Etiquette Lesson: Running Late

This article is for the person who has no intention of irritating others, stepping on toes and otherwise being seen as someone who’s rude and inconsiderate. We all get a little rushed and at times find ourselves running late. Most of us hate the thought that we are going to make others wait for us. If this is you then read on. If you don’t care about how you look or how your tardiness makes others feel then find something else to read.
If you are meeting people at 9am and at 8am (or earlier) you know you are going to be late – let people know. If it’s one person, call them (see my article on cancelling an appointment). If it’s more than one person send a group text saying you are running late and when you expect to arrive.
If you arranged the meeting – or are in charge of the meeting – just don’t be late. It’s wrong on so many levels. It squashes consideration for others and puts in question the authority you deserve.
If you are going to walk into a meeting late – knowing that people are waiting for you – don’t arrive with a latte in hand. This says, “I wasn’t really running late. I just took some extra time to get what I wanted when I wanted it. I don’t care that you didn’t get your coffee in order to be on time. I’m just making clear my priorities – my needs are more important than your convenience.”
Further, if there’s a chance one person had to forgo a meal or coffee so that they could arrive on time don’t show up late with food (or anything but your apologetic self). Everyone else managed to get there on time. Some rearranged their schedule so they could accommodate you and your request to start a meeting at a specific time. Don’t kick them in the teeth by saying you didn’t have time to eat/drink but took the time to stop for food (and now you’re going to consume it in front of everyone) at the expense of others’ convenience and possible grumbling stomach.
Time is a precious commodity. From the guy with the dog who needs a walk before he leaves the house, to the single parent who didn’t get to kiss the kids good-bye before racing out the door – everyone has a to do list. It just takes some pre-planning, follow through and integrity for them to arrive on time. Your late arrival, but having taken the time to stop at Starbucks, screams to everyone how irritatingly inconsiderate you are.

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