Karma For The Perpetually Late

by admin on March 25, 2013

I have always been a late person. I’m never on time, by which I mean I squeak in at the last second or up to 5 minutes late. I am the barefoot person in yoga pants mopping the floor as the first party guests ring the doorbell. I am not late for anything that leaves without me like planes and trains, which just goes to show I can be punctual if I need to, but somehow I am always late. (I realize ‘somehow’ directly translates into ‘it is my fault’) I am known as ‘Davidson’ in my family living 100 miles away because I always call them, LATE, when in that city and say “we’re in Davidson; we’ll be there soon”.

I never worried about this much, rationalizing “I get there sooner or later and you aren’t depending on me, so what’s the rush?” When I expressed this once in a E-Hell comment field, I was surprised and a little taken aback at being so swiftly and firmly instructed how wrong I was. (and hurt, but that was my problem, not anyone else’s)

Well, ha ha ha, karma is a harsh mistress. I recently engaged a personal trainer to come to my home. He is worse than I ever was! He misses his appointment time by hours, sometimes doesn’t show up at all, arrives 2 hours late just as I’m leaving for work unable to understand why I can’t have a session right now and schedules appts ANY time, including Sunday evening. There is always an excuse as to why he can’t make it today, sometimes fantastical, usually dodgy and always after the fact. I’m actually getting exasperated with him.

NOW I understand your frustration. Ordinarily I’d show him the door, but the kicker is that when he does show up, I get terrific results! I’m gaining muscle mass, I’m losing weight, I feel great and this has never happened before-I’ve been fat since I was a child. I’m terrified of losing this momentum and going back to being fat and unhealthy.

So, E-Hellers, what goes around comes around. I have significantly cleaned up my act and am busily apologizing to the numerous people I’ve driven nuts over the years with my tardiness. I will grit my teeth and take my punishment like a man. Crow is not bad with enough ketchup on it. 0320-13

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol March 25, 2013 at 4:55 am

I’d imagine you were not late when it came to something like work – you said you could make planes and that, so I’m sure you arrived on time when you were paid to do so. I think when you are professionally obligated to be somewhere, you should be there.

I had heard that sometimes the ‘psychology’ behind being late is a person playing up his self-importance. ‘you can’t start without me.’ That’s probably true with some people, like your trainer guy. He knows you need him, so he doesn’t think y, our time is more important than his.

Do you pay him when he gets there, or did you pay him in advance? I just think if you weren’t home a couple of times, and left a note for him saying ‘I waited, but you were late, and I had somewhere to be’ and then he didn’t get paid for that day, it might train HIM to get to you when he said he would.

(As an aside. I have a habit of being either bang on-time, or slightly early for things. I’ve sat in my car before job interviews on more than one occasion because I was more than 15 minutes early! I always chalked that up to my own insecurities; being afraid if I’m not there, they’ll start without me, because I’m unimportant and forgettable. )

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sv March 25, 2013 at 4:58 am

I love this, thanks for sharing!! Karma is a harsh mistress :)

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Marozia March 25, 2013 at 5:20 am

It takes a brave person to admit their faults on a social website. Good for you for owning up.
Karma is a bit of a pain, but a necessary one.

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Kate March 25, 2013 at 5:48 am

I’m glad you’ve understood how frustrating this can be, and congratulations on achieving your fitness goals!
I’m one of those who is extremely pedantic about being on time, to the point where I actually feel sick and anxious when running late (that’s OCD for you). I don’t mind if someone is running late to catch up for coffee or whatever, but if someone is actually making *me* late for something, I get really anxious.

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Sans Blague March 25, 2013 at 6:22 am

When I met my husband, he and his brothers were all chronically late. My first Thanksgiving with his family, his older brother called every 20 minutes to ask that his parents hold dinner because he was on his way. And they did. We finally ate very dry turkey at 10:00 p.m. I’ve reformed my husband, and now his brothers’ constant tardiness drives him nuts. So, it is possible to see the light.

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delislice March 25, 2013 at 6:29 am

Well, good for you. It’s terrific that you’re getting in shape, and while learning things the hard way is always, well, hard, I’m impressed with your frank acknowledgment of your history.

And good for you for resolving to be more punctual.

I was brought up to be punctual to a fault, a habit I still have, as does my entire family. So much so that my husband calls it “can’t be late for being early.”

But, as noted, you deserve a big pat on the back for coming on here, fessing up, acknowledging your “record,” and vowing to reform.

And for getting in shape! Good for you.

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Weaver March 25, 2013 at 7:52 am

It’s fantastic that you feel great since working with this guy! However, just because you used to make a habit of being late doesn’t mean it’s fine and dandy for him to do the same. Is he the first personal trainer you’ve worked with? If so, maybe you’d get results just as great with another trainer, one who’s also capable of being on time and not making excuses.

As far as sheduling appointments on a Sunday evening goes, do you mean that he actually schedules them at that time, or just suggests scheduling them then? If the former, just tell him Sunday evenings don’t suit you. I might be misunderstanding that part of your post though. Apologies if so.

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Anonymous March 25, 2013 at 8:05 am

Well, the important thing is, you’re trying to make positive changes with both your chronic lateness, and with your health, and that’s definitely a good thing. Would it be possible for you to set up your personal training appointments through your neighbourhood gym or something? That way, you could practice both skills at the same time–first, practice being on time by arriving at the gym on time for your sessions, and then (of course) work on your physical fitness while you’re there.

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--Lia March 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

I read this and see a lot of apples and oranges going on. Business relationship versus personal. No one is depending on you versus someone is. Late but on your way versus shows up at any time or not showing up at all.

I do get the point about realizing for the first time how frustrating it is when people are late, but consider something. All those people who put up with you all those years when you were late? They had the option of showing you the door and probably some of them did. Others made the decision you’re making. They weighed the pros and cons of continuing the relationship and made their decision.

And one more thing. Apologies are great, but they don’t take effect until you’ve changed your ways. People will believe your apology after they’ve seen years of your showing up on time and doing it without any particular mention of it or thinking it unusual. (My mother showed up on time now and then. She expected a medal for it.)

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Shalamar March 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

This was a great story, and I’m glad you’re having such good results with your trainer – too bad he’s such a flake, though!

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Gracie C. March 25, 2013 at 8:49 am

Up to 5 minutes late?! I know chronically tardy people, and I’d settle for them coming in 15 minutes late, but alas, the people I know are more like your trainer. I don’t think 5 minutes is a big deal. That’s the difference between making a couple of lights or being stopped at a couple of lights.

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Wendy B. March 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

I have to confess that being late is something I struggle with. My mom was always that way and there were times when it drove me batty, so I’ve really tried with myself. Especially when it comes to my job, which requires me to attend various meetings. I try to give myself an extra 10-15 minutes since I live out in the country and things happen. (One still can’t control trees across the road or car accidents, but since it’s a rural area, most people get that.)

My husband, however, can be chronically late and not realize it…he’s a talker. And he gets put out with me if I try to move us along. He’ll say, “It’s rude to just walk away.” (This from the person who laughs at my obsession with this site!) My argument is, “You can say, ‘I’m sorry, I have somewhere I need to be…we’ll catch up later!’”

OP: Reform is possible. :) It just takes a boot in the butt sometimes.

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The Elf March 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

Good for you for acknowledging the problem and working on it.

I used to be an always 5 minutes late kind of person. I’m trying to be more punctual and mostly succeeding. I truly do not understand being hours late. And then being puzzled that it’s a problem? That isn’t just poor time management!

About poor time management….. Some people (me) aren’t as aware of the passage of time as others. It drives my always-punctual husband crazy. But there are all sorts of things you can do to alleviate the problem. I set alarms for myself and try hard to put my last-minute stuff (wallet, keys) in the same place every time.

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ElizabethD March 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

Casual mis-use of someone else’s time cannot be rationalized. Did you really just tell yourself that this wasn’t a problem? Sounds like you have a LOT of amends to make. I’m glad this happened to you and that you’ve woken up.

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LonelyHound March 25, 2013 at 10:12 am

OP, first I am going to say good for you on working hard on your fitness goals. I think that is fantastic! Second, I am sorry you are putting up with a trainer who is always late. It is no fun. I am also glad it is helping you see that, even in personal social situations, being late can grate nerves. That being said I deal with people who know they are going out and are still an hour behind schedule so being 5, even 15, minutes late is not too terrible. I was a chronically on time person, so mush so that I could be 20 minutes early for being 20 minutes before a doctor’s appointment. When I had my baby we began to run late to everything. To fix this I prep everyone two hours before hand and then we are able to make it on time to where ever we needed to be. I am former military so lived several years with the motto “If you are early you are on time. If you are on time you are late. If you are late…well, there is no late!” So, I have really tried to get my family back on the on time track!

Here is a great “late person” karma story. I was waiting at a gate for a flight home around Christmas time one year. Even though all planes were running behind schedule due to a snowstorm the gate agent told our flight repeatedly that our plane was already deiced and would be arriving and leaving on time, and not to leave the boarding area. Three first class passengers, all adults, decided they had had enough waiting with the great unwashed and proceeded to the First Class lounge. I was not eaves dropping they were really talking that loud. They went. We boarded. Just before we took off the flight attendant announced that three people had missed the flight so they were upgrading three people. Yup. Those three who found it so unbearable to wait with the rest of us cattle missed the flight and quite possibly the wedding they were going to. I felt sorry for them especially because last minute COACH tickets to Fairbanks around Christmas can be almost $1000/ person. Yikes!!

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Goldie March 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

I’m one of the “chronically late by 5 minutes” people. One thing contributing to it that I currently have an extremely busy life, and any time I stop to catch a breath and look around, I see things that HAVE to be done IMMEDIATELY (being sarcastic here). I’ve been 15 minutes late for work many a time because I just HAD to unload the dishwasher. Luckily, my work has flex schedule. I have never missed a plane, that is true; more than that, I always arrive the required 90 minutes before my flight. What nobody knows is that, on the day I have to fly, I make myself a schedule and stick to it, and that my schedule has me arriving two hours before the flight! Works every time. 30 minutes always manage to get away from me.

