06 – What Do We Communicate through Chronic Lateness
Finding a clear and authentic way of addressing chronic lateness helps us to better honor both others and ourselves, while realizing what chronic lateness says about us.
Being late for an appointment or a date can seem like a small thing that really doesn’t matter, but when it happens repeatedly, it communicates volumes, whether we mean it to or not. Being kept waiting is an experience that very few people enjoy, because at best, it wastes their time, and at worst, it indicates a lack of consideration. It’s as if the chronically late individual is saying that their time is more important than our time (or vice versa), so they don’t need to honor us by showing up when they said they would.
If it’s you that is running late, it means a lot if you call and let the person that’s expecting you or waiting for you know, especially if you will be delayed by more than ten minutes. If you (or someone else) are chronically late, it may take more than a phone call to properly address (and solve) the issue.
If it’s become a habit of ours (or anyone’s) not to be on time, it’s time for some introspection – what is really going on? It’s easy enough to make excuses about our behavior, or to project responsibility on the other person, perceiving them to be uptight or unreasonable if they are irritated by our lateness. What’s more difficult, and more meaningful, is to take a good hard look at ourselves and ask why it is that we always, or often, show up late for appointments set in advance. Sometimes this happens out of a lack of self-regard, as if we feel we aren’t really important anyway, so why will anyone care if we’re late, or if we don’t show up at all.
Chronic lateness can also stem from being disorganized – unable to keep tasks and appointment straight on a personal or business schedule, or simply trying to do too much at one time – an inability to say “No”. Another possible reason for being late to a particular appointment, or date, is that we don’t really want to be there – and We communicate our disinterest by not showing up on time.
Whatever the reasons, if they are raised to a conscious level, we have an opportunity to live a more conscious life, and work on chronic lateness. Once we dig deeper and determine the underlying reasons behind an inability to show up on time, we have the option to communicate clearly and consciously about how we really feel, rather than communicating unconsciously (some might say passive-aggressively) by being late.