I’ve been noticing people’s habits lately. Mostly, I’ve noticed individual’s tendency to be on time — or be chronically late.
It’s always obvious who is on time when meeting others in person. But in-person meetings aren’t the only instances where we can offend others by being late.
- We can be late in responding to a phone call.
- We can be late sending a payment for a bill that’s due.
- We can be late in posting a blog entry (oops!).
- We can be late in playing that game we promised our child.
- We can be late taking steps to live our purpose.
There are lots of ways in which we can be late. But what’s really interesting about being late is that it almost always affects the other people involved (those that are on time) more than the person being late.
Here is what being late to a meeting says to the other participants:
- My time is more important than yours.
- I’m busier and more valuable than you.
- You should be thrilled I’ve blessed you with my majestic presence at all.
Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.
And we’re all late sometimes. But when it becomes a habit and we’re late to everything, it’s time to review our commitments. It’s time to stop and consider how our lateness affects those that are waiting on us.
Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I’m almost always five to ten minutes early to meet ups (unless I got lost, which is a big possibility). So, I’ll admit that my perspective on lateness is colored by my personal habits and cultural upbringing.
Different cultures have varied approaches to time and I respect that. I’m simply referring to lateness that is outside the cultural norm.
In closing, I would like to leave you with some thoughts on what it says to me about a person’s character when they show up on time to a meeting:
- I’m reliable.
- I respect you and your time.
- I appreciate you giving me some of your time.
How do you feel about lateness? Does it make you crazy like it does me?