I think we chronic 15-minute late folks should share the coping techniques we use. Hopefully we can use this thread for that? For me, like I said, what works is putting together a step-by-step schedule ahead of time (“get up at 6, feed the dog at 6:15, be in the shower at 6:30″ and so on) and giving myself a time buffer, i.e. arranging my schedule so that it would have me arriving 15 minutes early if I stick to it precisely (since I already know it never happens)… If I have to be at work at 8:30, and I arrive at work at 8:30, no one needs to know that I actually planned to be there at 8:15. Right now my biggest problem in being punctual is, ironically, my teenage son who, apparently, is well on his way to becoming OP’s personal trainer! Where I am five minutes late, he’s late by so much that it has me breaking out in cold sweat! I started bringing a book with me, to read while I sit in my car waiting for him. Maybe he could use some coping techniques too. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a power play on his side; neither is he thinking that he is more important and I can wait. (I’ve heard this theory too many times, wish we’d put it to rest already – it’s not true and isn’t helping anyone involved!)

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Joyinthemorning March 25, 2013 at 10:19 am

I’ve always wondered why it was that older folks always get places extremely early? Like sometimes up to an hour early? They then sit in the back row and watch people come in. I think it makes them grouchy to sit there that long. I was at a eye dr once and an older man came in about 45 minutes before his appt., at which time the receptionist told him he was very early and his appt wasn’t for another 45 min. He got very hostile and said, “if you don’t want me here then I’ll leave” at which point she calmed him down by telling him that it was okay she just wanted to make sure he knew when his appointment was and that he would have to wait awhile. My dad once asked me to take him to an appt, 1 hour early, which I refused to do. He sat and fumed the entire time. I don’t get it—I do get LATE, but I just don’t understand the extreme earliness?

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Roslyn March 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

My husband’s family are all chronically late people. I refuse to travel to any function with them because of this. There have been more than one time where we needed to walk out the door at 11:30am and at 11:28 his mother looked at the clock and said “Oh, I need to shower.”

They have missed dinners and walked in while dessert was being eaten, they have missed weddings and barely made dinner at the reception. His mother is the most at fault. She has no sense of time and never seems bothered that she is going to be late or what it does for other people.

My husband was like this (trained by his mother) when we were first dating/married, but over the years he has changed under my plan, plan, plan and be on time training!

Also, since we are on time he is always harassed by others for his mothers lateness, and it can be embarrassing!

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Ally March 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

Just remember when you’re late and someone is expecting you, they’re in a mental state of expecting you to come in and interrupt them at any time. So when you’re waiting on someone you’re not, say, going to flambe those bananas or anything else that can’t be interrupted. You’ve put the other person into a holding pattern while they are waiting for you.

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BMS March 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

There is more joy in heaven over one chronically late person who repents… :0)

I am one of the chronically early types. Like I feel late if I am less than 5 minutes early. It drives my ‘just in time’ husband and sons absolutely crazy. We’ve had to compromise a bit. Casual party, I don’t stress if we’re 5-10 minutes late (although I push as hard as possible to get them out the door on time.) Appointments, school, and church, we will be ON TIME, DARNIT, or mom will blow a gasket.

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just4kicks March 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

I always tell my husband, who is ALWAYS late for everything, that when he passes on, I’m going to wait until five minutes after his service is supposed to start to have his casket wheeled out. Anyone who knows him will get a good chuckle through their tears. I’m only half joking.

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Leigh March 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

So get a different personal trainer. This guy doesn’t have magical abilities.

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NostalgicGal March 25, 2013 at 11:26 am

I run on my time, Murphy time, schedule time, and hubby time. My time is when I have a list for ‘today’ and as long as it gets done it’s good. Murphy time, Murphy was an optimist and there are some times you just hae to persevere despite things and schedule is out the window–I hate these sorts of days but they can happen. Schedule time, an appointment, meeting, work, deadline, etc; and those have to be met–I had much training with making a commuter bus for some years, either you make that bus or you are late for work, period. Hubby time, he is disabled, he is retired and he is…herded is about the best word. That one I have learned how to get most of his slack taken care of and get him to be on schedule when needed (there will never be 15 min to take a quick shower and get into the good clothes for an appointment ever again, so just plan ahead better)

I agree it is impolite and rude to be late with no reason (hubby used to keep his own time and the world was supposed to revolve around that, and woe if the world wouldn’t… now that he is disabled it is actually much easier to deal with!) and being chronically late is no excuse.

5 min = chronically late, pertains to classes, public transportation, and shift starts (time clock). 15-30 min = annoying as all can be but, it can be worse, and the person should be an adult enough to be more considerate. 30-60 min = chronically late and they wonder why they aren’t invited to more things or included more. More than one hour = my aunt TADA until she got hers one day.

The trainer OP mentions falls in that last category it seems; I agree with others I hope that he gets paid AFTER showing up. There is no excuse for the scheduling mess, but I can understand that IF they show and schedules mesh, the results are worth it. Hoping the OP can find a fantastic trainer that can keep a better schedule, though.

