- full blown dinner parties with multiple courses. If you are invited to said event you are expected to be on time (I do include a buffer in the invite time- everyone should have a cocktail (or two) before the first course). If you are horribly, inexcusably late then that is the last time you will get a dinner invite. Period. It's beyond rude.

A few summers ago I was throwing a very serious, multi-course dinner party for 16 people. 6 of which decided it would be okay to show up 1.5 hours after the start time. Everything had to be put on hold and we ended up dining in the dark because I'd set everything up outside and had limited outdoor lighting. I was livid.


@Kirs I think one of the solutions to that is to start without the late people. On the invites, tell people that dinner is served at 8 (or whatever) and they are welcome to arrive any time between 7:30 and 8, and then actually serve at 8. If you show up at 9:00 and all the cheese is gone, too bad for you. I think holding things for late people helps enable the behavior.


My mother is, at a minimum, 45 minutes late for everything, and usually 1-2 hours. We've been up to 4 hours late for family events. This made me completely OCD about being on time when I was younger, and then perversely has made me more lax as I got older. Like, oh, I'm 20 minutes later than I thought I would be? Well, it's better than the time I missed my college orientation because we left the Bay Area at noon for a 3 pm event in LA.

I do at least try to communicate accurately! Which is better than the "five more minutes while I do my makeup" bs my mother pulls when she's not even out of bed.


@sophia_h When I was a kid my parents once invited a friend of mine to join us on a road trip. Her mom dropped her off early in the morning because we said we wanted to be on the road "by ten" or something like that. We left at like, three pm the next day. She's still a friend and still gives me shit about it.

Cat named Virtute

Gah, I used to be rabidly punctual, but then I became a university student who actually got invited to shit, and it was socially Not The Thing to show up on time for a house party or group gathering, and now I feel like the rules are all mixed up as we awkwardly grow out of that! Parties are anytime a half hour after the start time, bars are a window, meals are a set time, though I have a handful of friends who are bad at this, movies are a bit early... I'm not chronically late, but it happens (thanks rule anxiety and a transit system that routinely features a choice between fifteen minutes early and seven minutes late). Please tell me this gets easier once we're done being awkward twentysomethings?


I hope this isn't already mentioned (I'm in a bit of a hurry) . As a chronically on-time person, I found chronic lateness seriously affecting my friendships. I think what I found most frustrating was that whenever the late party arrived, I was obliged to get caught up in whatever drama led them to be late. I wanted a little empathy for my situation-- e.g., taking up a table for 4 in a crowded restaurant while getting the evil eye from those waiting to be seated, but it was always all about them.


@kefuoe sometimes I wonder what those late people would do without the early friend who holds down the table for them, you know?


This whole post is making me anxious. I have so many feelings on lateness because I am Always On Time and I have sooo many friends who are Always Late.


@meetapossum This whole post is making me anxious for a different reason!

I am Always Late (usually by ~15), and I just realized that Pinners are not My People. According to a lot of comments, the number of Pinners who I can no longer be friends with has skyrocketed from 1 (ChrisRoberston@facebook) to All The.

ETA: Woah, I did not mean for that post to sound super whiny or like I am asking for pity. I just genuinely did not realize that me being 15 minutes late to a friend's house or to the bar or whatever was such a source of aggravation for people.


@wee_ramekin I can handle 15 minutes! Especially if it's a regular thing, I can at least figure out what time to actually be there.

It's the people who always call last minute "Oh, I'm on my way!" and I know it's going to be another 20 minutes at least. I could've been in my warm apartment for an extra 15 minutes and now I'm waiting outside, or at a table alone, for an unforeseen amount of time.

But, can I ask why you're always 15 minutes late? Why not just get ready 15 minutes earlier? I honestly am just really lost. Maybe if I understood the motivations of Always Lates I could sympathize more.

(I can't let a mention of Chris Roberts@facebook go by without a FUCK YOU ASS TARD.)

Emma Peel

@wee_ramekin yeah, I feel the same way. I'm often 5-15 minutes late, as are a couple of my friends. Maybe Early People and Late People just cannot be friends?

Also, if any of my friends are as upset about timeliness as some of these 'Pinners are, I would hope they would say something about it, since as a group I think we're pretty easygoing about this as long as, say, hard-to-get restaurant reservations aren't involved -- but maybe I've had it wrong all these years.

Julia duMais

@wee_ramekin In fairness, this post is specifically going to draw people who have very strong feelings on the topic! It's harder to get worked up and yell about YOU GET TO MY THING WHENEVER YOU GET THERE (WITHIN REASON). I'm sure there are plenty of 'Pinners who really don't care that much one way or another! Or too embarrassed to say anything because they're also frequently late.

You can hang out with me, I'm...not chronically late (I think of myself as chronically late, but I really am not, now that I think about it, although I may be atrociously early), but I live a good 30-60 minutes from the majority of my friends, outside of the metro area (and the reach of the trains), and traffic is so invariably awful that everyone understands that setting a time in stone is really not do-able if we want to stay sane.


@meetapossum Haha, I can't think of him without thinking about his writings about the girl who "drew patterns in the condensation of her exhale on the window", or whatever it was.

You may definitely ask the reason for the chronic lateness. I've been thinking about that since I started reading all the intense reactions that Prompt Pinners have been having on this thread. For me personally, I think it stems from a lot of things (watch out...this turned into a long read!):

1. Time Management / Concept of Time - I don't think I have a very good concept of how long it ACTUALLY takes me to do a thing. Also, I tend to get easily distracted.

2. Lack of Factual Knowledge of My Own Capabilities - I often think I can do more in a set amount of time than I actually can. So I'll be getting ready to go out and then be like "Oh shoot! I should wash those dishes before I leave! It will only take me five minutes!". It...does not ever "only take five minutes", I think.

3. Anxiety / Procrastination - Deadlines or firm time commitments OF ANY KIND - even time commitments for enjoyable things like coffee with a friend! - make me feel slightly anxious. I honestly don't know why that is. My natural way of dealing with this anxiety is to procrastinate, which obvs doesn't help with being on time for things or time-management. On the other hand, when I DON'T have the pressure to complete something by a certain time, I can usually get a lot done in a really productive way...

