I’m Late – For a Very Important Date!

Is Constantly Being Late a Fact of Life?

I remember all too well how I used to rush around to get somewhere on time.  There was always something distracting me from my mission – dishes, morning routines, feeding the older kids and nursing the baby,  phone calls, waiting for naptime to finish – as my mind was darting around, multi-tasking to get in the car and on the road … on time!

Do I have everything?
Do I have the dish that was delegated to me?
Is everybody in the car?
What’s the time we’re supposed to be there? 

Shoot, we’re late – again!

Sound familiar?  It does to me, because more than enough times I’ve found myself in this situation.  And even as my kids are older now, I still struggle with getting to places on time.  I do have to say that I’ve worked much harder on being prompt, because as a hostess, I do not appreciate it when my guests are late (or really late!)

Do people just not care?  Do they miscalculate?  Or just lose track of time?  A while back, a reader from my blog brought up very good questions about this subject!

Dear Sandy,
What is the deal with people always being late to things? I am not an overly scheduled person by any means, but I do value punctuality. Is it a generational thing? Or is it a young mom thing? I am 30 and have 2 little ones. I go to a mom group, play dates, a Bible study. I have parties at my own home, lunch dates, etc.   In every situation, whether hosted by me or not, with all different people (although specifically moms with little ones), people are consistently late to things – like by a 1/2 hour or more. I just don’t get it and I think it is really rude and hard to plan things when everyone always shows up when they want.

I’m right with my friend on this one, although I do think it’s a fact of life.  And I do think it’s harder for moms to get to certain places on time, depending on how many kids and how much she is stretched! 

It can be really irritating for a hostess who’s trying hard because it does feel like people are disregarding your efforts when they won’t arrive on time.  So what is kosher, when it comes to arriving on time? 

When do you draw the line of being “late” or being “rude?”

  • Open houses:  The term “open house” suggests a drop-in situation, which means come anytime between the times stated on the invitation.
  • Brunch, Lunch, Dinner or Potluck:  Anytime that hot food is served, you need to try to be punctual with your arrival time!  Especially if you are bringing one of the main dishes!
  • Sit-down Dinner Party:  If I know I’m headed to a sit-down dinner party, I aim for perfect timing.  I think you can have a 10-minute leeway period, but I always call the hostess if I’m later than 10.
  • Meetings, church doings, large group situations, or large family events:  Again if hot food is being served, it’s best to arrive on time!
  • Casual invite, play date or birthday party:  I personally feel you have more room to be lenient with your time, but only up to 15 minutes difference.  Usually the party can start, or play can begin, without everyone showing up exactly on time.
  • Some people will never try to arrive anywhere on time, frankly because some people just can’t get their lives organized enough to be on time anywhere.  Maybe it’s because they have issues inside that disorder their lives.  And if I know there are issues, once again I try to extend grace.

How can we improve? 

  • Count backwards with your time.  If you need to be ready by 9:45, tell yourself you have to stop what you are doing and jump in the shower by 8:45.  Give yourself a deadline!
  • Set your clock back! Try setting your clocks and watches back 10 minutes (this doesn’t work with me, but I know people who do it!)
  • Overestimate your time!  If you have to leave by 10:45 to reach your destination, tell yourself you have to be in the car by 10:30.
  • Prepare the night before. Gets your ducks in a row!

I have been there.  I’ve definitely been late more than enough times – some of those times embarrassingly so.  But I’ve also improved – I’ve worked hard to be considerate of whatever generous invitation I’ve received – and to be appreciative of the hostess.

Are you a fashionably late inhabitant?

Rigidity can steal our joy.  And as the hostess on the other end, if I can’t be gracious with those around me, am I really extending myself to others in a way that God would find pleasing? 

Feel free to Ask Sandy… on her blog:
as she takes this subject to a new level – What if “you” are the hostess and your guests are always late?

©2009, Sandy Coughlin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *