Punctuality Breeds Credibility – Stop Being Late!

If I have one pet peeve in life, it’s when people are late.  I absolutely cannot stand it when people are late.  My face starts contorting after 5 minutes, and I think about walking out and rescheduling on my own damn time after 15 minutes.  If I don’t get a text, e-mail or a phone call with a heads up, you are on my sh*t list until you do something to make it up.

Someone important, let’s call him Dr. Shivago, asked if he could speak to me at 7pm this past Sunday.  Given the importance of this individual, I decided to cut my dinner short to focus on this business call.  At 7:20pm still no call.  At 7:25 I get an e-mail from his secretary apologizing that Dr. Shivago needs to reschedule for another time.  WTF!  Who does Dr. Shivago think he is, a C-level executive of a Fortune 500 firm?  Yes, that he may be, but I don’t care.

All was going well with the business proposal until this incident.  I refuse to even consider doing any business with Dr. Shivago until he sends a personal note apologizing for his inconsiderateness.  Don’t go asking your secretary to reschedule and apologize on your behalf.  Apologize directly to me.  Have honor.

A LESSON IN SIXTH GRADE

I was 5 minutes late for 6th grade writing class when Mrs. Lubon scolded me in front of everybody and told me to go sit in the corner.  She screeched, “Punctuality breeds credibility!”  She also told me to stop snapping bras, but that is a different story.  I felt bad for my tardiness, and despite being really annoyed I couldn’t shoot spitballs at my buddies, her life lesson stuck ever since.

There is one simple reason why people are late and it pisses me off. The reason is because they believe their time is more precious than your time.  It’s not because they are disorganized, have bad time management skills, or are stupid.  Someone who is late is selfish, and believes they are more important than you.  There is no other explanation.  If you want to be on time, you will be on time.

If you are late to a business meeting, interview, or of anything in importance you can kiss your chances good-bye.  Practice saying “buh-bye” to yourself.  Say it again and again if you are a perpetual tardy machine.  You deserve to fail, and fail miserably at that.

THE FLAKER

The equally annoying person is the flaker.  The one who promises to be there and always bails at the last moment because something always comes up.  Since we realize that everything is rational, the reason why flakers flake is because they don’t believe spending time with you is worth it at all.  If the person wanted to be with you, they would be with you.  We don’t live in a maximum security prison!

Guys, get a clue.  After the second time she cancels on you last minute or forgets to call back, forget about it!  She simply doesn’t want to spend time with you.  If she did, she would be all over you and then some.

Have a two strikes and you’re out rule.  Your time is much too precious to bother with people who don’t respect your time.  There are literally millions of people in the world for you to meet.  Flakers aren’t any of them!

CONCLUSION

The quickest way to ruining your credibility is being late and flaking.  Avoid flakers and tardy people like the H1N1 virus.  They are disrespecting you, so you might as well never bother with them ever again.

Readers, what are your thoughts on flakers and those who are always late?  Any nice ways to tell them to screw off or at least convey your disappointment?  Should I sweep aside my principles and do business with the flaker?  What are your pet peeves?

Keiju,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our RSS or E-mail feed.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    You hit the bullseye with this post…. in every professional environment, punctuality is a key to success and shows not only credibility, but desire to succeed, professionalism, and responsibility.

    Being late to anything is horrible. Its a great way to kill any chemistry in a relationship if your going on a date. However, being on time can show someone you care about them a lot and do everything to be on time. Use punctuality to your advantage – its a great quality a person can have.

  2. says

    Love this:
    “There is one simple reason why people are late and it pisses me off. The reason is because they believe their time is more precious than your time.”

    I feel the same way. As an expat in other countries, I sometimes have to bite my tongue about lateness because not all cultures feel the same, but secretly, I still think exactly that: it’s an insult to me.

    Here in the South of France, people (professionals!) are typically 10-15 minutes late to any meeting. The other day we were meeting with our attorney. My husband said, “Don’t worry about getting here right on time, he’s coming from far away so I bet he’ll be late.” To which I responded, “If I were coming from far away for a business meeting, I would plan to arrive 15-30 minutes early to make up for possible travel snags, that way, I can’t possibly be late!”

    Seriously, what’s wrong with arriving a little early and stopping for coffee someplace or doing paperwork in your car??? If I can do it, so can anyone else. My in-laws thought this was hilarious and mocked me accordingly.

    But our attorney was on time (20 minutes early, I learned later).
    His (unusual) effort at timeliness makes me think he is a keeper . . .

  3. says

    This is one of my pet peeves as well. It was the Navy that taught me the punctuality lesson instead of a sixth grade teacher.

    I think being a flake or tardy is a sign of disrespect for the other person (or people).

    • says

      Love the Navy! The discipline, the respect. I like everything the navy and military teaches. It’s actually good Mrs. Lubon in 6th grade scolded me, b/c I learned my lesson at age 11 and not age 18 or later.

      Thank you Mrs. Lubon, for preventing me from screwing up plently of relationships and opportunities!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

  4. says

    Exactly right. Lateness is disrespect, pure and simple. If he had to call the president at 7 pm you can bet he would of been punctual.
    I face this all the time with my students. They say they forgot the assignment. I tell them they just didn’t have the incentive to get it done. Out of 25 students, 20 get the assignment done. If I would have said beforehand , I will give $10,000 to every student getting the assignment in on time how many would have been done?
    And we haven’t even talked about doing the assignment correctly. Love Community College!