4. Personality - I honestly do not give even the smallest shit if someone is tardy for something. I say "tardy" and not "late" for a reason; I would be *royally* peeved if someone showed up an hour late to a reservation at a restaurant. Also, this is not true for professional things. ALWAYS be on time for professional things! I am still often late - because of Above Reasons - but it embarrasses me to no end and I know I'm in the wrong.

If I tell friends to come over at 7:00, and they don't come 'til 8:00, then bully for me! I just got more time to read/surf the webs/cuddle my pup/clean! I don't view it as them disrespecting me, or lying to me, or not prioritizing my friendship. I figure that they're my friends, they like me, something came up, and that they'll show up. If they are later than, say, 30-45 minutes, I'll worry that something bad happened and I'll text; but even if they just say "Sorry! Running late!", my honest reaction is "Oh, okay, cool!". Meting out judgement on someone's character based on whether or not they are timely seems incredibly unreasonable to me, and I tend to view folks who do as unbending and uptight.

5. Natural Rhythms(?) - Ha, sorry. That sounds kind of "woo-woo". What I mean is: I have a *really* difficult time getting out of bed. I can stay up until 4 in the morning no problem - even on very little sleep - but waking up any time before 10 is genuinely very difficult for me. Getting to work on time is a constant struggle because I can't seem to help hitting the snooze button; in the moments right after being wrested from sleep, it ALWAYS seems like I can sleep for "just five more minutes". And then I hit the snooze button for the next 45 minutes to an hour. I have been like this my whole life! I don't know how to change it. ;_;


@wee_ramekin This is very helpful! (I actually snorted when I read "Natural Rhythms.") I didn't even consider the anxiety issue until Sea Ermine brought it up below, and it's helped me to calm down a bit. I am not SUPER CRAZY ANAL about everyone being on time, it's just perpetual and excessive lateness that drives me nuts, even after I've explained that it bothers me. Everyone gets a 15 minute window, and then I start getting annoyed. A text is always an immediate assuage, but I have friends that don't even do that, or, worse, text a completely impossible estimate instead of their actual time of arrival. At least then I could get coffee or stop at the store or do errands or whatever, instead of being completely awkward waiting somewhere. I think we Prompt Pinners have a sense of "our time is valuable, too," and frequent lateness can come off as disrespect for that.


@Julia duMais "YOU GET TO MY THING WHENEVER YOU GET THERE (WITHIN REASON)" hahahahahahaha, the thought of someone shouting this at the top of their lungs actually made me snerffle my water.

@meetapossum I completely understand that. Myopically, it wasn't until a few years ago when the boyfriend of my always-punctual sister talked about her need for punctuality as a need to feel respected by others that I realized that other people actually have feelings about lateness.

This discussion and the comments on this post have given me a lot to think about!

This is my new username

@wee_ramekin I really think that is verrrrry context specific and getting stuck in situations where it is incredibly awkward to have someone always late make people have FEELINGS about it. Being 15 minutes late getting to a friends house for a casual, non-meal get together, not a big deal. Or to a bar where there are several people who know each other are going to be there, fine. If you are constantly late in the way that makes people miss agreed upon movie times, miss theatre shows, have people awkwardly hold tables alone in a busy restaurant, or the hold up dinner parties, that's when you get into anger causing territory. Also, it it involves plans for meals, people get cranky when they are hungry, so what can just be mildly annoying at not hungry time, can be GRRRR ANGER on an empty stomach.

I have a friend who falls more into the latter category and it incredibly frustrating. I love her, but man it is annoying when basically every time we hang out, we have to change plans and find something else to because we missed the movie/the coffee shop is closing/we lost our reservation. It is exhausting.

B. Arthur

@wee_ramekin For some folks, including me, there is also #6: self-sabotage, or setting oneself up to fail. I have made huge improvements on a lifetime of chronic lateness (thank goodness my friends mostly laughed it off, but bosses sure didn't) mostly by addressing its roots in therapy. For me and maybe likewise for others with low self-esteem, it can be a way of just starting everything off on the wrong foot, of proving to yourself that you suck. The idea of giving myself the gift of being on time, making the claim that I was worth it, was huge. I definitely hate lateness from the outside and like others see it as disrespectful of others' time - but it can be symptomatic of disrespect of oneself, too.

Jennifer Culp

@wee_ramekin You and I are tardy twinsies. Let's be friends and always miss the previews of movies together.


@wee_ramekin Are you secretly my best friend? She has the same morning sleep issues, same totally bass ackwards concept of time, and same inability to judge her own capabilities, which in college meant I was always 5-10 minutes early for a class we shared all the way across campus from my room, but she was always 5 minutes late and her room was visible from the classroom!





@wee_ramekin omg this made me laugh so hard ahahahahaa!


@wee_ramekin Aw man, that would have been a whole heck of a lot funnier if I had used a picture that came through.


@Jennifer Culp Let's do! Except that I love previews, and am constantly cursing myself that I can never make it to watch them all...


@wee_ramekin It showed up in my e-mail which kind of made it better? still kind of snorting about it!


@wee_ramekin You might actually be my mother.

purple monkey dishwasher

@wee_ramekin You are me!!! I cannot stop hitting snooze in the morning, so much so that I will hit it for like a full hour (if not longer). It drives my husband BONKERS. I am late for everything, including my own wedding. Oh, and we missed our Honeymoon flight! I feel bad about it but I just can't change.


@meetapossum Agreed. It particularly bothers me when I've gone through the trouble of driving and paying for parking to meet someone who lives close to our destination and then end up waiting. If my first thought when you finally show up is, "How can I keep this visit under 37 minutes so I can avoid needing to walk 4 blocks to feed the meter?", it doesn't bode well for our friendship.


@wee_ramekin Hello lateness doppleganger! I try so hard not to be late because I know it's rude and my social circle is small and I want to keep everyone in it, but somehow every time, I think "Oh, I completely have time to sleep in/re-braid my hair/check my email again". I never actually have time for any of it. It's so embarrassing.


