We’ve all got that one friend.
They’re late for everything. They’ll bluster in hours after the social event, perhaps with an apology, sometimes (frustratingly) not. Even when you invite them an hour before everybody else, they’re still late. You end up eating your dinner before they even arrive and always feel silly for including them on the guest list.
But somehow, being late has become a badge of honour with countless memes celebrating those who say they’re on their way, but are actually asleep/showering/watching Netflix/doing anything else.
It might be funny for you – a little white lie perhaps, so as not to offend. But it’s not that funny, actually. It’s rude and disrespectful.
In business, time is money and if you turn up late you’re wasting time – do it too many times and you’ll get sacked. So why isn’t that reasoning applied to social life? By being late, you’re being selfish. You’re implying that your time is more important than the person/people you are making wait.
Look, we all live busy lives. We are all stressed, running around, trying to find space in our schedules to commit to a date and time that suits everyone (practically impossible, by the way). So why, when others have made that vacancy, does somebody decide it is acceptable to leave them hanging?
A busy life is not an excuse (although of course there are exceptions). Usually, it is the same culprits, with the same line. Oh, and being quick to text and flake doesn’t win you any favours either.
Admittedly, not everyone grows up to be as neurotic, compulsive and terrified of offending people as me. I regularly over-estimate my travel time, I’ve still yet to arrive less than ten minutes early for work and if I’m meeting people, I give myself half an hour extra to arrive. This often means longer if using public transport and TWICE that long if I’m in London.
If I’m early? I can catch up on reading… or emails… but it’s better than being late.
For those who aren’t like me, congratulations – you’re probably far less stressed out. But if you’re unaware that you’re one of these latecomers, please wise up. Please, learn to say no, learn not to over-commit and, if you do have to cancel, have a valid reason.
The same goes for leaving people on ‘read’ by the way. If you’ve read the message, answer. Or, at least say you’re busy and will get back to it. It takes less than one minute to do and could save the recipient a lot of negative feeling.
Next time you’re feeling a bit slow, try to be an Alice, not a White Rabbit.