I have a few things that really irritate me, and one of those is being late. I’m not talking about every now and then–that can’t be helped sometimes. Everyone knows someone who is ALWAYS late, no matter what! These people think that the earth revolves around them. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way I see it.
Many businesses today run on a “please respect my time” basis – often charging missed appointment fees or cancelling appointments altogether if people do not arrive on time. Doctors in fact are notorious for having steadfast cancellation policies (often with fees) yet seem filled with hypocrisy when it comes to respecting the time of their patients. In the business world, customer service revolves around time management and respecting the time limits of customers. So why is it that so many people in this world are chronically tardy or chronically no-shows or seem to have no respect for the time of other people in their life that they care about?
Psychologists say that not respecting the time of others is a serious sign of manipulation used to control others. People who are chronically tardy, or who seem to have no respect for the time of other people are passively trying to control a situation with their tardiness. If they have to arrive somewhere at 10:30am and know it takes them 15 minutes to get there – then they are late or behind schedule if they are still at home at 10:15. Those that don’t respect the time of others however, don’t see it that way – and often have a narcissistic view that shouts, “My time is more valuable than yours!” I feel like that is rude.
I once bought tickets to a Dallas Cowboys’ game, and invited my husband’s daughter and her husband to go with us. I was trying to reach out to her, because there is an 18 year age gap between my husband and me, and his daughter is only eight years younger than me. I know she probably felt strange about that. They showed up to my house two hours late! I was infuriated! I missed the whole first half of the game. Why were they late? She was busy drying her hair. Her husband told us this. We didn’t invite them to any more functions after that.
My time is important to me. If you have to deal with someone who seems to have no respect for your time and efforts – it is up to you to put a stop to it. Instead of operating under the notion of assuming that “they said 8pm, which means 9pm to them” point out the behavior and hold them accountable. It will only take one or two times of you cancelling an engagement, or calling off plans when they call to say they are running behind before they get the hint that you don’t appreciate their behavior and lack of respect for your time. By either being proactive and letting them know that, “hey this is not OK with me,” they will change their behavior or the relationship will change. And while it may feel petty to say, “Well if you cannot be here at 2pm like we planned then we will have to do this another day,” the bottom line is it NEEDS to happen. Quite simply, you have things to do as well and it isn’t fair for you to always be put off, or be forced to rearrange plans because someone else is being rude and irresponsible with YOUR time.
It really is NOT okay for people to be flippant with your time. We are often taught to ignore little things such as this, and to try and remain flexible at all times. But eventually, there comes a point when you have to stand up for yourself – and take measures to force others to be respectful of you. It doesn’t matter if it is a doctor, or a friend – your time is important as well. If saying, “Please respect my time,” doesn’t work with certain people and situations, then you might want to see this disrespect as a signal that it is indeed time to move on.
I was in the Army for a few years, and it was instilled upon me to always be on time. I usually had to wait, but that is the motto of the Army–HURRY UP AND WAIT! I have only been late a few times, and it’s usually due too a wreck somewhere in the Dallas metroplex. I have jury duty tomorrow in McKinney, TX and have to report at 8:30AM. I plan on leaving my house before 8, just to make sure I get there on time. People have business to take care, and I will not be the one to hinder their progress.
Thank you for listening to my rant! God bless you!