  5. says

    Oh my goodness, you’re channelling me here Sam. I’ve actually pulled out of a business arrangement because I couldn’t stand the way my partner was treating my time like he was flipping channels on a TV set.

    That said, some people are institutionally flaky. They are simply late for everyone. I have one friend who I almost dumped for life I got so infuriated with his lateness, but I realized he was who he was, and he had a whole load of other traits I valued. But it was a close call.

    Generally, I won’t tolerate it. As for flaky dates, I’ve left messages with the barman or restaurant before now, if someone flakes on me twice and comes late.

    It’s not playing hard to get — it’s achieving hard to like.

    • says

      “Hard to like”…. nice! Two strikes and you’re out rule is fair. There are just too many people who give a damn to deal with those who don’t.

      Business arrangements are important. If they flake or are late on you the first several times, what makes people think they won’t be this way in the future. Bad sign.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Home Mortgage Refinancing Tips For A Smarter You =-.

  6. says

    Hey Sam…. a few years back I would have been the same as you about lateness. But after living in two very chilled places (Quebec and Cairo) I have learned to relax a bit. They are not late to screw up your life or your schedule… they are late because life sways that way sometimes…. Well that’s the impression I get from it all :).

    I still work very hard to be on time, every time! However here in Cairo it’s a pointless endeavour! Cairo time is something I will never work out but I just have to learn to roll with it…. Many times I turn up at a business, cafe, shop, whatever and they have not even bothered to open on time… I have arranged countless meetings with people and they never arrive (forgetting about the meeting) or they do but very late and I don’t feel it’s for any contempt or importance over me, it’s the the way it flows here…. You would hate it :)

    As for complete flakers, most of the time I dislike this a lot. If you don’t want to do something just tell me! It’s easier in the long run and we can make alternate arrangements!
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..FREE DOWNLOAD -Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin =-.

    • says

      Good perspective Forest. You are right… I wouldn’t like doing business in Cairo. Do you think Cairo would have progressed economically faster if they adopted a more respectful culture of people’s times?

      They are not there to screw up your life, they just care about their own lives more than yours it seems.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Home Mortgage Refinancing Tips For A Smarter You =-.

      • says

        From what I see business from the top end is pretty relaxed here and seems to be doing absolutely fine… There are so many US and UK companies here but I hear they are more relaxed than their home town versions. Generally the non-waring countries of the middle east do pretty well when it comes to making money and business from certain energy sources. There are a lo of petroleum and natural gas companies here… Alarmingly many Egyptian’s I have spoken to think it’s propaganda to push prices up that pil may run out…. who knows they may be right, but I doubt it!

        I hear France has this kind of time issue too and as I mentioned in another comment they have a very successful business culture and own many of the top performing European Corporations.

        I guess it is caring about themselves more but it’s not exactly intentional… It’s like queuing, it just doesn’t happen here. It’s perfectly acceptable to cut the cue and fight to be served frst…. No one complains, that’s just the way it’s done. I am often the crazy foreigner telling off the old man who queue jumps and then arranging people into a queue system and assihgning people their number… Ente wahid, ente itynen, ana taletta, ente arbour… ok?
        (you one, you two you, I three, you four… ok?)…. My arabic is pretty basic as you see :)
        .-= Forest´s last blog ..FREE DOWNLOAD -Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin =-.

        • Saso says

          Well, I would never defend someone who is late; I believe it shows disrescpect & I really liked your post. But we can not just judge people from one single perspective; it’s not fair coz simply this way, we will cut off many good persons from our lives. I know Egyptians tend to be late, there is huge traffic jam; pls note this is an 80 million people’s country. Also, the culture itself can tolerate this so when u’r in Rome; you just have to do as Romans; same applies here .. pls note that with the testimony of many foreigners (tourists or residents); Egyptians warmly welcome any foreigner; they would help you with anything even though they may not know you at all so you never feel away from home. I don’t want us to judge specific persons or populations because no one rule can apply for all & not everyone is alike, some are ponctual, some are not .. it’s just the way it is ..

  7. says

    Wow you should be in the Navy. I too hate it when people are late, but not nearly to the degree that I think you do. I like to hear the person out first before I pass judgment. Maybe the Dr.’s aunt has died, and is incredibly tied up for the next few days. Until I know why, I try to refrain from passing judgment. Many times it is due to circumstances out of their control. Have you ever been late due to something you could not help? Of course, we all have.

    • says

      You’re right, that’s why I have a two strikes and you’re out rule. First time, fine… 2nd time is a pattern. It’s my turn to think about myself now, and I can’t afford to waste my time for the 3rd time.

      Again, if they call, txt, phone BEFORE the meeting time to let me know that’s fine. But afterwards, is unacceptable.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Home Mortgage Refinancing Tips For A Smarter You =-.

      • veganprimate says

        Again, if they call, txt, phone BEFORE the meeting time to let me know that’s fine. But afterwards, is unacceptable.

        I loved this post! I am almost always early, occasionally right on time, and rarely
        late.

        I do have to disagree with you about calling or texting. I am against it. The
        reason is that one of the things the on-time person can do to redress the balance
        is to leave if the person doesn’t show up on time. They have the upper hand
        because you are sitting there waiting for them. In the old days, it was great.
        I’d wait an appropriate amount of time, then I’d leave. I didn’t let late people
        control me.

        However, what happens if they call you on your cell and tell you that they’re
        stuck in traffic? Well, now you can’t leave, because then you would be the jerk,
        not them. They’re still late, though, right? And you’re still waiting for them. It
        doesn’t change anything except they still get the upper hand by making you wait.
        And who cares if they’re stuck in traffic? That’s why you leave early enough, b/c
        you never know what could happen.

        So, I’ve decided to turn my cell phone off when I’m meeting someone. If they
        don’t show, I’m outta there.

        You are right. It’s so disrespectful, and it does imply that they believe their time
        is more important than your time.
        .-= veganprimate´s last blog ..Is this frugal, environmental, or just plain nuts? =-.

  8. says

    I know who this person is, huh?

    I don’t like being late either. Or people being late or flaking. I have a 10 min rule – 10 minutes early or 10 minutes after the time at the most.

    Bucksome, you were in the Navy? My husband was a SeaDog, too. Told me he was a smart ass going in and now he is an anal retentive man coming out. LOL. Okay, he’s not that bad… But he shines my shoes really nice.

    • says

      Unless you know Dr. Shivago, I don’t think so! Seriously, nobody knows who this person is.. however this person can represent the typical tardy person.

      10 min rule sounds good… guess mine is 15 minutes :)

        • says

          Yep. Waiting for 2 hrs was ridiculous so my friends and I just ate and drank without him. It was really a lost opportunity for him, since he wanted to meet some industry players and they were both quite senior. But it’s OK, we had a fine time anyway.

          This is why I have a two strikes rule. First time, despite how annoying it is, I’ll just chalk it up to bad luck. 2nd time, then it’s over.
          .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

    • says

      Haha yeah I’d say that’s a pretty good sum up of what the Navy will do. Smart ass going in, anal retentive coming out. No but really the Navy has been excellent, and I’m proud to serve. I have gained so much from my time in, and I’m sure that most people do, whether they can admit it or not.
      .-= myfinancialobjectives´s last blog ..Warrant Buffett’s Humble Abode =-.

  9. Beth Andrus says

    I love this post. I agree with everything you said. My opinion of someone changes immediately and drastically if they are late. And if they don’t apologize, sincerely and in a timely fashion, they cross the line into the land of no return. And flakers are no better. If you’re not inetrested, just no “no, thanks”.

  10. Rob Bennett says

    The reason is because they believe their time is more precious than your time.

    You’re wrong, Sam.

    I was 15 minutes late to my Law School Admission Test. My whole life passed in front of my eyes. I had to beg them to let me take it. I let that happen because I am selfish? Who was I hurting other than myself?

    It’s a personality type thing. Some people are always late, some are never late, some are in the middle. Whether you are late or not is determined by whether you are a “J” (never late) or a “P” on the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.

    It’s not good to be late and it’s not good to tolerate lateness. When you tolerate lateness, you make it even harder for those of us who struggle with it to push ourselves to be on time. So I am not saying that you should not keep up the pressure. I am saying that you should not read it as the late people thinking they are better. They are flawed humans who need an extra push to be on time.

    Rob

    • says

      Yes, you were being selfish for yourself, from yourself. Your situation is different. You weren’t meeting someone… you were meeting your own obligation.

      I surmise your tardiness to the LSAT as to mean you really didn’t care much for taking the LSAT, or wanting to be a lawyer, otherwise, you’d be early. I heard it’s a doozy of a test, with a lot of studying, and to be late for such a big exam is just a rational extention of your true feelings.

      Are you a lawyer now?
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

  11. Evolution Of Wealth says

    @Rob Bennett
    If it’s supposedly a personality, does that mean it can’t be changed? If you are habitually late person maybe it’s a habit for you? Or maybe you just don’t care about being on time? Either way if you wanted to you could change it.

  12. The Rat says

    I normally despise tardiness, especially when it comes to planned board meetings or generally things that have been pre-planned for weeks ahead of time.

    It’s a little different when an employee or co-worker strolls in at 8:30am on a Friday morning, especially when you know they have been working extra hours on other projects. I’ve seen people explode over others being late only to see later that the person had a valid reason.

    If a person has absenteeism issues, they will surface over time and become increasingly apparent. I’m a firm believer that people should have the opportunity to correct their mistakes if they are indeed mistakes. But one thing’s for sure – it’s still bloody annoying and people need to be communicated to or the behavior often may not change.
    Nice thread.
    .-= The Rat´s last blog ..Rethinking Mutual Funds & Biting The Bullet With MERs =-.

  13. Rob Bennett says

    I surmise your tardiness to the LSAT as to mean you really didn’t care much for taking the LSAT, or wanting to be a lawyer, otherwise, you’d be early. I heard it’s a doozy of a test, with a lot of studying, and to be late for such a big exam is just a rational extention of your true feelings.

    Yes, it all relates back to my feelings about my childhood…

    No. It was my dream to go to law school. It was all I ever thought about at the time. The first year of law school was the happiest year of my life.

    I was late for the darn test because I am a goodball, just like all the other humans. Being late is a bad thing, but you are reading too much into it re motive. People are just goofy. It’s a big old goofy world with a lot of big old goofy guys and big old goofy girls!

    The killer is why I was late. I was so worried about being late that I left early. That meant that I had lots of time to kill when I got there. So I went to McDonalds for coffee. That made me late. For us late-arrivers, even being early can be transformed into an opportunity to be late!

    Are you a lawyer now?

    I graduated law school and I passed the bar. But I never intended to be an actual lawyer. I wanted to be a journalist and I thought that being a lawyer would give me an edge. Today I use my legal training arguing on the internet with other goofballs about safe withdrawal rates and other such-like topics. Did I mention that most of the humans are goofballs?

    Rob

    • says

      Rob, appreciate your self-deprecation.. that is a very positive attribute to have!

