My buddy Ivon sent me the following article today: The Psychology Behind Why Some People Are Late.  It is, when all is said and done, a nonsense article that seeks to excuse rude and disrespectful behavior as the product of fear (an inability to control their lives leads people to subconsciously act in ways that allow them small control over others).  While I’m not saying this isn’t necessarily true, I am saying that this probably accounts for a small minority of cases.  The rest, I’m afraid, you can chalk up to ego, selfishness, and a complete disregard for others. 

Now I have a lot of pet peeves, but topping the list is people who are late.  I can’t stand working with them, and I hate socializing with them even more.  And both are instances I can do something about.

I once had an old friend visit Vancouver who asked to stay at my place while in town.  I said sure, no problem.  He did his thing.  I did my thing.  It was all good.  Until the last day when he told me that he wanted to take me out to dinner to thank me for my hospitality.  Now I’m not a late diner, so we agreed on 6:00 p.m.  Until the appointed time, I worked on a script while he went upstairs to his room and got on a skype call.

6:00 p.m. rolled around with no sign of him.  Not a total surprise since, as long as I’d known him, he’d never been on time.  Besides, we weren’t rushing to catch any reservations and I was making headway on my script.  I could wait.





8:30 – At which point I headed into the kitchen and made myself dinner.



10:00 p.m.(!) he trots downstairs like nothing is amiss.  “Alright, let’s go!”he says. 

“Go where?”I asked.    


“Dinner?!  I had dinner an hour ago.”

As I said, even though he was a notoriously late arriver, I’d never had it impact me to the extent it did that night.  And that night was dealbreaker for me.  Since then, I’ve avoided all social outings with him.  

I’m also reminded of a couple we used to know in Vancouver.  A party was planned at a local restaurant to celebrate their recent engagement.  I had a feeling we wouldn’t be eating at the appointed hour since the male half of that relationship was another notoriously late arriver.  Only, on this occasion, his indifference was particularly shocking as he rolled in THREE HOURS LATE!  I remember approaching and informing him I was genuinely considered because he was so outrageously late I naturally assumed something terrible had happened to them.

Needless to say, another two people I have phased out of my life. 

In my line of work, time is money.  Our days are tight and the last thing we need is someone rolling onto set late.  Or keeping people waiting.  It’s a power move and it really pisses me off.

Another flashback.  This one to many years ago in L.A. when I was in the back seat of a limo, chatting with the driver.  He told me that, for the most part, his clients were very nice and respectful – but there had been one woman, a high level studio executive, he had picked up the day prior.  He pulled up at her hotel fifteen minutes before her scheduled pick-up and waited for her to come down.  And waited.  And waited some more.  And waited some more.  Eventually, she rushed down, flustered, and ordered him to step on it because she had to make her flight.  Unfortunately for them, they hit traffic.  As time ticked down and she realized her chances of making that flight were growing less and less likely, she ordered him to make an illegal u-turn and drive on the sidewalk.  She promised to pay the cost of any potential tickets.  He politely informed her that he was not going to risk his license.  She was, by all accounts, miffed.  

And, oh yeah, she did miss her flight.  

So all this to say – don’t ever show up late if we have plans.  Sometimes, circumstances beyond our control may affect one’s ETA.  I understand that – which is why I give people ONE pass. 

After that, I’m starting dinner without you.

17 thoughts on “October 26, 2019: How late ya gonna be?

  1. I hate being late, to the point where I’m always early.
    .. usually too early, and end up hanging ’round for half an hour or so.
    But I much prefer that, than being late.

    My Mum, however is punctual to a fault. That fault being, she usually ends up being late.
    “We have to be there in half and hour, and it takes exactly ten minutes, so I’ll ring for the taxi in about 15 minutes.”
    Late again!

  2. I’m kind of the same way, I make a huge point to be on time (or even a little early in others show up early as well). I do know a couple of people who are habitually late, but never as bad as the folks you mentioned. Plus, I’m so used to them being consistently 15 minutes late that I just plan accordingly. And they’re good friends, so I’m willing to give them a lot of leeway that way. I have little patience with business meetings that run/start late though, waiting for someone.

  3. Oh no way!, I hate being late to go anywhere, and even less waiting on people, appointments. My time is valuable, so I figure they could give a crap less, and I agree, phase them out of the equation., forever…

  4. 6pm appointment … to 10pm??!!? That’s extreme! Was he on a different time zone?

    Unfortunately, there are people I can’t really write them off my life … for example, some of my extended family members are notoriously bad at time and late arrivers … To counter that, I usually tell them much earlier appointment time so that they arrive “on time.” LOL.

    15 min is the maximum time I can wait for people … after that, they are blacklisted!