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badkitty March 25, 2013 at 11:43 am

There’s a difference between being a person who is up to five minutes late for social engagements and expecting to retain employment when you’re a professional who cannot be bothered to show up on the right DAY. It’s good that you’re recognizing your own faults and choosing to work on them, but don’t make the mistake of lumping yourself into the same category as this individual: take your time and seek out a replacement before ending your association, and be sure to emphasize the things you’ve learned about your own fitness needs and habits as well as your current frustrations with his flakiness. You won’t lose momentum, you’ll be taking what you’ve learned from this guy and using it to propel you even farther. Imagine how successful your weight loss and fitness plan would be if you were actually able to work out when you plan to! O.o

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Allie March 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’m sorry you were hurt by the comments you received. The e-hell community can be a bit sanctimonious at times. We’re all late occasionally, although when it’s chronic, it may be time to think about why it happens, what harm it might cause and how you can fix it. I find it frustrating that doctors and other professionals run so late. I’ve waited more than an hour beyond the appointment time and that’s just due to volume delays, not unexpected emergencies. It’s very frustrating and makes it difficult to plan your schedule around an appointment. Of course, as the mother of a new baby, I’m no longer master of my own schedule, she is, so I’ve given up on giving people set times for anything. I find a range is more workable (i.e. I’ll be there sometime between 11 and 12).

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--Lia March 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

It’s your decision, but I bet that somewhere out there there’s a personal trainer who gives terrific results, is wonderful to work with, charges the same amount, AND makes it to all his appointments in a timely and responsible fashion. I’d be looking for that person.

That you’ve been tardy in the past to other people doesn’t mean you have to put up with it from him. You may if you want to, but you don’t have to in some sort of cosmic fairness. It’s a common error to think that because we’re not perfect we have to put up with everything from everyone. It’s that kind of thinking that turns us into doormats. Instead, work on being on time because it’s the right thing to do for the people in your life. Separate from that issue, decide if you’re okay with putting up with your trainer’s lack of responsibility when working with you.

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Stacey Frith-Smith March 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm

This is an issue of integrity- if you agree to be somewhere at a certain time, then you should honor your word. Conversely, if you are dragging your feet to every function that doesn’t affect your livelihood, maybe you need to practice the fine art of “no”. Fewer commitments made but all commitments honored is better than “how late can I be without really getting into difficulties?”. There is an element of control for some people… “I’m the boss… Look at Me… Can’t start without Me!… Gonna make a Grand Entrance… Your event doesn’t rate my time or my best effort…”. But there is the option to walk away in all cases- start the meeting, have the dinner, leave instead of waiting for the late co-participant and basically refuse to engage the crazy. Then, for those times when traffic was ridiculous, the plane was delayed, the client got caught on a long call, the date was stuck at work… there will be enough residual goodwill to “deal”. (By the way, I’m typing this and realizing that I don’t take stock of a bad habit of mine, double-booking… where I squeeze too much into too little time. Have some repenting of my own to do! So thank you, Ehell, for the good influence.)

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June First March 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

As a fellow “reformed late person”, way to go!
Now I find it really obnoxious when my relatives are late to a holiday dinner. I’ve tried the “We’re eating at one. If you are not here at one, you might not get any food.” approach when hosting, but the others are still tolerant of those who show up an hour late. “But we HAVE to wait for Cousin! They said they’re on their way. Where on Earth are they?”

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Dear! March 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Ha ha! Karma is a lovely lady.

This reminds me of a friend of mine. We’ve been friends for over a decade and I know she can be flaky. I can take it most times, but recently it’s gotten terrible. Not once, not twice, but three times she left me waiting for 2-3 hours at the airport, and when I would get her on the phone, she would just keep saying she was “almost there.” The last time, I waited for three hours, at night, and finally caught a taxi when I didnt feel safe anymore. I told her how I felt and how it hurt me, and dont accept her offers of goodwill anymore. But what upset me is seeing her bend over backwards to be on time if, for example, if it was her fiance who is at the airport. The relationships are different, yes, but I never leave her hanging and it shows that she is capable of keeping her word and she just doesnt give a sugar honey iced tea, as my aunt would say. I’m big on being on time, even in the South, where we live, where 30 minutes to an hour late, is sadly, right on time.

I get P/Oed when people play with my time, and more so when they dont realize its a problem. 5-15 minutes, sure, but don’t make it a habit.

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Even another Laura (!) March 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

It’s so sweet that you admitted this! I have a good friend who is always late, but will text you furiously to make sure YOU are there on time. When I mentioned to her how hilarious I found this she simply could not understand what I thought was so funny about it. She kills me!

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Mer March 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Personally, I’m okay with other people being few minutes late (and don’t blame myself too hard if I’m few minutes late.) I’ve thought that few minutes go within differences between clocks etc. That’s why in most cases I don’t think it’s something to sweat about. For example in my university it was possible to time travel. Based on the clocks in the halls or lecture rooms you could arrive to next classroom earlier than you left your previous. And as classes usually started based on the room’s clock, it was quite adventure to be exactly on time in the specific class.

