The psychology of always being late

Chances are you’ve encountered a person who is always late, be it someone at the office or someone who is a member of your family or social circle. What does this mean? Generally it means that person is told to arrive someplace 15 minutes sooner than everyone else–and when they are still late, it means irritation for everyone waiting and the possibility of an argument. But while individuals who are chronically late may be difficult to deal with, they have just as much reason behind their actions as does someone who is chronically early. SEE ALSO: The psychology of jealousy: Why do we feel it? “Late is when people start getting annoyed,” noted Psychology Today’s Neel Burton, M.D.. “They get annoyed because your lateness betrays a lack of respect and consideration for them—and so they get more annoyed, and more quickly, if they are (or think they are) your social or hierarchical superiors. Unless you present a very good excuse for being late, preferably something that is out of your control (e.g. an elephant on the motorway), being late sends out the message, “My time is more valuable than yours”, that is, “I am more important than you”, and perhaps even, “I am doing you a favor by turning up at all.” Being late is associated with being rude, even if that is not the intent of the person who isn’t on time. When someone is late, others in the party begin to wonder if the reason is passive-aggressive; maybe that person is showing their disapproval for a meeting by not arriving at the designated time. Being late almost always reflects poorly on the individual running behind. That person is automatically labeled as inconsiderate, selfish, rude, and possibly problematic. Good excuses, and good intentions while being late But people who are chronically late often don’t have diabolical motives behind their actions. According to Adoree Durayappah, also of Psychology Today, people are chronically late for one very simple reason: they don’t want to be early. The person who is chronically late is often worried showing up early is just as rude. Just as some people hate to be late and show up early (sometimes extremely so), the chronic late person hates to be early. This hatred of being early stems from a number of reason, including: Being early is inefficient; who wants to sit around with nothing to do? Being early is often awkward. If you arrive before an event begins, small talk might have to occur, or you might have to find a way to otherwise occupy yourself. Your time is just as valuable: While it’s considered respectful and polite to be on time, your time is just as valuable as someone else’s, and could be spend being otherwise productive. You don’t want to be rude by showing up too early. Some people prep their homes before guests arrive, and showing up too early could disrupt that process or embarrass the host. The bottom line is that being early can be just as annoying as being late, so the goal is to learn what is “too” late and “too” early. According to Burton, under 10 minutes late is acceptable and eliminates the chance of arriving early. SEE ALSO: The difference between reality and imagination in the brain “In many social situations, I am often exactly eight minutes late,” he stated. “Why? Well, it goes without saying that being early is just as rude, if not more so, than being late, while being exactly on time can sometimes catch out your host (I myself am often caught out by people who are bang on time, which I guess is a form of me being late). On the other hand, being eight minutes late is not perceived as being late, and gives your host just enough time to sit down for a couple of minutes, gather his or her thoughts, and begin to look forward to your arrival.”The post The psychology of always being late appeared first on Voxxi.

Why are some people always late? (Shutterstock)

Chances are you’ve encountered a person who is always late, be it someone at the office or someone who is a member of your family or social circle. What does this mean? Generally it means that person is told to arrive someplace 15 minutes sooner than everyone else–and when they are still late, it means irritation for everyone waiting and the possibility of an argument.

But while individuals who are chronically late may be difficult to deal with, they have just as much reason behind their actions as does someone who is chronically early.

SEE ALSO: The psychology of jealousy: Why do we feel it?

“Late is when people start getting annoyed,” noted Psychology Today’s Neel Burton, M.D.. “They get annoyed because your lateness betrays a lack of respect and consideration for them—and so they get more annoyed, and more quickly, if they are (or think they are) your social or hierarchical superiors. Unless you present a very good excuse for being late, preferably something that is out of your control (e.g. an elephant on the motorway), being late sends out the message, “My time is more valuable than yours”, that is, “I am more important than you”, and perhaps even, “I am doing you a favor by turning up at all.”

Being late is associated with being rude, even if that is not the intent of the person who isn’t on time. When someone is late, others in the party begin to wonder if the reason is passive-aggressive; maybe that person is showing their disapproval for a meeting by not arriving at the designated time.

Being late almost always reflects poorly on the individual running behind. That person is automatically labeled as inconsiderate, selfish, rude, and possibly problematic.

Good excuses, and good intentions while being late

But people who are chronically late often don’t have diabolical motives behind their actions. According to Adoree Durayappah, also of Psychology Today, people are chronically late for one very simple reason: they don’t want to be early.

The person who is chronically late is often worried showing up early is just as rude. Just as some people hate to be late and show up early (sometimes extremely so), the chronic late person hates to be early. This hatred of being early stems from a number of reason, including:

  • Being early is inefficient; who wants to sit around with nothing to do?
  • Being early is often awkward. If you arrive before an event begins, small talk might have to occur, or you might have to find a way to otherwise occupy yourself.
  • Your time is just as valuable: While it’s considered respectful and polite to be on time, your time is just as valuable as someone else’s, and could be spend being otherwise productive.
  • You don’t want to be rude by showing up too early. Some people prep their homes before guests arrive, and showing up too early could disrupt that process or embarrass the host.

    blind dates are risky
    Being early might mean you find yourself in an uncomfortable social situation. (Shutterstock)

The bottom line is that being early can be just as annoying as being late, so the goal is to learn what is “too” late and “too” early. According to Burton, under 10 minutes late is acceptable and eliminates the chance of arriving early.

SEE ALSO: The difference between reality and imagination in the brain

“In many social situations, I am often exactly eight minutes late,” he stated. “Why? Well, it goes without saying that being early is just as rude, if not more so, than being late, while being exactly on time can sometimes catch out your host (I myself am often caught out by people who are bang on time, which I guess is a form of me being late). On the other hand, being eight minutes late is not perceived as being late, and gives your host just enough time to sit down for a couple of minutes, gather his or her thoughts, and begin to look forward to your arrival.”

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The post The psychology of always being late appeared first on Voxxi.