@This is my new username Oh lord, you make such a good point about the hunger. If we're just getting coffee and catching up, or hanging out over drinks? No big deal, I have stuff to keep me occupied, if you're more than 15 minutes late I would like a text just so I know you're not dead in a ditch. If it's brunch and I haven't eaten yet that day? Be on time or I will have a meltdown. Which is probably quite unreasonable! But there it is.


@wee_ramekin Yes, your entire explanation for lateness is totally dead on for me. (And I have the same natural rhythms!) Thanks for speaking up... I was pretty taken aback by the rabid anti-tardy comments on this post!

Plant Fire

ON TIME PEOPLE!!! Please show me your ways. I have been trying for years to become someone who is not chronically late and I just can't do it. I've gotten way way better at it than I used to, in the past couple years I've narrowed it to being 15 minutes late rather than like, an hour and a half late. But it's still so hard and I can't find any information about how to become someone who arrives places on time!

I think my biggest issue is that I have no concept of time. By that I mean that all time feels the same to me, like I can't tell the difference between 5 minutes and an hour. I could be sitting waiting for someone for 2 hours and to me it will feel like 15 minutes. Or I can start doing something and say I'll be done in 5 minutes and genuinely believe that and think that I've only spent 5 minutes on it and it will have been 30 minutes. I also space out without realizing it, and so time goes by where I'm just sitting and trying to figure out everything I have to do and an hour will go by and I'll have no idea until I see the clock.

So far what I've been doing is setting alarms for everything. I wake up 2 hours before I have to leave in the morning (all I do is eat a breakfast I made the night before and take a quick shower and get dressed) and I prepare everything the night before and I try to set alarms for how long each thing should take me but still I end up late. I also always get super confused and distracted and overwhelmed when trying to go somewhere or get somewhere on time and then I'm thinking about how to calm down or figure out the things I need to do and then time just disappears away from me while I'm still getting sorted out.

It's so frustrating because I know (especially after reading the comments here) that everyone hates late people and I want to make friends and not get fired so I need to fix this but I can't figure out how. I prepare everything in advance, I make lists of everything I need to do, I just can't figure out how much time I need to do things. I also don't understand when I need to be somewhere. Like if my sister tells me we're going to the movies and the movie starts at 9pm so I arrive at 8:55 thinking I did something good because I have gotten there with enough time to go in and find a seat before it turns 9 but then she's still mad at me for being late even when I got there on time. And so that adds another layer of confusion because it's already hard to get somewhere on time and then when I do it's still wrong? Please someone explain this to me I really want to fix this.


@Sea Ermine Do you go on the computer while sitting around waiting for stuff to start? That is the ultimate time-waster that ALWAYS turns into Being Late. I see that you're already adjusting for earlier wake-up/prep time, so can you explain to me what's distracting you?

Anyway, with movies, you've got to be at least 15 minutes early to get a seat, and up to a half hour if it's a new movie!

Judith Slutler

@Sea Ermine That sounds intense! Here are some things I do to mitigate my own lateness tendencies:

- Make sure there is a clock or my cell phone in my line of vision when I sit down for a task, so that I can't forget to check the clock

- Make sure I am carrying a map so that if I get lost I can get found easier again (considering how much of an issue this is for you, you might want to actually buy a smartphone with gps)

- Realize that you don't have a concept of time and enlist people to help you, say, if you only want to spend 5 minutes on something ask a coworker to come get you in 5 minutes

- Relatedly, if your sister says "the movie starts at 9" then ask her, "So should we meet at the ticket counter at 8:45?" or something, get her to give you an exact time to arrive.

Also maybe see if you can talk to a doctor, some of the overwhelmed stuff sounds like you may be dealing with anxiety issues?


@Sea Ermine This sounds a lot like me, and I see a doctor about adult ADHD. You don't mention if you've ever been diagnosed, but if it's not just lateness but also distraction/confusion/"losing time", and you feel like it's a real problem, then you definitely have cause to think about medication. I'm on Ritalin, which is far from a cure-all, but it does give me a window each day in which I can at least hope to get things done.

Stephanie Boland@twitter

@Sea Ermine I'm a chronically early person and want to give you a massive hug! Maybe I can teach you my ways? One easy point re: the movie situation is to always clarify place and time to meet ('so, quarter to under the clock in the foyer').

I also like to over-plan everything; I check a journey planner for trips I make and then get the train/bus a couple earlier than the one I 'need' to be on to arrive early. So say I need to be there at 6, and the planner suggests I get the 5:10 train to get in at 5:47- I go one earlier. Obviously this is slight overkill, but as a 'naturally' disorganised person I find it relaxing to have padding in my schedule. It also helps with being distracted and overwhelmed if every glance at your watch is a reassuring 'oh, I'm way ahead of schedule'.

Turn off your computer while getting ready; like @meetapossum says, it's the easiest time sink. I also repeat my 'task list' under my breath or in my head, so that when I'm in the shower I'll be muttering 'right, breakfast, phone/wallet/keys are in my bag, need to get my laptop'. Saying things out loud to yourself may help? Also maybe check if other parts of your routine take longer than you expect- washing the breakfast plate, drying your hair etc- you need to analyse it right down if you do it every day.

Plant Fire

@meetapossum I make sure to power off and then unplug and put away my computer (I put it in a box so I can't see it out) before I go to bed and after I'm done using it since I know it can be distracting. I think the main thing with me is that my own brain distracts me and then because it's inside my head I don't realize it's happening. I'm a very anxious/easily stressed person (recently found out it's because of a heart valve issue that makes me more sensitive to adrenaline so there may be a fix for it) and I like to be very organized and I want to be on time so I get overwhelmed with everything I need to do. My other big issue is not understanding how long things take and also getting lost (like, on the way to a place) but I'm going to ask my very on time boyfriend to help me make a chart of how long everyday activities take me to help with the first one and for the second I just bought a cell phone with gps so hopefully that last one will be fixed soon.