  5. I’m rarely if ever late, but I guess I’ve already burned my one free pass. 😳

    I was thinking of the first time we met…we had arranged to meet at my hotel in Vancouver after my round of customer visits, and I was about 15 minutes late due the rep who was driving me got chatty with someone from his office (mostly about inconsequential things) and so we ended up leaving late. He knew I had an appointment but continued chatting anyway. You could probably tell how perturbed I was when I went flying through the lobby of the hotel to drop off my laptop bag and keep our appointment.

    I hate being late and I especially hate it when others presume their time is worth more than my schedule (at least without my prior consent).

    On your post yesterday (about comfort zones and fear of failure): I’m happy as long as I’m being productive. When other people’s issues or corporate inability to focus get in the way and get systematically entrenched is when I start getting restless. I was at my last company for 27 years, but about two years ago it became obvious that it was no longer working, so after a year and a half of job searches, house sales, moving states, and buying a new house, I hope to get settled in the new house before Christmas. I guess I’m not much for comfort zones after all.

  6. I was born and raised Navy, joined the Navy, and married Navy. Being on time meant being early, if you rolled into the shop on the dot, you were already late for muster. I hate being late, I hate when others make me late.

    We had a friend who constantly ran late. She was a school teacher, which was problematic. We would always lie to her about when things began, knowing she would not be there if we gave her an actual time. There was late, then there was Lettie Late. Her record was four hours for a meal. We gave up waiting and went out on our own, and came home just before she arrived. We went for Second Supper …

  7. Totally agree with you there. Also , in some circles it is considered polite for everyone to wait to commence dinner until the last guest has arrived. This really annoys me. I mean, 10 people arrive on time, and have to go hungry while we wait for the last person? How does that work?
    I would have thought it more polite for everyone else to eat at the agreed time, and the last person orders when they get there, instead of everyone else having to wait to order until the last person arrives?

  8. You’ve missed lack of executive functioning as a reason to be late. People who can’t operate the planning part of their brain are capable of operating in panic mode so they can only get ready to go under the panicof having started too late to get there on time without speeding. This isn’t out of not caring. You have to care in the first place to panic because you’re going to be late.

  9. Those stories were so well written, I felt like I was there.

    I’m on the neurotic side (Also, I’m sure that most of the blog regulars have noticed 😉 ) and am usually early for everything. There are acceptable reasons for being late. However, the chronically late usually don’t have valid reasons.

    The worst memory of was of my SIL’s second wedding party. My SIL/BIL were 3 hours late to the restaurant. I’m surprised the restaurant didn’t make us leave. I would have left but my hubby wanted to support his sister. His sister left hubby number two for his best friend, who then became hubby number three. 🙄

  10. I’m with you on this. It is rude and disrespectful. Plus, with mobile phone, there is no excuse not to let someone know that you are running late. But pitching up 3 hours after an agreed time with no concern or apology is taking the piss.

  11. I hate people / buses/ planes.. well anything really being late too! I’m normally early for everything!

  12. You would never have to worry about me. I am never late. Either exactly on time or early. I never called in sick at work and was there every single day. I would leave early in the morning to beat the traffic and get to work an hour early. Get some ice water and start working. I don’t mind that in the morning but don’t expect me to stay late. Come going home time and, I. Am. Out. Of. There. You can set your watch by me.

    I think people who are habitually late don’t care about the other person. The other person is not important. Just them.

  13. It was drilled into me at an early age that if you are going to someone’s house for dinner or a social gathering of some sort, it is rude to NOT be 10-15 minutes late. That gives the host(ess) a couple of grace minutes to take care of what didn’t go right at the last minute. Personally, it’s been a godsend at times when I’m afforded the same courtesy. Perhaps it’s a southern thing but that’s what I was taught.

    I remember one occasion when a recipe ended up taking twice as long as stated and I was just getting into the shower as the guests who are notoriously punctual were arriving. Fortunately, one, they’re very good friends, and two, my husband entertained and got drinks while I rinsed off and got dressed. That 10 minute window would have made the difference between me being ready and being behind.

    Appointments, reservations, theatre tickets, anything with a definite appointed start time are entirely different. Be early or be on my list.

  14. I’m also one who hates being late and I’ll usually arrive early and people watch. I understand that sometimes things happen which cause delays but I’ll get fussy if it’s a habitual thing, especially if it involves a meal or dessert 😉

  15. I also think being late is rude – although my tolerance is probably higher than yours. However, wht is completely beyond me is why people do not give you a call, if they are late. Not everything is under your control, things happen, but please have the courtesy and spare half a minute to explain why you are late or at least that you cannot make it in time…

  16. Right there with you. I hate being late, can’t stand it. Frustrating when others are.
    Had a mate who told another mate of ours (notoriously late everything) he wanted to be picked up for something an hour earlier than he wanted to be, he still picked him up 15 minutes later than he wanted.

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