If for some reason the situation requires being not even that minute late, I tend to be way too early around. That has been a problem too, for example in job interviews it is rude to appear too early as it seems easily very pushing and causes other people to assume if you expect them to be around for you when you are way too early there. (I do dislike when people pop up too early.) However, I have to admit that sometimes with job interviews and such the problem is the receptionist. As they often take contact with you as soon as you step in, of course one have to tell what your business is. It’s not one or two times when I’ve tried to to say that my time is still far ahead yet they immediately call the person I’m going to meet. Thus I feel like a biggest a** at that point for causing disturbance as they of course have other commitments.

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MichelleP March 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm

As someone who is always on time, I’ve always resented people who were chronically late. I love the post, OP, congrats on reforming your ways and getting in shape! Dump the trainer, BTW, there are good ones out there.

@Goldie, that “theory” might not be true consciously for the chronically late, but it’s simply rude to be late when you’re expected. Work or social occasions are no different, IMO. If you’re supposed to be there, you need to be there on time.

I have always worked shift work, and there is ALWAYS one person coming onto the next shift who is late. Every job I’ve ever worked. I get to work on time, I expect others to do so. When I’m done with my shift I am tired and want to go home, but I can’t until my relief gets there. It’s frustrating and annoying.

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Ergala March 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

My mother is constantly late. Growing up she’d be an hour or 2 late picking me up from school but would drop me off an hour early in the mornings (there was no bus service…private school). She was my ride to my wedding and I was almost late for that as well. She just kept getting distracted by different things and talking to people she knew.

My husband is late as well but I am the absolute opposite. Probably from growing up with my mother hahaha! I am early….early early early. Usually by 15 minutes to appointments. I don’t mind sitting in a waiting room for a little bit. There have been times where I am sitting in a waiting room and someone will come running in 10 minutes late for their appointment. We have the same doctor (I hear it while they are checking in) and they become very angry when I am taken back before them. Sorry, but it’s right there at check in and you sign an agreement when you become a patient there that you understand if you are 10 minutes or more late for your appointment you can lose that slot or have to wait.

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Ashley March 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I wish I knew tricks to stop chronic lateness. My fiance has this annoying habit of saying I take longer to get ready, so he doesn’t understand why I hound him to get ready when I start getting ready. Then I am ready to go by the time we are supposed to leave and he’s still shutting off his video game and rooting around for clean socks, meaning we don’t leave til 15 minutes after we were supposed to.

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The Elf March 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Joyinthemorning, it’s not just the elderly. My parents have been the “way too early” sort for as long as I can remember. If they aren’t a full half hour early for something, they’re late.

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Cass March 25, 2013 at 2:09 pm

@joyinthemorning – my dad does that! He wants to leave a minimum of an hour early for a movie theater less than 10 miles away, at a slow time of the week, when the movie’s been out for a few weeks at least, and when it’s basically freeway door to door. Drives me batty! My favourite with that was the time he wanted me to be somewhere before it was physically possible for me to get there (like, had I left my house at that moment, and had he left his at that moment, we were NOT going to meet at the location fifteen minutes away from both of us in five minutes) so that we could leave an hour and a half early for a movie.

I do think there’s something to the power play idea of lateness, though; I find that I’m consistently most late to three things – breakfast with my dad, my job, and a specific weekly get together with two people I like and one I don’t. Beyond that, I’m in the five-minutes-late category, or five-minutes-early – basically, I hit the lights or I didn’t hit the lights. But my dad and I have had a pretty strained relationship in the past and the breakfast conversations are something he enjoys but not my favourite activity, I dislike my job, and I REALLY do not enjoy the company of this acquaintance I don’t like. If I’m late to those things and not to other things, I do think that’s a power-play issue on my part. Or just a demonstration of my dislike.

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Jenn50 March 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I used to be compulsively early. It causes my great stress to be late, but I’ve struggled the last couple of years with getting my daughter, who has autism, to her school and therapy on time. I almost always make it on schedule, but just barely. With some deep introspection, I’ve realized that the problem there (aside from never knowing which days she’s going to end up melting down and taking an extra 30 minutes to walk through the parking lot) is that I dread the battle of transitioning her from one space to another, so I procrastinate each step. It’s not that I think it’s all about me, it’s that it’s very difficult to face what is coming, so I delay facing it. I realize that it’s unfair to others on the days I cut it too close, and that I’m causing myself more stress, so I’ve worked at meeting deadlines and building in extra time.

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Rug Pilot March 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I go into a blind panic about being early. Whe I was a kid my father would always get me ready to leave then set me in the hallway to wait for him to get my stepmother ready and her mother ready to leave. I was forced to sit for an hour waiting to leave. Now I can’t stand to get anywhere early. I can make it on time in the afternoons or evenings but in the morning I can’t make my 7:30 lawyers’ meetings or CPAs meeting because I have farm chores which are indetereminate at the early hour. Fortunately those speakers don’t start until 8:00 so I’m not really late. I just don’t get any breakfast, which I don’t eat anyway. I have had friends who I could count on being in the bathtub when I got there to pick them up. One would regularly pick me up for the airport at flight time. I started lying to them about the start time of the event and eventually stopped relying on them to be ready when we arranged. I charge for people who have taken my time without a dire excuse. They have reserved the time and others are waiting. Time is limited.

