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Don’t keep others waiting

My grandfather was almost obsessive with not being late.
It was a running joke in our family that if we told him to be at an event at a certain time, he would inevitably arrive half an hour early. He continued to do this into his later years and it is a trait we all have adopted in some ways. I am usually not a whole 30 minutes ahead of schedule, but I like to be at least 15. My sister is almost to the point of being like him and my brother has completely gone in the opposite direction and arrives fashionably late to almost everything. We have learned to work around that with him by telling him the wrong time so he’ll actually get there on schedule, but this trait has apparently rubbed off on a friend of mine and I am not thinking it is quite as charming.
We made plans this past weekend to meet at a certain time, granted she is usually 5 or 10 minutes late, but I know to expect that so it isn’t a big deal. At the last minute, she called to re-schedule, which is also fine because I got to spend the day with my hubby instead. However, the next day when we were supposed to meet, she kept me waiting for nearly 40 minutes and then called to tell me she needed another 20 minutes, which is just about the time I lost it.
Anyone that knows me at all knows I absolutely loathe being late and I really loathe waiting on people. My husband pushes my patience with waiting sometimes but on rare occasions, I do it to him as well so we just call it even and move on with our day. Having a friend do it isn’t quite so easy to forgive. I’m not sure why it bothers me so much, but even with friends it seems to me like a complete lack of respect for my time. Don’t get me wrong, I would understand if there is a serious reason for being late like a kid being sick, a car with a flat or even the dog getting off its leash, but without some semblance of a reason, it is just going to make me angry.
Which leads me to my top three etiquette rules for being late:
1. Always call. What I mean by that is, do not make the other person call you to inquire as to where you are. I mean call them and tell them you are running late and preferably not 30 minutes after you were supposed to meet them because at that point, they don’t need the call, they know you are not there.
2. Have a valid reason as to why you are late, not just that you couldn’t decide on what to wear or that you slept in. Not only will that make them angry, it only shows that you are not concerned about their time and can come off a little self-centered.
3. This one is the most important, do not act like you are upset when someone suggests meeting another day because you are running more than 15 minutes behind. Obviously if you were available, you would have been there on time. Also, understand that if someone is upset at your tardiness, you deserve it. Do not act like you can’t understand why someone would be upset.
All in all, it is just bad manners to keep people waiting and while I’m not quite as obsessed as my grandfather was with punctuality, I do think he was definitely on to something. Like the old adage says, ‘timing is everything.’

Candie Beck-Adams is community editor for the Ennis Daily News. She can be reached at candie@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Sep 30 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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