      When I asked “Are you a lawyer now?”, it was somewhat rhetorical, b/c I could already assume you weren’t, and it’s all b/c you weren’t on time for your LSAT’s! Maybe being a lawyer was your dream, but once you realized how much effort it took etc, maybe not?

      You were late b/c you were early. I’ve heard that before i.e. arriving to the airline gate early, only to miss your flight b/c you went to go read magazines. It’s the darndest thing.

      We should talk about the desire for people to be lawyers, only to have a majority of people after 3 years, and $100+ tuition bills decide NOT to be laywers. This is a good upcoming topic!

      Best, Sam
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

  14. says

    in my neck of the woods, being late is almost fashionable(but still annoys me to no end). they call it african timing, which means that if the meeting was set at say 10:00am it actually means that it is to be at 10:30 so the best time to show up is 10:25 wait for 10 minutes and if the other person doesnt show, leave and put them on your sh!t list :)

    • says

      HAhaha, nice. Here’s the problem…. person 1 thinks person 2 will be 10 minutes late i.e. 10:10am. Person 2 thinks person 1 knows person 2 will be 10 minutes late, so person 2 actually comes at 10:15am. Person 1 knows that person 2 knows that person 1 knows person 2 knows, so person 1 comes at 10:20am.

      It NEVER ENDS! Hence, it’s good just got them off after the 2nd time.

  15. Rob Bennett says

    If it’s supposedly a personality, does that mean it can’t be changed?

    It’s like anything else. It can be changed. But it’s always going to take more effort for those with an inclination to be late to be on time that it takes for those with the opposite inclination.

    One of the problems today is that there is often no penalty for being late. There have to be penalties or those with the inclination won’t do battle with their weaknesses. I am all for being tough with people who are late. My comments just relate to the motive question. I really do not believe that there is a feeling on the part of people who are late that they are better than others.

    They are lazy. They don’t fight their bad inclinations hard enough. That I can go along with. They don’t think they are better. They don’t plan out being late. It’s just comes natural!

    Rob

    • says

      Unfortunately for those who want to get to know me, there is a penalty for being late with me. I don’t put up with it, sorry guys. Let me know beforehand before you are late. No confirmation from me knowing you are late means I haven’t got it.

      Yes, “lazy” is an appropriate word. People are too lazy to Google Map the location to figure out where it is and how long it will take. People are too lazy to put in their calendars reminders. Good point Roberto.

  16. Rob Bennett says

    We should talk about the desire for people to be lawyers, only to have a majority of people after 3 years, and $100+ tuition bills decide NOT to be laywers. This is a good upcoming topic!

    Oh, great. Why don’t we just name next week “Discussion of Rob’s Character Defects Week” and be done with it!

    Actually, that will be a good one.

    Rob

    • says

      Great! Let me/us know when you’ve written the post! I think it would be fascinating to read what goes through the minds of folks who want to be lawyers, and end up not being one. I’d like to know why since the time and money spent is so large. There’s much higher yield of med students becoming doctors for example.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Home Mortgage Refinancing Tips For A Smarter You =-.

  17. says

    I agree with the flaker part, however, I have a different take on tardy part. It is not always entirely out of selfish! People can be late by a few minutes because they may consider that the extra effort of being on time is not worth as much. So in a sense relates to flakiness.

    Also, there is no reason to distrust someone because they were late the one time. If they are always late, that when it is a problem. I mean lets face it, people pay hundreds of dollars for flight tickets and still miss the flights.

    • says

      Tis true. Hence, the two strikes rule. I argue that people who miss flights do so b/c they really don’t want to go where they are going.

      Let’s say the flight was a one way ticket to heaven when you die. The rule is you must be in the waiting lounge at least 45 minutes before take off or else you miss your chance forever. Don’t know about you, but I’d try and get there at least 3 hours beforehand just in case I blow a flat tire!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

  18. Stay at Home Mom CFO says

    When I’m running late for something I start getting that pit in my stomach and I run around in circles all frantic-like. Lateness is a slight weakness for me, I’m late maybe late 1 out of 10 times, but I TRY really hard every time not to be and I feel guilty when I am. I know someone who is habitual and doesn’t seem to care – so I think I’m much better person than them. (kidding)

    @RobBennett – If you’re taking a poll, I’m an EXTREME “P” on the myers-briggs scale. I’d bet 1 million dollars Sam, you are a STRONG “J” :)

    • says

      I tried to Google the definitions of what a P and a J are. Can’t find em, or I ‘m not trying hard enough. What’s a “J”? Perhaps a J means “really thoughtful person”? :)

  19. says

    I Agree that other people’s time is important and one should have honor when having to reschedule by owning up directly. However, IN THE PAST, I was one who used to be tardy, late, and flaky. Generally, here was why:

    * For any arrangement, I assumed other people were going to be late, so I just decided to be late as well. I thought it was the ‘social thing’ (yes it was ignorance really).
    * I did not value MY time at all. As such, I did not value other’s time. If my time didn’t matter, why should theirs?
    * I flaked often for scheduled appointments and events because I would agree to them even though deep down I didn’t really want to do them. I had no spine to say NO. Therefore when time came for the event, I created an excuse of any kind not to go

    Thankfully, I NOW value my time and that of others much more. I know that most reading this ARE NOT going to read every word. They will skim it for maybe 5 seconds. Just the nature of most people who view their time as valuable (or are too lazy to read everything ;)).

