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You’re Late, Damn It

John W. Pinkerton


Obviously there are two types of folks: those who are always on time and those who irritate the people who are on time.

We, Linda and I, have a female friend who is constantly late regardless of the occasion.  We often meet her and her husband for meals at restaurants.   In spite of her tardiness, we think well of her.  Once when the couple were unable to meet us for our weekly meal, to honor her I insisted that we sit in our car in front of the restaurant for an extra five minutes before entering. 

Linda and I are both people who are always on time.  However, in recent years I've become a lot less anxious about it.  Linda is still pretty concerned about being late.  I don't believe I've ever been late for any occasion more than a handful of times in my lifetime. 

Enough about us.  Why do folks persist in this irritating behavior?   After all, there doesn't seem to be any rewards for being late if you don't call eye rolling by others a reward.  One suggestion for the cause of their tardiness was “planning fallacy,” you know, underestimating how long a task will require.  We all suffer from this.  Nope, that ain't the cause.  Multitaskers seem to be more likely to be late; well, that makes some sense---not much.  I think the answer lies in personality types: type A, achievement oriented folks, are more likely to be on time than type B folks who are more laid back.  Yeah, that makes sense.

In my research on folks being late, I found a couple of suggestions of techniques to change this behavior. Both take a long time and are not very effective.  I suggest dog collars controlled by type A people.