When you have hope that others won’t come when they are running late

A decade ago when I taught a cultural psychology course, I was known for being a tough grader. I liked having that reputation. I also was known for being a stickler about punctuality. Go figure and how dare I?  Students were afraid that at the ten past the hour mark, I would lock them out. And with due reason. We were allowed to close the classroom door after ten minutes and I did so. Thus, I tended to have on time classes and could cover a lot more material than if I had to wait for people to saunter in.   I, myself, am almost always on time. I believe that time is money and being on time shows respect.


Now, with all that said I do understand when people are a few minutes late. These days we are scheduled back to back, Meetings bleed over from one to another.  There are many times when people are double-booked. Cloning technology surely isn’t coming here fast enough. Now, if people are habitually late I believe that is on them.   But that is not what I am here to talk about.


As a habitually punctual person who is a stickler for other’s punctuality, I will readily admit that there are those times when you hope someone is late. And more often than not, I think that for a second or two because I am holding onto hope that the person will not show up at all. Their lack of timeliness gives you a second or two or sixty of feeling a sense of reprieve. You allow yourself to fantasize what you will do with the potential free hour.   You fantasize about stretching your legs, eating a donut, or having your fourth cup of coffee in that newly-found free time.


Thus, as a habitually punctual person I have learned to find the silver lining in others being late.  I would like to ssy this is quite adaptive of me and a great coping mechanism.

11 replies »

  1. I’d say you’re not alone in that. When I’ve had appointments at work in my last job, or even when I meet someone now outside of work, I still have that little niggling bit of hope (?) perhaps that the other person doesn’t turn up, that their 2, 5 or 10 minutes will mean they’re a no show so I can escape an awkward situation or one I don’t have the energy or desire for. I’ve also always been a stickler for punctuality; the last time I was 2 minutes late for something was a doctor’s appointment because I got stuck in the middle of a car accident (I’d already started out 20 minutes earlier than I needed to) and I had a panic attack when I arrived because I was late… I then had to wait 40 minutes because the GP was running so late!!


  2. I inform my students in each initial class meeting that I am never late for class and I expect the same from them. Because I work in Indonesia, notorious for lack of punctuality, I soften the blow by mentioning that while I am never late, I may be occasionally absent but if so, I will inform them in advance. Then I wait to see if they get the implied message.



  3. It may have been Elon Musk making a point when it was stated one should walk out
    of boring meetings.
    That would limit the number of meetings.
    As for being late! Rude! rude! rude!
    Now, if and when I make a time with another; I carefully and precisely ask the other party ” 3 pm ? Is that your time or mine?”
    That usually straightens them up for it.

    Better still arrange a walk-out time in place of arrival.
    ” I want us to get together and I am leaving the office at 3.15pm. Does that suit?”

    For someone suffering from congenital “lateness”, sit outside the office on a bench and watch them arrive – sneaky but oh so satisfying. B


  4. Hi( ≧∀≦)ノ
    My daughter is very busy. Because break time is only 10 minutes. My daughter is a junior high school student. The lunch time is about an hour.


  5. Everyone has a screen in their hand these days, with digital clocks, alarm systems, notifications…I don’t buy their excuse for being late consistently. I’m GenX, lived most of my life without a smartphone, and was rarely late for anything… 🙂 Right??


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