All of us have family and friends who are always late. Mostly, we just expect it, and put up with it as a harmless, but undesirable character trait. And yet, you have to wonder. Why are some people always late?
Yes, lateness is offensive to us punctual people. So, today, I searched the internet for ways to understand these habitual offenders. I expected to find lots of critics, and I did read some articles flatly stating that tardiness is rude, inconsiderate behavior practiced by self centered people. But hold on to your hats, folks—it ain’t necessarily so.
According to psychologists, lateness has a myriad of causes. Some people just can’t get their act together, because they’re overly optimistic about how much time something will take. They think it will take half an hour to get to the airport, when actually, it will probably take much longer, depending on the traffic. Others multitask, and get so involved with what they are doing that they lose track of time. Supposedly, this is a very good excuse and means the person is more is creative and laid back. Stop, I’ve heard enough. I don’t want to believe the person who keeps me waiting half an hour for a theater date is a highly sensitive, thoughtful person.
More to my liking were the articles that attributed lateness to negative traits like a desire for attention, or passive aggression.
Then there were the scientists who have discovered that people with low self esteem are apt to be critical of their own abilities which makes them take an excessive amount of time checking their work, and hence, they miss many deadlines. Another psychologist stated that lateness is a consequence of serious mental health or neurological conditions. Up, down, all around. If you’re always late you could be creative, intelligent, manic, lazy or any label you can come up with.
Okay, I’ve heard enough now to realize that that I should be more tolerant of tardiness. So, the next time someone is an hour late for a dinner date, I’m supposed to relax, order another glass of wine on an empty stomach, and smile? No, I don’t think so.