Flora Poste

@Sea Ermine This might sound patronising, but seriously, do you wear a watch? Because then it is so much easier to check the time in the morning than constantly looking at a clock or your phone.

Also, maybe having a time that you ABSOLUTELY have to leave the house in the morning, whether everything is done or not really helps to prioritise- like, you wouldn't leave the house without brushing your teeth, but not filling up your water bottle or straightening the kink in your hair won't put too much of a dent in your day. (Can you tell I'm speaking from experience here?!)

Also, your sister was a little unfair with the whole cinema thing!

Emma Peel

@Sea Ermine OK. First of all. Take a deep breath! You are bad at time; you're not a mass murderer.

Now: do you wear a watch? Buy one, and check it often. The best way to develop a concept of time is to keep checking the time. All the time. Check it when you get up in the morning, look at it when you get out of the shower, look at it when you're done getting ready for the day. These things take the same amount of time every time you do them, and if you do this, for, say, 2 months, you will figure it out. Write it on a post-it note on your mirror if you have to. "Taking a shower takes 20 minutes. Drying my hair takes 20 minutes. Putting on makeup takes 10 minutes. Gathering misc stuff takes 10 minutes."

My ex-boyfriend and I used to sometimes play a silly game if we hadn't checked our phones in awhile to guess what time it was. He was almost always right, within a minute or two. And I got much better at this the longer we did it. (And I still play the game on my own even now.)

In the morning: set a drop-dead time for when you leave the house, whether or not everything is done. Set that drop-dead time so that you are arriving everywhere 10 minutes early. If you leave with wet hair, you leave with wet hair. No more "one more thing." Use Google Maps if you need to to figure out how long it will take to get there.

I am also really bad with time, in that I perpetually forget there are intermediate steps/forget how long things take. (A big one for me on this: Getting to work also involves waiting for and going up the elevator and taking my coat off etc! Meeting friends also means looking for parking and walking from the parking place!) So if you're at the movies at 8:55, maybe you need to wait in line, get concessions, etc. Again, making "on time" = "15 minutes early" helps with some of this.

Also, your sister sounds like she was being kind of a jerk.

Plant Fire

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yeah, I recently found out that the anxiety issues are connected to a heart valve problem that makes me super sensitive to adrenaline which explained so much about...my whole life and my reactions to things and so hopefully I can get some medication for that. You're point about having a clock in front of me is a great one though, I think it will help me stay on task and also give me a better concept of time (because I can make a note of how long each task took me so I can plan better in the future).

Emma Peel

@Emma Peel And I see Flora Poste said a lot of what I just said earlier!

Angry Panda

@Sea Ermine From your description, it sounds like we're very similar. However, I am almost always on time when I have agreed to meet people, because I've figured out a system that works. If it is something I'm supposed to go do on my own, then I am almost always delayed. Like if I want to go shopping and plan to leave at 3 pm, I end up leaving the house 3 hours later.
Anyway, what I do is plan every last detail of my trip, but I work it out backwards. So if I have to be somewhere at 9, I figure out when I need to leave the house to be there 15 minutes (or one bus or tram connection) earlier, and then I calculate when I'd have to wake up to be able to shower and get dressed. And then I set my alarm an hour or two earlier so I have my snooze time. You sound like you do most of this anyway, so I am not sure what is making you late?
So this is why I used to get annoyed when people kept me waiting(now I am trying to be all zen about it). It takes a lot of effort for me to be on time everywhere.

Plant Fire

@Emma Peel Oooh I like the post it note idea! I can't wear a watch because of sensory issues but I'm going to start carrying my phone in my hand when I'm out and tonight I'm going to go and pick up a bunch of small cheap clocks to stash all over my apartment so that way wherever I look there is a clock in my line of sight.

Also, I think banning the "one more thing" will be really good for me in the future. It could be my new years resolution!


@Sea Ermine Here are my thoughts:
a) turn off the computer, because yes, I am an early person by nature, but it is very easy for "5 more minutes" to turn into 15.
b) I would suggest (as I see @distrighema did) talking to your doc about adult ADHD/ADD. The zoning out you describe seems like it might be a symptom.
c)Maybe do a time study on yourself? Like, set a stop watch when you do various routine tasks, do them at your normal pace, and then see how long it actually takes to do them. This will help you schedule your time more appropriately.
d) when meeting someone, be very specific about what time and where you will meet them. One of the problems is that people have different ideas (from personal preference, cultural/family expectations) about what time you should arrive for things. For me, if the movie starts at 9, you should be there at 8:45, but my boyfriend is perfectly happy to be buying tickets at 8:59, because he considers the previews cushion time. So when making plans with your sister (or anyone else), the aforementioned advice to be specific is good. Say "okay, the movie starts at 9, I will meet you at 8:45 by the ticket counter" or something similar.

Plant Fire

@Angry Panda I think my big issues is that when I work backwards I calculate the times all wrong because I don't realize how long things take and don't account for the fact that things take me longer than most people because of anxiety issues. So I think getting a better idea of how long I need (via some tips I just got in this thread, I'm writing everything down!!) and also setting many alarms to keep me on task will help.

Angry Panda

@Sea Ermine That makes sense. It took me a while to figure that out, too. I just realised that sounded a bit rude, sorry! I should have read more carefully.

Plant Fire

@distrighema @Blushingflwr I think ADD/ADHD is definitely at play here. Pretty much everything I read connected to ADD (especially the inattentive and hyper-focused types) sounds just like me but the main reason I haven't seen a doctor yet is because I heard that if it's adult ADD they need to talk to parents or relatives who knew you as a child to see if you had the symptoms then. And I did have the symptoms then but my parents, despite being lovely people, have a tendency to remember things incorrectly (by deciding how people are/should be and then remembering them that way) and they also don't believe ADD is a real thing or that it applies to me so...I didn't think I'd be able to get a diagnosis. The only person who'd be helpful on this is my boyfriend and maybe my sister because they are the people who know me well and know me correctly.

Flora Poste

@Emma Peel Great minds!


