How long do you wait?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 5:50 AM GMT
    Ok, I often find myself making appointments with people who are late. I have gotten so upset lately with people who make appointments and think I have nothing better to do then sit around and wait for them.
    I find this happens more often with personal appointments but lately I have found it has been happening more with professional appointments as well.
    I understand when a personal, laid back appointment is made a person can be a little late. I have been known to show up 15 minutes late, but if more than that I always call.
    I have two children that are old enough to dress themselves and pack for themselves. We had planned a day trip and made an appointment to meet at a certain time. After an hour of waiting they called to say they were on their way. I explained that being an hour late was totally unacceptable to me and that I was already on my way to the destination without them. I felt horrible the whole way there and didn't have a good time.
    So, what do you think, does anyone these days value the importance of being on time, or am I just being a selfish little baby?
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    Sep 04, 2007 8:23 AM GMT
    Hi tmayti

    I don't think you should be beating yourself up over this. You were right to be irked by the person late by an hour. That is the height of rudeness.

    Some people find it hard to be on time (I'm not one of those and find it very easy). You have to decide how long you'll wait, for whom, and in what circumstances.

    It's up to you how long you want to wait. If it's an important client or something, then you'll have to grin and bear it. If it's not important, then they are wasting your time and shouldn't expect you to hang around.

    Don't feel guilty at not waiting. If you have waited an acceptable time, then you have the right to leave.

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    Sep 04, 2007 2:49 PM GMT
    Honestly depends on who is making me wait.

    Must of my friends are pretty punctual so if they are running late I would wait as long as I have to, I would give them a call and find out what's going on.

    There is a couple of acquaintances that are known for being late all the time, I don't wait for them...I usually don't make plans with them anymore, we just spend time if we run into each other.

    If it is someone I don't know I would wait 15 / 20 minutes, and then leave them a message telling them I was there waiting and had to take off.

    Making people wait is a bad habit.
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    Sep 04, 2007 2:57 PM GMT
    I'm always ridiculously punctual. I usually have to go for a bit of a wlk before dinners and things because I worry about being late, so I allow too much time for travel and wind up being early. If someone is more than five minutes late, I'll give them a call and see what's happening. So long as I know what's going on, I'm hapy enough to wait because I can get a drink or a magazine or something, but I agree that it's awfully rude to just be late
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    Sep 04, 2007 3:43 PM GMT
    I am always early or right on time. I do think some people are always late. I think 20 minutes is more than reasonable to wait for someone. It is rude if they don't call you and tell you they are going to be late. People that are habitually late, are the ones I don't make plans with, especially if it calls that they be at a place at a specific time.
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    Sep 04, 2007 4:20 PM GMT

    I am always punctual. I allow extra time so that I can show up ahead of time, and then wait if I have to. I expect the same courtesy from others.

    If someone is going to be late for a professional appointment - even by a couple of minutes - they had better call and let me know; otherwise many have found that they have arrived and I have no time to see them.

    Socially I usually allow 20 minutes for someone to be late before I go on with whatever I was doing; unless there is a deadline or appointment that would be missed - then I just go by myself.

    For more relaxed social engagements and parties, I know many people who prefer to arrive 'fashionably late' by a half hour; so I don't stress myself about it, and just go with the flow.

    In either case if you are going to be later than that, then you should be making a phone call to apologise.

    I have no problem telling people that I am upset when I get stood up: it is rude. If someone were to be late on me more than three times I probably wouldn't make appointments or dates with them again.

    Being chronically late is a sign of sloppiness, disorganization, and laziness. It is rude and disrespectful. I have fired people over it. You can not build something constructive out of chaos.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 4:27 PM GMT
    Ammended -

    " two children that are old enough to dress themselves and pack for themselves "

    I am assuming that these kids are over 16 and not reliant on another (like your ex) for transportation and resources.

    Otherwise, frankly, you would look like a major asshole.

    Little kids get a break - part of parenting is teaching them good skills and behaviour; and not being too pissed off when they haven't quite learned the lessons yet - they're kids!

    But I am guessing from the tone of your post that this was not the case


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    Sep 04, 2007 5:15 PM GMT
    Don't feel bad, tmaytj. Hopefully, they've learned that you won't wait around next time. They should have at least called you to say they were running late.

    I am horrible about waiting. If I call someone personal or professional, and they put me on hold, I'll only wait for one minute. If I'm at an appointment (doctor or dental) and waiting, I'll wait for 15 minutes. It's the same with friends.

    I was at a party for some friends a couple of weeks ago. The couple that the party was for was an hour and a half late. (they wanted to make an entrance) As soon as they arrived, we said hello and left.

    Usually I'm a prety patient person. When people make me wait, it's really hard for me.