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gramma dishes March 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm

It sounds to me like your trainer sees himself as being Mr. All Important. So important that his clients will put up with anything. I think being atrociously late and knowing his clients will (probably) wait for him anyway acts as enormous boost to his ego.

Congratulations on your progress, but I can’t help but wonder if you might not achieve similar results with a trainer who understands that part of his job is being where he’s supposed to be with the person he’s supposed to be with. And also congratulations on practicing becoming more responsible with time yourself, even if you had to learn the importance of it the hard way!

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FerrisW March 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I had a friend who was chronically late for everything, and it drove me crazy. I’m an early sort of person (I personally find it incredibly demeaning to the person who is waiting for you to show up late, as it says you think their time is worthless) who has learnt to tolerate slight tardiness, but this friend took the cake- an hour or more would pass before she would arrive.

So one night, when I was hosting a dinner party, I told her the meal started one hour before it actually did. And so of course that was the day she decided to be not only on time, but early- 1 & 1/2 hours before anyone else was due to arrive! She was goodnatured about it and laughed and stirred the risotto while I tidied up and changed, but I felt terrible. But the thing was, she drastically improved her timing after that, and was never more than 15 minutes late again.

With regards to the OPs personal trainer- give them a warning, tell them that you find their ridiculous tardiness unacceptable and that if it continues you’ll have to find someone else. If they want your business, and your money, they’ll change their ways. If not, find a more reliable personal trainer- this can’t be the only one who can give you the healthy results you’re looking for!

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River March 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I completely agree with Stacey Frith-Smith’s sentiments about the residual goodwill of always being on time, and its ugly cousin – residual resentment for always being late. I have a friend who is perpetually late (usually 30-90 minutes) to everything except work – showing that she can be somewhere on time.

The problem is that after over a decade of not showing up on time, even legitimate excuses are annoying to hear. “I was reading” or “I had to get my washing off the line” starts to blend in with “My car wouldn’t start” or “My doctors appointment ran late” until they all mean nothing except “I don’t care enough about you to show up on time”. I’ve probably spent a week of my life just waiting for this woman. It’s a miracle that we’re still friends.

To all other perpetually late people, I say: being late is not just about not being somewhere on time. It’s an insult to those waiting for you. Obviously not everyone feels this way, but you can be sure that someone will.

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Cat March 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I am one of those folks who has to be on time. Being late drives me nuts. If someone who has arranged to meet me at a certain time is not there within fifteen minutes and has not called, I go without them.
My time is as important as anyone else’s. You are not so important that I have to wait for you to decide to show up.When you get to be Queen of England, let me know.
I would find another trainer. If you can reform, perhaps he will too when he learns it is costing him business and therefore, money.

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schnickelfritz March 25, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I personally prefer that someone is 15 minutes late, rather than 10 minutes early. When I invite guests to a party, or whatever, I need that last fifteen minutes in the bathroom / dressing room. Do not come early – I am still finishing up. I may be on the toilet. If we answer the door, earlier than you are expected, we lose more time in trying to get you settled, a drink, etc., when we need to be dressing. By the time we settle the early-birds, the “on-time” guests are arriving, and the host is not comfortable because they did not get to brush their teeth, or comb out their hair. I have learned to rush through, my personal tasks, and pretend I don’t know someone is banging on the door early. I have had guests call at 1:00, and ask “can we come over now?” when the party is at 2:00. Sorry, I am just stepping in the shower!

The worst thing – is to arrive to early for a job interview. We often schedule interviews almost back-to-back, with 15 minutes to spare between. When interviewees arrive early; 1) we have no place to sit them, so as they don’t run into the previous interviewee. Wait in the car until 3 minutes before your interview. People have no idea, how much input the receptionist, the admin. assist., and others they interact with before the actual interviewer, have on the interview process. These employees are then put in the position of trying to separate the interviewees. Do not put the staff in the position to entertain you, to have to scramble and be pulled away from their work, to juggle you. Strike 1. We do have input, and no one is impressed – it is annoying. It is smart to arrive early, but wait in your CAR. Space is limited in many offices. Nothing worse than an interviewee, sitting in front of your desk, while you are trying to conduct business as usual. There really is no place to sit them, as the current interviewee – is in the only conference room, being interviewed. Then, they are marched out, in front of the early bird. In a small town, certain industries, they may even know each other. Awkward. However, do not be late for your interview. Not only a bad impression, but you back up the entire process. This not only applies to interviews, but for actual business meetings. “Oh, I know I am early” (last week, we had someone 35 minutes early for a meeting) – It puts a few people in a jam, babysitting you, taking a note to the boss in his current meeting, that you are early and waiting. “Oh, don’t mind me!” Then, they ask for “tea” – really – Strike 2. Now I am a waitress, we don’t have china. Now you have a tea-bag mess. You need a spoon, plate for the bag, etc. Coffee is easy. NBD. Never ask for tea on an interview – the admin asst will let her boss know, “something a little off about this guy”… Coffee or water. Period.