@Sea Ermine I would make an appointment anyway. I don't know about the adult diagnosis specifically (I was initially diagnosed as a kid) but I can't imagine that they NEED to talk to your parents.

Also, if you do get diagnosed, be sure to mention that you have a heart condition before they write a prescription. Some medications can exacerbate that.

Julia duMais

@Sea Ermine It depends on the doctor! Mine did ask me a bit about my parents and family -- both of my parents suspect that they have it, but neither has pursued formal diagnosis or medication -- and I took in a checklist of symptoms from some site or book or other, which helped me to verbalize exactly what behaviors/issues were causing me problems (to my doctor's amusement, I had put several exclamation points next to one of the items because it was SO TRUE!!!!!). Maybe make a handy little bullet-pointed list to take with you? My meds have changed my life, omg.


@Sea Ermine

1. Set timers. If you truly do have five minutes before you need to leave, set a timer on the stove or your phone for the time remaining, once you have everything else ready to go. Then stop when the timer goes off, even if you aren't finished. Timers are a basic behavior mod that really helps a lot of people with ADHD related issues. I don't have ADHD, but find they really remind me to either stay on task, or walk away from a task if I've been spinning my wheels or getting nowhere for a while. If I'm not ready within 30 minutes of when I need to leave, I'll set one on my phone to go off every 3-5 minutes. It's about pulling me out of whatever thing I've been distracted by and getting back on the task of getting dressed.

2. Set limits for your bedtime. You know you're capable of staying up until four. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Get an eyemask and earplugs if your environment isn't conducive to sleep. I made a rule for myself that I do not start a new TV show after 9pm. I watch everything online, so with that rule in place the latest I'm ever getting ready for bed is about 9:45. Also, no TV, phones, or laptop in bed. Books/Kindle only. Your brain will start shutting down on its own without the light on a backlit screen to stimulate it.

Regina Phalange

@Sea Ermine I know I'm way late to this discussion (oh, the irony), but one thing that's really helped me is the blog Unf*ck Your Habitat (unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com). Every night, the blog author reposts a list of "to-do" items to get ready for the next morning - it sounds like you're already doing some of them (having your bag packed, clothes laid out, etc.), but it's always nice to have a reminder!

I also don't "feel" time very well - and as others have suggested, the only helpful remedy I've found is constantly checking my watch. Not having a good sense of time is a handicap for us, but in general, I can work around it, if I'm vigilant.

And if it makes you feel better, I think our handicap is a bit of an advantage in some situations. I have friends who are VERY conscious of time, and I think for them, that can be unpleasant. A friend was recently 45 minutes late for lunch, and although it was inconvenient and I did communicate I was a bit frustrated, the time didn't "feel" like 45 minutes. So that's an upside :)


When I studied in Scotland for a semester during college, our cultural orientation included an important point for the Americans: If you are invited to someone's house at 8 pm, it is rude to show up at 7:50. in fact, your inviter may tell you the invitation is "8 for 8:30," which means show up anytime between those two times, but NOT before. That's right, the early birds were the culturally rude ones. Just, you know, food for thought.


@SuperGogo Oh Scotland. I knew I liked you.


@SuperGogo I do think that 15 minutes early is WAY worse than 15 minutes late. If you're late, I can have a drink while I wait for you; if you're early, I may not be wearing pants.


@SuperGogo - but that's someone's house. That's different than being late to dinner out. Though I do have to fight with myself not to arrive at the exact start time when I'm invited to someone's house for dinner/a party/whatever.


@Blushingflwr I realize that a dinner reservation is different than a party and there's more importance in being on time for the former. I just wanted to illustrate that being early isn't always a virtue. It's funny that you have a hard time not showing up when a party starts, because I always feel suuuper awkward when it's just me and the host/hostess for 45 minutes before anyone else gets there. Not to mention the host/hostess might be still running around a bit frantic because s/he was counting on a 10-15 minute grace period to finish preparations before anyone actually arrived.


@SuperGogo I'm so used to being on time/early to meet people out, etc, that it is counter to my normal behavior to intentionally be "late". I agree about the awkwardness factor, though usually if I'm going to someone's house it's someone I'm really close friends with and I can pitch in with getting things ready. My social circles don't seem to tend to do as much in the way of hosting people at home as we do with meeting up at other venues. Depending on where someone lives/how I got there I am willing to hang out in the car/lobby/neighborhood for a few minutes to kill time if I'm there before the stated start time. I'm still usually the first person to a party, unless it's one of those parties that lasts all day or I'm double-booked for the day. And on the very rare occasions that I have people over (I am a terrible housekeeper), I am ready for them to arrive 10 minutes before I told them to, and then I have to find something to keep me occupied while I anxiously await their arrival.


@SuperGogo *scribbles down notes furiously in my "Things to know when/if I move to Scotland" journal*


@SarcasticFringehead I'm a congenitally early person, but I will always go walk around the block a few hundred times before showing up to someone's house early. I'm incapable of being late, but I generally will go find something else to do in the vicinity if I end up getting to the place more than 10 minutes beforehand if it's a bar or whatever, because I don't want to sit there by myself staring into space for 15-20 minutes, PLUS the 15-20 the other person is going to be late.


The hubs is a chronic late dude, and his family always gives him a "special" time so he's close to on-time for things. but I'm chronically on time or early, so i've been taking that time literally and showing up when everyone's still in their bathrobes. Kinda funny <3

Stephanie Boland@twitter

As a Brit in my 20s, I often feel like the socially awkward one for being on time (NOBODY is ever on time). Obviously I'd never show up early to someone's house etc, but is it really okay for people to routinely leave you sitting waiting now? Eurgh.

Clearly I have a lot of feelings about this.

Stephanie Boland@twitter

@Stephanie Boland@twitter I should probably clarify that it bothers me because I feel very awkward about sitting alone- I don't really resent my friends for it. A lot of them are just terrible time-keepers with no ill-intent.


@Stephanie Boland@twitter I don't even want to talk about Britain. The whole country is late to everything! The first train I ever boarded from London to Bath was 45 minutes late. That's just a new train!


