Being late is something can that annoy your friends, and may even cause you to lose a few new pals as well. Why? Because it signals that you're either more concerned with your own schedule, or too forgetful to try to make it to places when everyone else does. Being on time is a good habit for your personal and professional life.
If you're someone that usually runs a few minutes behind, take heart. Being on time is a practice that can be learned. Once you make it a regular part of your routine, you might actually find that it reduces the stress you put upon yourself when you're constantly running out the door at the last minute.
Discover the Reasons for Being Late
If you're regularly late it probably means that you have one or two issues you'll need to tackle. These could be that you:
- Try to accomplish "one quick thing" before you leave (checking email, answering voicemail).
- Think you can get places quicker than you actually can.
- Don't care about making people wait.
- Don't pay attention to the clock.
- Are afraid to wait for anyone else.
Once you hit upon the reason for your tendency to run late, you'll have an easier time changing it. Being late is merely a bad habit that needs to be broken.
Tips for Improving Punctuality
The changes you make to your behavior will be determined by the reasons you're always late. For example, if the reason is that you simply feel awkward walking into a restaurant by yourself (and as a result feel better knowing someone else is there waiting for you), bringing a cell phone can help you feel connected. When you arrive, you can then call and find out the estimated arrival time for your friend.
Here are some additional tips that may be of help.
- Bring a book or smart phone along for something to do. This will help you feel "productive" if you arrive early and have to wait for someone else.
- Accept that being on time is good manners and is important to your friendship.
- Understand the burden you put on your friend when you make them wait for you.
- Prepare for your appointments first thing in the morning. For example, if you have a lunch date at noon, pull your keys out in the morning so you know where they are.
- Be prepared for small emergencies. Allow for time to get gas, stop at the ATM, or adjust for traffic.
- Make it a practice to add fifteen minutes onto any normal commute time.
- Forget about trying to do "one more thing" before you leave the house. While you might be trying to accomplish more, you'll actually be devoting less qualified attention to whatever task you try to finish before you leave. As a result, you'd be better off doing it when you return.
Being Late and Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Being late can also signify passive-aggressive behavior, especially when it's done with one specific friend. If this is the case, examine the possible reasons you are willing yourself to arrive late. Do you dread seeing your friend? Does your friend make you nervous? Or cause you to doubt yourself?
Being late with one person can also mean you want to show them how important you are. Perhaps your friend is always talking about their accomplishments, and as a result you feel better rushing in at the last minute as you talk about the kids, your schedule, or how busy your life is.
Our behavior with friends can tell us what's really going on in the relationship. Perhaps you've been feeling resentful towards a friend, and instead of just confronting her you make her wait a few minutes at lunch for you. Or perhaps you're annoyed that a friend keeps telling you to get a better job, so you arrive late to pick them up for a concert.
Being Late Affects Friendships
Tardiness doesn't always have a subconscious meaning, however. For most of us, being late is simply just one of our bad habits! We have to break it in order to show respect for our relationship. If you're already having a problem with a friend, being late can magnify it and make your friend believe that you don't care as much about the friendship.
What's more, being late repeatedly can leave you feeling stressed out. But rest assured, no matter how long you've carried around the habit of tardiness, it is within your power to change it.