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JoMarie March 25, 2013 at 11:34 pm

I was recently on the receiving end of this particular conundrum, since I now am responsible for getting four people ready at the same time instead of one. Although, I was very gracious to the teacher when she had to cancel a meeting due to the fact that she had hurt her back…I did not tell her what I initially thought in my head, which was. “Well, now she knows what it feels like to be me.” Though I did mention that to my older son’s teacher who was the one who informed me of the cancellation. When I saw her again the next day, after school, I said “I completely understand.” And she immediately recalled the time when I was late arriving to assist with dictation in her afternoon class because of a back injury, and she smiled in the same way that I’ve smiled at countless professors, counselors, medical personel, and the like for the past 11 years. You see, I’ve lived with chronic nerve pain since I injured my back in 2002, and therefore have very little to say, when being reminded that I am consistently late. I have been much better about this with the kids, since I want them to have a deep understanding of how inconvenient it is to wait on others. My injury notwithstanding, there are still only three bridges on which to cross the river on our way to school, so some days we are still late. We have been much better at getting to school on time, but traffic is Always a factor, from the west side of our town. :-\

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Sugaryfun March 26, 2013 at 4:40 am

Re. extreme earliness, maybe it’s because people are using public transport. I don’t drive so I depend on buses. Since they don’t run all that often I can often either be somewhere an hour late or an hour early. I pick an hour early and find a way to kill time like browse in a shop or find somewhere to sit and read for a bit. It can be awkward at times since people who drive everywhere don’t understand. At one job I used to show up early for each shift and sit in the breakroom for 45 minutes, since we were supposed to be at our desks and working right on the start time and the next bus would have got me there 15 minutes after. Once I had the day manager throw a total wobbly because he had seen me there and assumed, without checking, that I was taking too long on my break. He demanded to know how long I’d been there, and on finding out I wasn’t due to start for another ten minutes stormed off without apologising. I try not to be so early if I’m invited to someone’s house since I have been on the receiving end of that and it’s awkward. I had a regular visitor (my husband’s brother) who used to come up to two hours late for dinner parties. When I complained about it he started showing up three hours early instead, and would just wander around the house watching me get ready or helping himself to food and books until my husband got home. It was creepy, so my husband had words with him about it.

My husband’s family are all chronically late. A number of times over the years I was invited over and arrived on time to find the house empty and stood around outside in the dark, sometimes with other guests, for 15 minutes or more waiting for them to come home (the personal best was BIL inviting us over and showing up more than an hour late to his own house because he had decided to go out at the last minute and get food from a restaurant on the other side of town, but at least that time my husband anticipated it and brought a key to let us in). Bizarrely they showed no embarrassment about this behaviour and my husband took some convincing that it was not normal or acceptable. The rest of them apparently just don’t care about other people’s time. I learned not to accept rides from them if I was in a hurry (they would offer to drive me somewhere then show up an hour or more late with no explanation or apology) or wait for them outside venues, and to treat offers to help around the house when they stayed with us with a grain of salt since they would sit around drinking cups of coffee until the last minute then “run out of time” to do whatever it was they’d offered to. When we were dating my husband genuinely couldn’t understand why I would get upset at him arriving so late we missed the movie when his parents assured him that it was “fine” to do that if he didn’t really feel like going to it. When people pull this crap you have to call them on it or they never learn.

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The Elf March 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

It irks me when people point to making flights or going to work as a sign that the chronically late (the 5 minutes late person, not the 3 hours late person) can in fact be on time. The situations aren’t analogous.

Work is part of your daily routine. Most people run through their “pre-work” routine on more or less autopilot. Get up at this hour, shower, get dressed, etc. Unless something thows off the routine – wreck on the highway, the dog is sick, whatever – that person is going to arrive at work at roughly the same time every day.

A flight has the opposite impact. Few people fly so frequently that going to the airport becomes routine. Instead, it’s an event so huge that it over-writes anything else you may have going on that day. Nope, I can’t finish this book because I HAVE A PLANE TO CATCH. I wish I could talk to you more, but I have to hang up because I HAVE A PLANE TO CATCH. It becomes an event of monumental importance; the defining moment of that day of which the entire day is built around.

Most of your lateness comes with those events that are neither routine nor so monumentally important that it overcomes everything else. So what happens is that the chronically late person doesn’t have a routine in place to keep them running on time and loses track of time or something comes up or whatever. At the same time, they lack the anxiety that is produced by anticipating a monumental event in their life. For the chronically late, they need to figure some sort of mechanism to take these middle-ground events and put a routine around it. I don’t recommend increasing the mental importance of it because 1) anxiety isn’t exactly fun and 2) by elevating everything to the level of monumental importance, you actually degrade the meaning of having something be monumentally important.