@Stephanie Boland@twitter Yes. I am a horrible waiter, and always have been. It makes me anxious to have to wait for people (whether this is in a waiting room or waiting on someone to pick me up), I think partly because I am afraid that I will miss them. This is why I never go anywhere without my ipod and kindle.

Stephanie Boland@twitter

@meetapossum I went to Switzerland this summer*. MY PEOPLE

*Not for this reason; I'm not that anxious about it, yet.

Stephanie Boland@twitter

@Blushingflwr That as well, but I think mostly I just feel sort of... uncool?


@Stephanie Boland@twitter My German housemate and I would have frequent ranting sessions about public transit in England.


Man, I used to be an on-time person until I found myself adjusting to one chronically, outrageously late friend (30-45 minutes late to meet up, always.) My adjusting to her started making me late for other people in my life! I took to the lateness like someone who dabbles in heroin then becomes a full-blown junkie in the course of a week.

It doesn't help that my job is fairly casual about start time so I can waltz in at 9:30 with no repercussions. I just need to delineate what it's OK to be late for (work) and what isn't OK (almost everything else.) It's getting worse as I get older and my I-don't-care attitude grows. But I do care about my friends and I'd like to stop being a big a-hole. Basically I just need someone to kick my ass into shape in this and other areas of my life. 2013! On time every time!


A psychiatrist who is a patient at my office told me he is always prompt bc it is the most basic way to show respect for someone. I agree.


@cd My psychiatrist is legit 20-35 minutes late for every. single. appointment. but he is awesome and challenging and caring and helpful, which I ultimately find far more meaningful than punctuality.


While we're talking about etiquette, could we all please agree to cover our mouths when we yawn? Thank youuuuu.


I am notoriously on time (though not always to work in the morning because I am very bad about the "5 more minutes" thing in bed). I had a friend my whole childhood who was pretty much always late (I had a couple of these, actually, but one was her parents' fault). I would go to pick her up and she would not be ready at the agreed upon time (whereas I will be ready 5 minutes - at least - before you said you'd get me). So one time, in High School, I was going to meet her and I wasn't early (since I knew she would not be ready) and she called my house to see if everything was okay.


My grandfather, of blessed memory, was the opposite of this: he was routinely 2-3 hours early for every family event. It got to the point where, toward the end of his life, we started telling him that dinner/Thanksgiving/seder would start 1-2 hours later than the actual start time so that he'd only be an hour or so early.

I am generally one of those compulsively early people (and I always bring a book or a magazine, plus I have my smartphone now so there's always something to do). I think I don't take a particularly firm line about lateness as a result, although I'd certainly rather we were all there at the same time. Although, when it's a habitual thing, that does get annoying over time.

paper bag princess

My dad is an Always Early person and my mom is a Usually Late person. Also, I have spent a lot of time in Central America, where being "on time" doesn't really exist and I was regularly like two hours early for everything. Every time I made plans with someone I would ask "Dominican time or American time?" [Dominicans have the most, er, flexible sense of time, in my experience]. Consequently, my sense of time is totally discombobulated and some days I am very stressed about being early/on time, and other days I'll be super late. There doesn't seem to be a pattern for which things my brain wants to be early for.

Also most of my friends tend to Late, and we rarely set fixed times for when we hang out. If there's a dinner reservation or a movie or something in play, I'm definitely on time or early, but usually we just hang out at each others' houses and there's no set time for anything.

paper bag princess

@lizzle Also, though, since I have been unemployed my friends have teased me about being too on time -- I guess when I don't have too many other things going on, it seems more natural to be punctual. My Late friends are slightly annoyed when I am on time to everything, but, I just always bring a book.


Chronically late, it's terrible, I do it, I'm sorry.

BUT PEOPLE: DO NOT show up at my goddamn parties on time (BING! It's 7! Here I am entertain me!), not if you're not an intimate friend. Of course this is not as rude as being late, but when someone you don't know well rings the bell and you're still putting on mascara and sweeping the floor holy hell.

Lateness can be a VIRTUE goddamn.


@When robot unicorns attack I did this once. I was like 35 - 45 min late. whoops. too early.


@RNL I completely disagree. It drives me nuts when I host a party and no one shows up until an hour after the scheduled time. My room mate and I just sit there, with all the food laid out, music on, drinks chilled wondering where the hell everyone is and when they're going to bother showing up.

(Sorry, I may be a little frustrated about my party last weekend)


I am also perpetually late. I have ADHD, which sounds like such a cop-out I know, but I really do have poor organizational skills and time-management and I beat myself up every single time I'm late to something. I'm better at it than I used to be (yay behavioral modification!) But I've still occasionally shown up 15-30 minutes late having had to compose myself in the car from crying over being late YET AGAIN more times than I can count. It isn't because I'm trying to be disrespectful or that I don't value the other person's time. It really isn't. I don't mean to be rude! But I consistently underestimate the amount of time it will take me to be ready, or do something, or get out the door (if I even get out the door in one try.)

I've had many friends who just...tell me to be there earlier than I need to. Yes, I am an adult. I understand what this means.

So, many apologies on-time people! Some of us try, we really do!


@bowtienation how can I say this to you and all people - if it is a thing with a friend, I will say so (lateness, jerky partner, etc). If it isn't a big deal for me, then I won't. Let's all be emotional adults!


Yes, actually it is a minutes tower. I've made time out of my precious day to spend with you, in your precious day. I have a lot of really pressing and stressful things going on that you may or may not know about. I assume you have a lot going on, so I'm going to respect your time. I hope you will respect mine.


And in case I have to spell it out, some people have to hire baby sitters, find care for elderly relatives, take time away from ill loved ones, leave work undone...etc. etc.

So if you can't be bothered to get your mascara done on time, just be honest and say you can't make it.


@Legal I think some late people don't take into account the "added time cost" they put on others. If we meet for lunch and you're 30 minutes late and we planned to spend about an hour eating, I spent half of our original hang-out time just waiting on you. If I have an appointment, paid a meter, etc., we can either rush through the meal awkwardly or just go home without eating (then I'm hungry and have wasted money).