    Anyone who owns a website in the top 1 million in Alexa has valuable time, as an example – and that time gets more valuable exponentially the better the ranking.

    To sum up – I believe many who are flaky or tardy are ignorant to the importance of time for others or don’t value their time as important and treat everyone’s the same way. Someone who really values their time will be very precise about appointments and meetings. Someone who flakes may not have wanted to do that meeting/event/date to begin with.

    I think you should (somewhat) reconsider your handling of people who flake or are tardy. Try to educate and understand their ignorance (or in some cases maybe something did come up and they have a valid excuse). If they valued their time once as I did in the past, there may be an opportunity to educate. But in all honesty, your time may be too valuable for that. Kind of a catch 22 there.

    • says

      Interesting point you got there JJ. Since you didn’t value your time, you definitely didn’t value theirs.

      I’m VERY glad you now value your time. The older we get, the more we will value our time b/c we have less of it!

      Ignorance is a shame, hence why I ask at the end how do we educate folks, or hint to folks who are perpetually late? Maybe the people who know me will read this post and learn my thoughts in this manner. I think they are pretty clear.

      Hope all is well Jeremy!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

      • says

        Sam: “Ignorance is a shame, hence why I ask at the end how do we educate folks, or hint to folks who are perpetually late”

        That’s a great question! It is one of many that make up the quest I am on to discover and help people.

        And I know what you mean about getting older. Even at 32 now I feel like every second is precious. Wonder what I will be like in 30 years :)

  20. Money Reasons says

    My pet peeve with tardiness is those people that overestimate themselves and the time it takes them to get somewhere.

    I have a friend that gets off from work at 5:00pm and insists that we meet for a drink (or whatever) at 5:30pm. If there wasn’t any traffic, and he drove 5 to 10 mph over the speed limits, he might be able to make it. But since this is at rush hour, he’s constantly 15 minutes late…

    I’ve been calling him on it lately, but still he does this…

      • says

        LOL, actually that’s what I started doing. I just get there around 5:40pm, so I bet him a little bit, and he never knows…

        I’ve been friends with this guy since I was 9, so I give him a little slack on the matter. At some level it still pisses me off though. But that’s his nature…

        If he was a stranger (or a new friend), I’d just give him the 2 chances, then it would be over!
        .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..What I Have Learned To Date From Blogging! =-.

  21. Mrs. Micah says

    I have a whole ‘nother pet peeve about people writing passive aggressive blog posts to make themselves feel like the good guy in a situation when there are neither good or bad guys, just humans. But the interesting thing is, those people end up alienating the people who could be helping them…something that’s a bit more important than whether or not they get stood-up due to circumstances outside the other person’s control.

    Also, if your face starts contorting after 5 minutes, you might want to work on some breathing or move to a place where there are as few external factors (traffic, metro, etc). ;) I used to be hyper-sensitive about punctuality too, then I realized that I can’t control everything and everyone, and they can’t control anything but themselves too. Most people aren’t late on purpose, and with those that are, I’m up front about whether or how long I’ll wait for them. That way I know that I can just get up and leave without worrying.

    • says

      Hey there! I agree. Good to just move on and not worry about it. Once you make it clear what your schedule is like and set a limit for how long to wait, just leave if the other person doesn’t show. Time is just too precious to sit by idle waiting for people, whether they are 15 minutes late, or goodness forbid hours late.

      You’ll be surprised how many people contort their faces when they are displeased. It’s about self-wareness, and something I started noticing when playing poker. Breathing is key!

      Did you choose what school you will attend?
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Punctuality Breeds Credibility – Stop Being Late! =-.

  22. harvestwages says

    Hey Sam,
    What if lateness is a habit for me?
    I often go late, not because i can’t make it on time. I just don’t care about certain appointments.
    But, it’s best when you make an appointment and make it on time

  23. Boris says

    Sam,
    You are right! To arrive late delivers a non professional message. However, I think that sometimes you will require to be able to wait for somebody without losing your control. Sometimes people from some cultures see time in a different way. We need to learn to be flexible, while keeping ourselves punctual!
    All the best,
    Boris
    .-= Boris´s last blog ..Google Wave – An update =-.

    • says

      Indeed. Best not to lose control, and be somewhat flexible. Give folks a couple chances, and then move on. Life is too short to deal with folks who don’t respect your time.

  24. FFB says

    I took a leadership course for scouts some years back and one thing that was stressed was this saying: If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.

    Its not enough to get somewhere just in time. You need to give yourself enought time to get there early in case something happens.

    In the dojo, we have a sensei who is always early! It conveys to the students that if he can get there on time then so can everyone else. Its leading by example.

    • says

      I LOVE that saying, “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” and try to abide by it always. And since you’re late if you’re on time, if you’re late you up sh*t’s creek!

      Your Sensei is a true leader. It’s the same thing with organized sports and practice. First in, last out shooting free throws etc. Nice guest post on Couple Money btw!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Home Mortgage Refinancing Tips For A Smarter You =-.

  25. Charlie says

    I really like this post. I admit sometimes I’m slow getting out of the house for outings without strict start times, but if I have a client meeting or am getting picked up by someone I will be ready to go with a few minutes to spare just in case of traffic/getting lost, etc.

    Flaking drives me crazy. I stopped scheduling outings with friends who’ve flaked on me, esp last minute flakers, b/c I totally believe what you’re saying that they are being selfish and value their time more than making the effort to come out and spend time with me. A true friend wouldn’t do that unless their was a true emergency.

