Being Perennially Late Is Perennially Disrespectful

The old schoolchild maxim goes:

If you're early, you're on time.
If you're on time, you're late.
It's basically saying that if you respect other peoples' time (and time is the most precious resource of all, isn't it?) then you don't cut it close when showing up for an appointment. Unpunctual friends and business associates generally fall into three categories:


  • Disrespectful without care
  • Aloof to the disrespectfulness
  • Aware of the disrespectfulness but claim to be trying their best

Yes, the second category really does exist. There are people of such privilege, and other people with such a laid back 'hippyish' attitude towards life, that they really don't understand how frustrating it is to be waited on. This is because they hardly ever have to wait on other people, or live such an unstructured life that they have few precisely timed appointments. These people must be forgiven and gently educated.

It is the third category of offenders that deserves the most scorn, because the first category is a lost cause. If a friend is continually late, and doesn't put enough of an effort not to be, even if he apologizes, he is implicitly saying, "My time is more valuable than yours." Such arrogance is very ugly, even when it's true. A polite person, however important he may be, would never expose such an ugly side of himself. These individuals need firm reinforcement if one is ever going to feel like he is in a mutually respectful relationship with them.

Tell a perennially late and apologetic individual that you were on time and that you have been waiting. Say it nicely, but let him feel guilty, even if he apologized.

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