I have a feeling super-late folks conceptualize time in general terms, e.g., "Patsy and I are having lunch in the afternoon", while punctual folks,f or various reasons, think about discrete time blocks, e.g., "Patsy and I are having lunch at 1 tomorrow--should be finished by 2:15."


@Simtow That's a great way to describe it! I never really thought about it before, but that's exactly how I plan my days/next few hours: "I'm meeting Sam for brunch at 1, we should be done around 2:15. I can walk down the street and get my nails done, 2:25. Half an hour, 2:55. Walk home, take a shower, 3:45. That gives me an hour before I have to meet Bob at the movies at 5:00 (20 minute walk to get there)."

Pseudo Pseudonym

I see some people mentioning the alarm clock issue. I don't understand how people cannot find alarm noises incredible irritating. I've been roommates with people who hit the snooze button 15 times before getting up and it's driven me crazy. I totally understand getting distracted and being late but setting your alarm an hour before you expect to actually wake up is just beyond me. I've been seriously ill and seriously overworked and can understand needing a backup alarm but every day? How do people avoid turning off the alarm in their sleep?

Most of the annoyance at late people is directly proportional to how uncomfortable the waiter is, so I feel like when you're causing other people to lose sleep it quickly gets to the rage flames stage.

This is my new username

@Pseudo Pseudonym @Pseudo Pseudonym I actually get used to alarm clock noises and they eventually just stop totally waking me up. The more used to a noise I get, the easier it gets to just hit snooze with only half waking up, and then it becomes easier and easier to snooze more and more. I actually need to change the ring tone on my phone alarm fairly regularly to keep getting out bed. I still hit snooze at least 3 times though. It's just what it takes to get me out of bed most of the time.


I'm an On Time person, but I can live with lateness. Whatever, people have stuff going on, I usually have a book in my purse anyway. What I can't stand is being strung along -- the series of texts/calls/whatever saying "Oh, I'll be there in fifteen minutes!" and then twenty minutes later "Whoops haha just ten more minutes! This time I really mean it!" and so on. If you honestly have no idea when you're going to get there, say so. Otherwise, give me an honest estimate so 1) I can decide whether I'm willing to wait and 2) I know how much time I need to kill.


Wow, I really don't get this at all. I don't know if it's living in a large city where journey times are predictable to within 30 minutes but no more, but I don't know anyone who takes specific times ("let's meet at 8") to be anything more than an approximation, unless it's for something like a film or play/ballet/opera where we have tickets and there's a start time. Everyone I know just carries a book or magazine to read on the train or bus, so killing time isn't a big deal. When I have a party at mine and tell people it starts at 6, I don't expect anyone to turn up until around 7-7:30. "I'll meet you there at noon" means "I will almost certainly be there by 12:30, probably". Getting there at 11:55 would be SO BIZARRE to me. I don't want to go "oh ha ha, is this a European vs American thing, CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, ha ha", but...is this a European vs American thing?


@Kerry@twitter To explain: sometimes killing time isn't a big deal, but what about when you're hungry? Or it's really cold out? Or you're alone, and there's a creepy stranger nearby? Or you have something else scheduled for later (or you're paying for parking, or for a baby sitter, or you need to get back to some freelance work)? While I do enjoy reading books/magazines, it wouldn't always be my first choice of how to spend a given block of time, you know? I've got a lot of other stuff I need to do! I've decided I can put some of it aside for a chunk of time to see someone, but apparently they've decided on their own that they're more important than anything else I might have to do.


@Jawnita I think it's because it's impossible to predict how long journeys will take - if you schedule enough time to get there at or before the agreed time, you might be the one sitting there for half an hour with the creepy stranger and no food, or whatever. So "meet you at ___" are more implied windows of ~30min after.

Another part of it might be just that I don't see 30 minutes as such a crucial amount of time - to me <30min is "buffer", and if you're so incredibly important and busy that you can't spare half an hour in your jam-packed day, bring your work along with you maybe?

But I recognise that a big part of this is the difference between living in a city where everything is served by extensive public transport, and in one where people drive or walk to where they're going, because even the best public transport makes precise arrival times impossible.


@Kerry@twitter Mmmm, that is why I build in extra travel time, though? Like, "best case scenario: this subway trip will take 30 minutes. Worst case: it takes 1 hour. Therefore I will leave 1 hour early." Because more often than not, the subway is going to be f-ed, and it's going to take an hour. I don't really get the "Oh, screw it, I'll get there sometime this afternoon and they can just wait for me" thing.


@WaityKatie I've had a think about this and figured out what it is for me:

Since precise arrival time is impossible to predict within a window smaller than 30min, *someone* is almost definitely going to be waiting around. If you leave enough time to almost-certainly get there on time, you also might end up sitting there for 25 minutes because everything went perfectly.

So it's more fair to set a window of time, and both (or all) people aim to get there in that window. That way everyone has a roughly equal chance of being the one sitting around, and if you meet up regularly, it's likely that will be spread around the group or pairing.


@Kerry@twitter Also, I will add that I think being late with a valid reason is perfectly acceptable, and that "the subway is f-ed" is a valid reason. It only infuriates me when I struggled to get somewhere on time, and then the person hasn't even left his/her house because there was something fascinating on the computer, her hair wasn't perfect, someone more interesting called, etc. That's the kind of lateness that just says "My time is more important than yours." If it's traffic or subway or a thunderstorm or you spilled something on yourself and had to change or whatever, that's much more acceptable to me.


Sorry, just read the second half of the comments - @SuperGogo, yes - that's what I mean! Also, I really love that they included that in your orientation. That's a really smart thing to realise they need to tell people about, but that wouldn't necessarily be included in an orientation package, so WELL DONE YOUR UNI basically.


Ok, so I am one of those people who's sometimes a little late (5-10 minutes, later if it's a non-dinner party) and sometimes on time. I am also from a Latin country. However, I currently live in North America, where attitudes are a bit different (well, sometimes! It's hard to gauge.) I'm not using this as an excuse for my occasional lateness, but rather to explain how a lot of people in the world see time. It's an entire mindset, and very different from American/Canadian ideas of time.