    I will also always update my rsvp if I’ve had an unexpected change in my schedule. Saying you’ll be somewhere and then not showing up without any communication irks me.

    Great post

  26. LeanLifeCoach says

    Samurai-san – Looks like you have another winner here. While I do agree with you, it is very much a cultural thing. Spend several months in many Latin American countries (or France or Egypt) and you will learn another side.

    In the U.S. there certainly are those that are on-time and those that are late. However, is a two time rule enough to pass judgment and convict? Could where, when, who and how all lead to a little leniency? I’m just saying!

    In the last 20 years I have missed one plane (last Monday!) and been late 4 times. But two of these times were with the same client. She understood that I was flying in to town, unfamiliar with the area (even with mapquest) and luckily was understanding. Then again, I also called each time as soon as I knew I was likely to be delayed.

    • says

      Greg-San I’ve actually lived in many different countries before, and those which don’t really value punctuality have lagged far behind the countries which do. As I live in America now, all my business is done here, so I’m following the norms of this country.

      I also think the busier you are, the more you appreciate and demand punctuality, b/c your schedule is packed, and time is that much more valuable to you.

      Of course, if the plane breaks down, or the weather delays your flight for hours, there’s nothing you can do. Since you’re taking a plane, the likely closest time away from the meeting is 3 hours. Hence, that’s enough time to give your client or whoever a heads up, and they will understand. My problem is when you tell the person you are meeting AFTER the scheduled time you are late… that’s just ridiculous and unacceptable more than twice.

      Cheers, Sam
      .-= admin´s last blog ..The Katana: Don’t Be All Things To All People =-.

  27. says

    I am a very punctual person, to the point that I start having panic attacks if I think I might be late. My husband’s employee, who works part time, is habitually late. It drives us crazy. I’m talking half an hour late on most days. He’s NEVER on time. We have reduced his hours over the past year, partly due to his tardiness. Eventually, we will get rid of him all together because we feel he doesn’t care about his job.

    As for flakers, my husband’s very good friend, who he’s known since middle school, has flaked on us numerous times. So many times we have cleaned our home from top to bottom with the anticipation of his visit, only to find out hours later that he’s late because he never left and isn’t coming (he lives out of town). Because we know he struggles with adult ADHD, we’ve just had to get used to his flakiness. If it weren’t for the fact that my husband has known him for over 25 years, we probably wouldn’t put up with it! ;)
    .-= Little House´s last blog ..How credit card debt consolidation can eliminate your anxieties =-.

  28. Tucker says

    If you only allow lateness 2 times, how often are you changing doctors? Because I think I’ve only been seen by a doctor once on time, and he was my father!

    • says

      Good question! I average one doctor’s visit every 18 months over the past 10 years… btwn 3 different doctors (specialists/generalists). Half of them are late, but no more than 15 minutes. The other half, I either suck it up, or reschedule making them aware that a new appointment needs to be made so that I’m seen on time. They get the picture, and oblige. It’s a business and they listen to their customers.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle =-.

  29. Red says

    Man! You sure do feel passionately about that one. It actually reminds me of an experience I had…

    Nearing the end of my first year on the university newspaper staff, I was on my way to meet a professor for a piece I was doing on a new class offered to freshmen. Anyway, I can’t remember what happened. I think I left something at home and had to go back, which was going to make me about five minutes late. So I called the professor 30 minutes before the appointment and told him I was running five minutes behind but would be there as soon as possible. (I’m usually obnoxiously punctual, to the point of annoying anyone who is going somewhere with me. I like to prepare for all unexpected events and get to my destination 15-20 minutes in advance of the event starting.)

    When I got there, the professor laid into me, cursing and yelling about how journalists think their time is more important than everyone else’s. It ruined the interview. I was so shaken up that I couldn’t even get my questions out.

    So I would like to add an addendum to your post. It’s fine to believe that people who are late are disrespecting you, and I agree that people who are habitually late are disrespectful. But sometimes things come up. It doesn’t always mean the person is devaluing your time. I know you said you give someone two chances, but it sounds like you’re only giving this guy one strike. Should he have called before the scheduled appointment to tell you personally that something came up? Yes. But you never know what could be keeping someone from an appointment with you. Now, if he doesn’t call you to explain and apologize, I agree that you probably shouldn’t move forward with him. But if he does, I think you should give him another chance.

    Incidentally, Unclutterer had a post on this a few days ago. Here’s an excerpt: “Second, I’m sharing this story with you as a reminder that you never know what others are dealing with when you encounter them. The person who cut you off in traffic may be rushing to the hospital. The cell phone that rings during a movie may be an emergency. The person who didn’t return your e-mail may have more important matters in front of him. None of us can read minds or know what is going on in everyone’s life — cut people slack, and hopefully they’ll do the same when you need that favor.” Just keep in mind that, yes, people who are habitually late are being disrespectful of your time, but people deserve the benefit of the doubt the first time.
    .-= Red´s last blog ..Running to my wedding =-.

    • says

      I agree, hence why I give people two chances, then I move on. Lightning doesn’t strike twice at the same spot.

      In my example above, despite still no personal apology, I did end up speaking to Dr. Shivago at 11pm one day, b/c that was what worked best for him. I gave him another chance and at least he apologized for doing the call so late. But, he didn’t apologize for flaking the first time, b/c he probably had no idea what he did was wrong.

      I’m surprised your Professor would rip you if you got a hold of him 30 minutes before hand and explained your situation. Did you actually speak to him, or did you just leave a msg? It’s tough to blame your professor for this situation of yours.

