Blog 127. Business, Money And Your Career: Are You Aware That Being Late For Appointments Tells People More About You Than You May Realise?
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Here in the West, when two people decide or agree to meet at a specific time and date, and especially if it is work related, if one person breaks that agreement by arriving late for an appointment (give or take 10 minutes in a busy city like London or New York), then this reveals something interesting about the person who is late:
Normally, when one person keeps another waiting it is considered bad manners. It is considered rude and the person could be accused of lacking awareness and wasting the other person’s time. Indeed, it is rather disrespectful – especially if it is work related.
Also, the appointed time and date is usually agreed upon mutually and nowadays what with e-mail and smart phones, in certain cases, an appointment can even be confirmed (or cancelled) ahead of time. So there is now less room for excuses, and as long as an appointment is not continuously cancelled, trust will be built over time.
But if someone were to continue turning up late for appointments, sometimes even without an apology, trust WILL get broken. Eventually they’ll also get a bad name for themselves – for always being late. And this could end the relationship.
Sadly however, some people don’t realise that when we make an agreement to meet at an appointed time and date, it also means that we are learning about the person’s integrity and whether they can be trusted or relied upon.
Trust, as defined in the dictionary, is about two people developing reliability that is built on integrity. And integrity is also defined as having self-worth. And self-worth is also defined in the dictionary as having a sense of one’s own value, self-esteem or self-respect. So if you have self-respect or a sense of your own value, and if you have integrity, you would most probably want to honour your appointments and agreements.
Showing up late, illustrates the opposite – that you have self-worth issues, that you may be untrustworthy and indeed, that you are unreliable. Or it could point to other more serious underlying issues.
Interestingly, the making of an appointment scenario – is mirrored in the client therapist relationship:
In the beginning, both have to agree when to meet up. They agree upon a specific time and day, in order to have their weekly sessions. When however, clients turn up late, they still have to pay for the whole session, no matter how much time they may have lost or missed. Even so, some clients still choose to turn up late. This usually relates to self-worth issues and whether they feel they are worthy of or deserve the full hour or sixty minutes.
The therapist will address this, along with the repercussions of what being late means for both parties. In some cases, the lateness is done purposefully. It may be a rebellious act to get back at an overly strict parent, who insisted on punctuality with possible brutal consequences if they were not obeyed. It may also just be to get attention, to irritate or anger the therapist. Sometimes it involves control issues, sometimes it is about intimacy issues. But no matter, I always honour that clients are prepared to make themselves vulnerable in order to heal whatever it is that is holding them back from achieving their life goals.
However, what is important is that often people or indeed clients, are not always aware of the impact they may have on others, or what they may be saying by their conscious or unconscious actions or behaviour.
And if anyone is applying for a job, or if they have a business meeting and so on, their lack of punctuality may just get in the way of a prospective sale or whatever it is that they may be wanting or asking for.
It is also worth noting that when someone arrives late:
– Even though who they are meeting may not have articulated their disappointment, their irritation or anger – it does not mean that they haven’t noticed.
– And even if they say nothing about you being late, you may have inconvenienced them – making them late for other appointments. And if you are the boss, or someone with a higher position or rank, it is still rude to keep people waiting. Because no matter who you are – it is still disrespectful to use up someone else’s time – especially without profuse apologies.
And it is also wise to keep in mind that whatever happened to you as a child, learn to heal what happened. You are not that child anymore. Indeed, you are an adult with adult responsibilities.
Lik Hock Yap Ivan, a retired Malaysian badminton player once wisely said, “If your’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”
He may have had a point.
© 2020 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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