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    Sep 04, 2007 5:24 PM GMT
    Chronic lateness IS intentional whether it is conscious or not. It is an exercise of power and control over the person who waits. By forcing someone to cool their heels while you take care of MORE IMPORTANT things, you put that person in their place, in a not so subtle manner. I refuse to wait more than a few moments for someone that is habitual about it, unless they have called with a very good reason beyond their immediate control...
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    Sep 04, 2007 5:33 PM GMT
    Punctuality is kind of a big deal to me. I hate being late to things, and so am constantly early. I also almost always have a book with me so I have something to do while passing the time.

    If someone's going to be more than 10-15 minutes late to something, I do want a phone call. I understand that things can come up--meetings can run long, traffic can be worse than anticipated, it's amazing how you can't find your keys when you're running late but can find them instantly when time isn't an issue, etc.--but with how prevalent cell phones are (and even if you don't have a cell phone, there are things known as pay phones) it's not a huge amount of effort to call and say you're running late. After half an hour in a social situation, I presume I've been stood up, and I leave. I try to call the person to tell them I've given up, but it depends on if I think I'm going to say something out of anger that I'd regret later. I'm not going to get angry at the person if circumstance beyond their control have come up, but I will get angry if they don't even think to let me know.

    As for professional appointments, my Dad walked out on our dentist a few times when he was running late, and told the dentist that while he recognized the dentists' time was valuable and emergencies came up, his time was also valuable and he wouldn't wait more than 20 minutes after his scheduled appointment without being seen. From then on, the receptionist would call him if the office was running late and recommend that he come in 20 minutes after his scheduled appointment (or however late the office was running). It's a time when complaining actually worked.

    The one real downside to punctuality: a lot of people don't expect it. The first time I went to a party for one of my labs, I was told to be there at 8. So I showed up at 8. The next person showed up at 8:20. The person after that showed up at 8:40. The host wasn't even close to being ready at the time I showed up. That lab quickly learned that they should tell me what time they actually wanted me to show up, rather than telling me something earlier and expecting me to be late like everyone else was.
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    Sep 04, 2007 6:24 PM GMT
    I am absolutely punctual. I hate it when people are habitually unpunctual. I consider it passive-aggressive behavior, and even if it is not that, it is plain rude and inconsiderate.

    Curiously, in the gay world, I find that whiney, self-absorbed twits are often the ones that believe that they can begin getting ready for an event at the time the event is supposed to start.

    For example, a dinner party which the host is trying to time the food is one event for which (outside of the things MSUBioNerd mentions) being late is particularly rude.

    People who are late for dates, blind or otherwise, are not only being rude, but also inconsiderate to the person waiting, who might liable to be feeling angst at being stood up.

    Anyway, the people to whom I feel closest are invariably punctual, or keep me apprised if something comes up, so I am not left hanging.
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    Sep 04, 2007 7:00 PM GMT
    I must be associating with the wrong people. It's gotten to the point where I consider any kind of appointment to be a purely hypothetical event. I merely inform people about where I'll be at a particular time, and what I'll be doing, and if they care to join me, then what a nice surprise!
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 04, 2007 7:21 PM GMT
    It sounds like mindgarden and I have the same friends.
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    Sep 04, 2007 7:40 PM GMT
    I would be peeved if I had to wait an hour, to find out the people I am waiting for just started their journey to meet up. I don't blame you at all.
  • trebor965

    Posts: 200

    Sep 04, 2007 8:32 PM GMT
    i am very timely, and sort people based on punctuality when making plans. to save face, my late buddies get invited an hour or two early to an event, and usually make it on time.
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    Sep 04, 2007 9:59 PM GMT
    I'm absolutely anal about punctuality. My partner, on the other hand, is always so late that we refer to him as "the late Mr. M".

    The amount of lateness one tolerates varies with the occasion, the person(s) and the circumstances. Professional appointments get twenty minutes; tradespeople/workmen/installers seem to get all day; cocktail parties and buffet type dinners can have longer than sit-down dinners which require punctuality. Family can have pretty much as long as he/she/they/partner want.

    Your question was about your kids and whether you should have waited on them. I think you answered your own question. You felt absolutely horrible on your day trip without them. Do you think it might have been better to wait a little longer, vent, and then at least not be miserable the rest of the day? I used to be pissed off every time my partner was late, so one time I left and went on a weekend vacation without him. I was miserable. From that time forward I decided not to punish myself for his lateness.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 04, 2007 10:36 PM GMT
    You were very very kind for waiting an hour ...
    more than a half hour requires a call ahead or a REAL good excuse why they were rude enough to keep you waiting ...
    something like my severely autistic sister had been gang raped by a pack of roving Priests on the way to a Bolivian Soccer game might squeak by but beyond that is a tough call... least for me
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Sep 04, 2007 11:50 PM GMT
    Being late is rude. Although if you are going to be late and call to explain, well then that is ok.

    I try to be on time always, but I am sometimes late, but I always call if it is possible.