      Best, Sam
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Sometimes Saving Money Is About Principle =-.

  30. says

    If you’re battling chronic lateness, there is hope. According to the experts, you can avoid procrastination and tardiness by changing your habits and tweaking your routines.

  31. says

    i love when people put there foot down and tell it how they see it. i was taught punctuality when i was a kid and if i ever have to wait it drives me crazy. Case in point:

    i live in Los Angeles and 99% of the time people are late to meetings, and not 5 minutes late but 30 minutes late. it has gotten to the point that we call it the LA 30 because it happens ALL the time.

    my question is why do people just leave 30 minutes earlier, you know there will be traffic and you know once you arrive at your destination you will have to find parking and then walk to the building.

    i don’t get it.

  32. says

    I like this post. Why? Well, I have always tried my hardest to be on-time, especially for meetings and business appointments. Whenever someone shows up late (especially is it’s more than like 15 minutes) it tells me the appointment isn’t that important to them. This makes for an uncomfortable aura and bad taste to start things off. If you don’t think the other person notices or cares you are late, you are kidding yourself. Be on time; it just makes sense.

    Moreover, if you know you are going to be late, Call, be sincerely apologetic (don’t just assume the other person is “okay” with your tardiness. Good topic. Good post.

    Mike
    .-= The Wise Buck´s last blog ..Not Another Post On Weight Loss =-.

  33. says

    Absolutely… my pet peeve. Perhaps I should just relax? Nah, they should be on time!
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..Investment News You Need to Know =-.

  34. veganprimate says

    Sorry to comment twice, but I just read through more comments.

    I am a Myers-Briggs “P”and I’m on time, so it’s not just a personality thing, as someone above claimed.

    Also, this idea of people being too early, then they end up late touches on one of the reasons I think people are chronically late. They are the type of people who need constant stimulation. The idea of being early drives them nuts, b/c they might have to sit there and do nothing. Oh my god! The horror! That’s why they go to MacDonald’s for coffee and do other things, thereby assuring themselves that they’ll get caught up in something and be late.

    I think that there is the disrespect issue, and the issue of believing their time is more valuable than your time, but I think also they just can’t stand the idea of just sitting there doing nothing. I usually have something with me. A book. My knitting. Whatever. But I also don’t mind just sitting and thinking or people watching. I don’t need a lot of stimulation. My brain provides it for me.

  35. Car Negotiation Coach says

    I’ve had a problem with a business partner that is perpetually late, and I share the same pet peeve as all 800 commentors above!

    I addressed this with him and we came to an agreement. For every minute either of us are late to a meeting, that person owes the other $1/minute. Of course I am always on time so it doesn’t cost me a dime. And over the past year, I’ve earned quite a few bucks! It’s not a perfect solution (being respectful and on-time would be best), but my consolation is a little extra money and his behavior has shifted sligthly in the right direction.

    • says

      That’s a great system you got! Heck I’d actually root for my partner to be 10-15 minutes late each meeting then! After 15 minutes though, I don’t think I can stand it.

  36. Rain says

    You all sound like crazy fascists. “Time,” as we measure it, is a human invention. The relationship is what should be emphasized, not punctuality. Really, what an arbitrary thing to judge someone by; it’s outrageous. The real world is so much more dynamic than that. Suppose an old friend stopped by, and I knew I might not see them again? Whose time is more “precious,” mine, my friend’s, or the professor with whom I have an appointment? If you’ve begun rationalizing an answer to this, then you’re already ignoring the larger picture. “Time is money” is just another concept rotting the core of the human psyche.

  37. Settlement says

    I was once late for job interview and that changed my life forever. Now I use 3 alarm clocks for important appointment in the morning, one on night table, set alarm clock on wristwatch and my cellphone.

  38. says

    I read all these posts with interest, doing research for a book I’m writing. I think most if not all of your commenters miss the bigger picture: there are some people who are genetically different because their alien ancestors came from different planets.

    ADD people, if they set their work environment so they can work in a helixical manner, are very efficient and productive, but because of their different genetics, their sense of time if quite different. It is not linear, it is cylindrical, or helixical as it were.

    Getting along with different alien beings than we are is central to a peaceful world, and this time concept difference is only one thing to consider. Draw your line (I used to say, if I provide the ride, you have to be on time) but help the other person out if you know they have a different concept of time than you. Give them a call an hour beforehand to make sure they remember; ask if you should call again.

    I could set an alarm but then forget what it was for, because I get so deeply into my work, whatever that is at the time, or my food or my tv show. Time is irrelevant to me most of the time except when I have to interfect with people in real time (their idea of time).

    I never schedule more than one thing every other day: one meeting, one appointment, one social event. That way I have much better odds of actually getting there on time. Or getting there at all. Even so I don’t make about half the things I would like to.

    I have found work I love, an environment to do that in, and a few people/events I like to venture out to deal with. That’s enough. Who needs time?

  39. Teri says

    I run 10 minutes late for everything; I’ve tried setting alarms. I don’t think my time is more valuable than yours. I’m a single mom with too much on my plate. Have you ever gotten totally ready with time to spare got out to the car and saw that raccoons got into your garbage? Would you leave it there until later?

    My mom was always 10 minutes late, even for church…

    I know I need help with this, hence Googling the topic and reading your blog. I feel horrible every time I’m late. I need ideas, not judgement.

    • Doug says

      I’m writing this because you said you need ideas, which indicates you want to change. Congratulations, you just took the first step toward being on time.