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Ashley March 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

Oh gosh reading all these made me remember the worst chronically late person in my life. She lives about 45 minutes away from the rest of our group, and works some strange hours, but in an effort to include her we always plan around her schedule so she has ample time to sleep after work, and drive up here. The town where most of us live is centrally located, as there is another friend who lives about a half hour in the other direction, in case anyone is wondering.

One time we made plans to attend an event in the city where this woman lives, so we were the ones driving 45 minutes, rather than her. The event was taking place at a park five minutes from where she lives. The plan was for us to get there at noon, as we anticipated finding parking would take a while, then eat lunch, and she would meet us at 1, after she slept after work (she gets home around 4 am). Unfortunately, this event was much smaller than we thought it was going to be, and by 1pm, we had seen it all, and eaten. But, we resolved to stick around for this woman. By 1:15 she still hadn’t gotten there, so we gave her a call. Went straight to voicemail. This happened again at 1:30. At that point we got up so a couple of us could go make some purchases we had been undecided on before. Then since it was a nice day, we found a picnic table to sit at and chat for a while. A few more phone calls were made, all went to voice mail. Finally around 2:45, we hear from this friend, saying she’s finally on her way. No excuses, no nothing. Then she got mad at us for not wanting to stick around, after waiting an hour and 45 minutes for her.

Another time we were getting together in the centrally located town to see a movie for a friends birthday. The movie was at 5:30 but we wanted to meet up at 3:00 because we had plans to grill food and just hang out for a bit. She was told SEVERAL times that 3:00 was our start time, and that we were leaving to go to the theater at 5:00 (popular movie, opening weekend, theater with notoriously slow lines). Well, 3:15 rolls around, she’s still not there. Phone goes to voice mail. 4:00 rolls around, again, voice mail. Finally, it reaches the time we HAVE to leave to get to the theater by 5, she’s still not there, so we leave a voicemail saying to meet us at the theater, we’ll buy her ticket, she can pay us back later. Thankfully she at least got that voicemail and turned up at the theater but again, no excuses, no nothing.

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NostalgicGal March 26, 2013 at 11:52 am

Related to being late…

In the first years of our marriage, my DH would make ToDo lists for the day that was about three times what anyone could possibly get done, and get in an unholy snit when that list wouldn’t even begin to get finished, make up another one like that the next day, add the previous day’s to it… so about every three days he’d have a MAJOR meltdown. Not pretty.

Now I had to work nights to keep us alive, and that meant some days I actually would skip sleeping (the few days I had off) when I got off work so I could actually see him and spend some time with him. Not good but at least I was younger. The time bit, was I would once in a great while make arrangements to do something OR have an appointment, during the day, during a day off.

I would tell him, about 2 hours before I was due to leave, in VERY PLAIN language that I was *leaving* at X time to do Y, and if he needed me to do something before I left to let me know as I had some time to do something. So. He would drop his schedule and go to sit down to make a list for me. Remember now his punchlist is on hold so there is more that won’t get done… and he is working on this huge list for me. Nononono! Tell me some chore or task, NOW, and I will have time to do it. Oh no, he has to make the list.

He comes to me five minutes before I am due to leave, and I’ve asked him a few times politely in those two hours if he had something for me to do, that I am LEAVING at X. And presents me with a list of things, that nothing is going to take less than an hour to do, and there is probably six hours of ‘do NOW before you leave’ items. Now I have to shake my head and say NO I am leaving in five minutes, I can NOT do ANY of these. What?!?!?!??!??!? You said to get you the list by X! No, I told you repeatedly I’m leaving at X, I have my coat in hand, and I am leaving. (MAJOR MELTDOWN his)

DH has many redeeming qualities, trust me he does, and in these later years this is much mellowed. Chronically late is better than can’t manage their own time!

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Goldie March 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm

@ MichelleP, I’ve never worked at a place where I had to come in and relieve someone, but, if I had, I’d probably be early rather than late. I said that the theory doesn’t do anyone any good because it has one party steaming, thinking that the other is insulting them on purpose by being five minutes late. I don’t see how assuming the worst about the other person is helping anyone.

@ schnickelfritz, amen to that! When I first started hosting, I often found myself opening the door in my bathrobe or with my makeup half done, because one or two of the guests would think it’s a great idea to arrive 15-30 minutes early. I learned my lesson quickly enough and would get myself ready 30 minutes before start time, and finish setting the table, preparing the food etc after that. If any guests come early, they get to sit around with a glass of wine and watch me set the table, which is a lot less embarrassing than having them wait for me to change out of my bathrobe.

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Enna March 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm

@ schnickelfritz: don’t be late for an interview but 3 minutes early is enough? I think that is cutting it a bit fine. I was advised by a careers adviser that arriving 15 minutes early is adequte. Being too early can be off putting: my BF was rather early once, as it was a group interview the man said being early wasn’t good and looked at him – I bet the man would rather early than late if it was something important for him. If someone has travelled for an interview they may be limited when they can arrive e.g. too early or late and most people will go for too early. Possible to go for a walk.

I don’t mind people being a few minutes late: some people are unorganised and it’s just they way that they provided they aren’t arrogarant about it.

Good the OP has learnt a lesson.

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