Basically, to me and people from my home country, timeliness and punctuality are relative, and depend entirely on the event, the person, and the setting. That is to say, we know that you have to be early to say, cultural events with set times (the movies, the opera, the theatre.) So, when we go to the opera, we try to get there a bit early, to ensure that our tickets work and that we get in and that there are no problems. Similarly, we know that transit often doesn't work in our Home Country, so if you're taking the subway to catch an international train, you have to be early. (This is one way in which we are better with time than North Americans, I find, who typically expect things to work, or at least, kind of work, and thus are more easily floored when things break down or whatnot.) For social engagements: always turn up slightly (5-15 minutes) late if it's coffee, a group get-together at a bar. etc. When we set up appointments for casual meet-ups, we use time as a sort of approximative goal, not an absolute limit. If it's a house party, show up an hour late, minimum. Anything earlier is rude as fuck. It's assumed that multiple things will have gone wrong in the party set-up, and that the host is probably not wearing pants, even at the start time of the event. If it's a dinner party, between 5-10 minutes late (because again, we assume that things will have taken a bit longer than ideal) unless the menu states that you're having the following: duck, souffle, or roasted chicken. In any of those cases, you must arrive exactly on time. For the doctor, be 30 minutes late. There's no way s/he see you before then. In my home country usually if you turn up early to an office, an appointment, etc., you'll find that the person isn't even there. Don't do that. Also, showing up early to work etc. isn't really a thing--we're not like North Americans, in that we tend to prefer a work-life balance in which someone with a 10-6 job is actually only there from 10-6 (this has recently started to change.) That's not to say that we're lazy, but rather, we don't find it a virtue to always be in the office, or working, or whatever. We value balance. Hence our surprise when North American colleagues do projects early, or show up to the office an hour before opening (typically you can't even get into the building) or whatever. We respect their dedication but find it puzzling.

I am not trying to excuse perpetually, inconsiderately late people, but rather explain what our version of "Latin time" is. I find that people (especially Americans) often assume that we're always hours late, and that we're just too stupid to get anywhere on time, and thus, that we require extra hours to do anything, since we're so slow/lazy. I just want to clear up that misconception now.


@boxlady in my experience it also depends on where you are - in which country, in a city, in the capital city, in addition to what you are doing. and, less frustratingly, there is a system (ie in several countries, as a foreigner, I could figure it out, and know when I would have to show up on time only to wait, when I should be late, even if I didn't always get it right) whereas at home, I somehow find it more difficult.



Ah hahahahah! It sounds like we hail from the same (or a very similar) place, boxlady.

That said, as someone who's typically a little bit late, I make an effort to not always be late to things. (But it does require a pretty big effort, and change of mindset. It's hard for me think of time as an 'absolute limit' as you said.) I'm usually pretty chill when my friends are a bit late, as I expect it.

THAT SAID, I had a friend who was always effing late to things. But she didn't restrict it just to being a bit late. The longer I knew her, the less punctual she was (gah!) Then, it became her showing up 2 hours late. Which then evolved to her refusing to tell our hosts we had to leave an event, because 'she felt we had to stay' (even though we had another commitment afterwards.) Which then led to her only sometimes returning phone calls, or emails. Which then became her only sometimes letting me know when she was in town/confirming when she was around to hang out.

Finally, she blew off a really important appointment with me (when I'd taken steps to make sure she wouldn't!) and when I sent her a really firmly worded email about it, she got mad at me and accused me of being 'angry and mean'!!!!! Ughhhhh. Eff that shit, man. I don't mind lateness, but in the above situation, it clearly was more about this person's complete inability to take into account another person's time/commitments/life. We're not friends anymore, and I actually don't miss her. (If that makes me 'mean' then so be it.)


I had a friend in grad school who was perpetually at least 30 minutes late to everything. Smart girl, but she missed at least the first half of every morning class, never met me on time for anything, would invite me over to study at her house at X time and then NOT BE HOME when I get there because she realized she needed to pick something up at the store. Drove me batshit, and I seriously curtailed my time with her after we graduated. She recently asked me to give her a reference on LinkedIn. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, no. I try to be an easygoing manager - life happens. People get sick, nannies don't show up, cars die. But if it's every single time we have a meeting or joint project, I'm going to fire your ass, ASAP. And I'd be pissed if somebody gave me a good reference for someone knowing they had that habit.

In my social world we've developed a bit of code. If the time for hanging out is a little squishy we say "7ish" and nobody gets pissed if you're 10 minutes late, or if you're 10 minutes early you're not allowed to make fun of my not wearing pants yet. If I'm hosting a BBQ or something I'll say the start time for the party, and the time we intend to get the main meal out. If they miss the meal, they miss the meal, and I'm not holding a plate for them.

If we've made an appointment to meet somewhere, and you're more than 10 minutes late AND I haven't had a text or call from you saying why, I'll be worried, and then I'll be pissed. If you do it a few times in a row, there won't be a next time.

It's not about "time is money" it's about time being time. I value that ten minutes in the restaurant because that's ten minutes I'm not able to do something else - even if that something else is taking a nap. Time is so much more valuable than money. You can't ever earn any more, no matter what you do.

The other massive timesink that I despise more than anything is work meetings without agendas. Meetings that take an hour just because that's the default amount of time on your calendar. Weekly status meetings where everybody already knows the status because you've been emailing about it all week. The manager who calls such a meeting and doesn't bother to take five minutes to read the email thread and then asks questions that have already been answered. GAH. The worst.


Did anybody listen to that episode of the podcast Judge John Hodgman about the guy who was obsessively early for everything? Like HOURS early! It was crazy. He didn't understand that he was being just as rude as late people (or just wasting all his time being so early).

My friends who are chronically late for things all have ADHD/ADD. And they're all pretty self-aware about it, except maybe my sister, who we all just work around on a situational basis. So I wouldn't count everyone as selfish and rude, some people just have cognitive problems.


this time, it’s all about value. Sure. Tarif sewa bus


One should accept the change always... like iphone news did.


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