      The next thing you have to do is stop blaming you mom. You are not her. You are an adult who can make her own decisions and fashion the contours of her own life. Taking responsibility for being on time is the first step, and until you do this, nothing else will work.

      Second, analyze why you are late. Are you chronically late because racoons get into your garbage every day? Of course not. But from this we can read that you don’t set aside time to allow for life’s little emergencies. By the time you discover the garbage, you are probably already late. The next time you are late, stop. Think back through the series of events that made you late. Identify how much time a little emergency cost you. Next time, build that time into the time you need to get somewhere. Was there something you did that you could have left until later? What can you learn from that? (Yes, if I was late, I would leave the garbage. It will still be there when you get home.)

      Third, make a point for the next week of timing how long it takes to do things you normally do. How long does it take you to get to work? How long does it take you to get the kid ready for school? How long does it take you to make breakfast? I’m betting you don’t know the answer to those questions. Once you do, you can then estimate better when you need to leave the house, what time to wake the kid up, when you need to get breakfast started. By focussing on when you need to START tasks as much as when you need to FINISH them, you will already be halfway to being on time.

      Fourth, do you dawdle? Do you start out doing one thing and then halfway through that, start doing something else, then let your attention get taken away again? Focus on a task to completion. Unless you are a master multi-tasker, doing ten things at once (“too much on my plate”), or allowing yourself to get continually distracted from the main task at hand (being on time) will doom you to lateness.

      Fifth, get it through your head that being late is an insult to others. And inconsiderate. And that despite your pleas to the contrary, you will be judged for your lateness every time, by everyone. Not just every time, but also in the aggregate. They will judge you to be incompentent, thoughtless, disorganized, unsuccessful and not someone they want to make plans with.

      The advice from Financial Samurai above is good advice and I hope you think this is too. Best of luck.

  40. CJ says

    How appropriate that I am responding *late* on this blog!
    I, too, am a single mother, and home owner, and pet owner, and the only family I have is a 90 year old aunt for whom I care. I am very, very busy, and often find myself running late. Again, not because I am selfish, but because I have too many responsibilities. (ps, I have earned BS & MSc in engineering, and never have been late for comps or exams). Time may sometimes be a value issue, but for many others it is a resource issue. Many people on this blog, mostly men, cannot distinguish the two. Perhaps if more of them assisted those with fewer resources, say, by mowing a single mother’s lawn, watching her child for an afternoon, or helping with the overturned trash, the single mother would be able to delegate more resources to timeliness. Is the REAL trade-off for being on time having to put your kid up for adoption or selling your home? REALLY? It’s a societal problem. And not only one of time, but for expectations in general. I bet most of the people here working in financial business. What about doctors? Veterinarians? Emergency personnel? I have worked in these settings. I may be often 10 minutes late, but I don’t leave until 10 minutes after the job is done and cleaned up. I am discouraged to see that Rob Bennet chastised himself for being a ‘P’ personality. Thank God! I don’t want to be a ‘J’ that has to control every 10 minutes of his life! It is the ‘P’ people that bring art, culture and character to life! And the ‘P’ people that are flexible enough to work those offset, unknown crazy emergency hours on which everyone else depends when it’s THEIR emergency! Thank God for ‘P’ people! If you want control over all your and everyone else’s 10 minutes to be determined credible because Wall Street demands it, so be it. I find I value and am valued for the services I provide my community, regardless of the time that I do it. If you took a minute to get to know your lateness perpetrator, you will know whether they are valuable or not.

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughts. Believe it or not, it’s 55-60% women reading this site.

      I found once I started getting up a 4:30am, I could get a lot more done. Have you tried getting up earlier?

      You may think it’s OK to be late due to your business, but it is still disrespectful to the person waiting for you. It becomes a negative cycle that only you can course-correct.

  41. Doug says

    You hear a lot that lateness is a cultural thing. I think that’s nonsense. Anybody can be on time when it is important to them to do so. If Mexicans, North American Indians, Pakistanis, Italians, etc etc etc etc were really culturally adapted to be late, they would miss planes all the time.

    This is a question I ask people who tell me they were late, or to tolerate lateness because “it’s a cultural thing”. I say well when was the last time you were late for a plane taking you to a beach holiday. When they say never, I say, oh so you CAN be on time when it’s important to YOU. I guess meeting me today was just not that important. Thanks for letting me know.

  42. Carlos Alberto Villacres says

    it drive me insane when people are late. 5-10 minute leeway is granted but 15 minutes late is unacceptable unless the person communicates. Time is value and if someone doesn’t value your time then they don’t respect you and are inconsiderate. People who are late are selfish you are right about that. I’m never late and if so I know as soon as I wake up so I make the proper adjustment before I even jump in the shower. Time is all we have and we have to value it because when your time is up it up!

  43. On Time Steve says

    This happened to me yesterday, and got me thinking, that yes…tardiness is my pet peeve and it is the ultimate form of disrespect for the very reasons you cited. It shows selfishness. I guarantee you these same people would not be late for a job interview, or a chance to win a million dollars if they were one of the first 50 in the store. People are late simply because they don’t care enough about you to be on time. If you can be there 10 minutes late, you can leave 10 minutes early next time.

  44. says

    I love this. I am actually just recovering from a date my friend set up only to be more than 45 minutes late. I excused myself because i was getting very irritable as i was waiting, let alone the fact that I had spent a lot of time and money driving to the venue. I come from a country where being late is the norm, yet i have always been on time. i don’t think there is ever a good excuse for being late
    PS. I am borrowing your last paragraph and posting a link of this article on my blog.

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