  • duglyduckling

    Posts: 279

    Sep 05, 2007 12:12 AM GMT
    It really is up to the person whether they want to be on time or not.

    Sure, there are times when emergencies come up, but if I know I am going to be running late, I call the person ahead of time, informing him or her that I am running 15 minutes late, so they can adjust their schedule accordingly, and don't need to be there alone like an idiot.

    Some cultures have very low tolerance of tardiness. Swedes are known for that, anything more than 5 minutes is unacceptable.

    Afterall, if we agreed to meet at 7pm for dinner, we're meeting at 7pm (eastern time), not 7pm central time!! Tardiness is NOT acceptable, especially in this day and age of cell phones...
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    Sep 05, 2007 12:26 AM GMT
    If your kids are old enough to tell time, and they have been made responsible for doing something by so and so a time. They've proven that. Then its absolutely ok to leave with out them. Yes you have a rotten time. The price of parenting. Make sure they now you were upset and that it ruined you event.

    I think this is ok, if they've been held responsible in the past for being on time. But after you've transformed the event into a lesson. Let it go. Don't remain upset.


    I'm try to be punctual at work and at play. If someone's late for a meeting more than about 10 minutes, I leave and do something else. Typically they want something from me, so they end up doing without or having to chase me down. I never apologize for not waiting. But I'm never retributive or pissy with them for the lateness.
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    Sep 05, 2007 12:56 AM GMT
    Wow this question really generated a lot of responses. The only reason you could not enjoy yourself is because they are your kids and I presume you love them. It is true they need to learn the value of punctuality or the ability to call if they are not on time. I am assuming you had no way of contacting them to find out why they were so late.

    I find there are a lot of great people who are very unreliable when it comes to keeping in touch, being on time etc.... I take these friendships as they come but can never get too close to them because I am always expecting us to eventually drift apart. I have lost touch with some very good friends when I felt as if I was making more all the effort to maintain contact.

    With kids it is a whole different story. I think you need a heart to heart talk about being reliable. They need to understand how important it is to nurture love and not take it for granted.
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    Sep 05, 2007 2:46 PM GMT

    When it comes to family, I would give a little more slack, but an hour is ridiculous. I think you did the right thing. With friends, my time is valuable I won't accept anyone being over 20 minutes without a call. My response back is "would I ever make you wait?" NO! I am an on time kinda guy here and I won't put up with any BS. I have too many friends to bother with anyone that doesn't respect my time as I would theirs.

    Professionally, only if they live in LA- 3 means 5-7 with traffic! Also in business, you should stress the time of meeting and let them know you have other things going on! Say things like "I'll meet you at 7 sharp!" Being firm does not equal being a baby - It is a sign of maturity. Educate your kids at any age.

    Good luck.

  • RSportsguy

    Posts: 1927

    Sep 06, 2007 8:59 PM GMT
    I am always on time or early. I remember a few years ago when my friend and his wife threw a Christmas Party and the invitation stated that the party started at 8PM. Well, I had about a hour drive to their place so I left around 7:30 because I did not want to be the first person to show up. When I showed up at around 8:30, my friends wife answered the door with her hair still wrapped in a towel. I told her that I was sorry because I must have misread the invitation because I thought it said 8 PM. She said that it did, but everyone should know not to show up until 9PM. I guess she was right, because I was the first person there including her husband who was still at the store buying party supplies.
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    Oct 17, 2007 3:39 PM GMT
    If there is no any good reason why someone come late, I can not accept it. Even if he or she is late only for 5 minutes. Normally I am 15 minutes head of time and if someone can't be on time, I am not going to stand there and wait!
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    Oct 20, 2007 2:53 AM GMT
    Gosh, with all the above venting about people who are late, I wouldn't at all be surprised that no one will make a contrary post.

    Then again, I might.

    It really all depends on the event. I earned a reputation as being late years ago because I'd show up to a weekly "open house" (which ran from 9-11, after which people would lounge at a local cafe for another hour) at about 10:10. In those days I'd work until 8 and then hit the gym... which closed at 10 and was about 10 minutes away. I figured that 2 hours was all I had for socializing and chose the 10-12 range rather than 9-11 (as others did - without any criticism for leaving early).

    If I'm meeting friends at a cafe to hang out and they're running a bit late, who really cares? I can just as easily hang out on my own and read something while I wait. It's not like the sky is falling.

    On the other hand, if you're meeting someone to then go to the airport to catch a flight, or it's your funeral, then yeah, you'd better be on time and not even 15/20 minutes late (a "rule" a few have mentioned).

    Most other things fall in between. But if you're running significantly late (and that's based on context), then you should call. Not just to let them know, but to give them an opportunity to adjust. (If I'm running 5-10 minutes late and you're going to be 30 minutes late... well, now I know I can take it easy.)