Pet Peeves


One might conclude, considering that I write an entire column based on things that annoy me, that it doesn’t take much to set me off. That’s not true, I swear! But I will say that one of my biggest bug-a-boos has gone long enough without being discussed: the latecomer.

Let’s just get real here for a second – being late is rude. There’s no other way to slice it, no way to sweeten it up, no way you can explain it to me that’s going to change my opinion. It’s just extremely inconsiderate, irresponsible and basically will spell the end of my association with you if it becomes a habit. Sorry, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I just do not have the patience for it.

I’m sure my intolerance for the timely-challenged largely stems from the fact that I was raised to be early. Sometimes I would get dropped off for school up to 45 minutes early just because otherwise I might not get a ride and might get there after the bell rang. I was taught to account for possible delays – traffic, bad weather, errands, whatever. If you have to be somewhere at 8am, you don’t turn up at 8am, you turn up at 7.45am so that you don’t seem rushed and are certain to be prepared for when 8am comes. This is something that was instilled in me early on and continues to be something I practice to this day and it’s never led me astray. Whether going to a job interview, meeting a friend or going to an event, I’ve never regretted leaving the house early and maybe having to wait a bit upon reaching my destination. The very rare occasions in which I’ve neglected to do so? Yep, it sucked.

People who are perpetually late to everything are sending a very clear message to the world around them: your time doesn’t matter.

If you’re constantly turning up even 10-15 minutes after you’re due to be somewhere, you’re basically giving the middle finger to those waiting for your arrival and saying that anything they might have to do or might need to get on with doesn’t matter in comparison to your inability to get yourself together a few minutes earlier. And that’s something I just can’t tolerate.

Sure, things happen – transportation delays, last minute emergencies, whatever. But these incidents should be the exception, not the rule. And frankly, once your lateless reaches into the half-hour mark or beyond, you might as well not even show up, in my book.

For those who think that turning up late makes you seem important or laissez-faire, get over yourself. There’s no such thing as “fashionably late” when you’ve agreed upon a firm time of being somewhere. It won’t make me think you’re mysterious or popular or that you must be so busy that I’m lucky to have secured a bit of your time. Instead, it’ll make me probably not want to make plans with you again in the future.

Here’s the bottom line: you’re an adult. Act like one! Maybe you have trouble getting up early or it takes you a while to do your hair and make-up before leaving the house. Maybe you’re extremely busy and are trying to fit too much into your day and trying to seem agreeable by making plans you can’t realistically honour. Whatever the case is, take the necessary steps to make sure that you are where you’ll say you’ll be when you say you’ll be there, no excuses.

Image via Growing Younger Each Day

  • Eilis Edmonds

    I’m always late – for everything. But I can’t say it’s because I don’t account for things that might make me late, or that I want to be ‘fashionably late’, but it’s because I have no perception of time whatsoever. I’ve tried to change this – I’ll get up 15 minutes earlier or skip breakfast, but it honestly never works! I always think I’ll make it on time, and I never do.
    My friends actually tell me to get somewhere 15 minutes earlier than they actually want me so that I turn up on time.
    So yes, I’ve tried taking ‘the necessary steps’ but my brain warps time.

  • Jenny Lazo

    i’m with you 100% on this one!!! if i’m on time, i consider myself late. i also got dropped off at school at least a half hour early because i didn’t have a ride any other way and ever since then it just stuck. late people are just rude, but the worst part about it? they don’t care. the nerve!

  • Elina Bergmann

    it’s like you read my brain 1000000%!!!
    I totally agree that the heart of this issue is that it’s just rude, plain and simple. If spending time with me isn’t worth being on time for, next time I won’t bother.

  • Alexandra

    I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for this.

  • Michelle Carrère Seizer

    This made me feel guilty…

  • Laura Parr

    Oh my god… this issue actually infuriates me SO much… I have a friend who is known to be late quite often and I love her to bits but this kiiillllssss me! And do you know whats annoying? When you get up to meet someone at a time they specified and yet they are the ones that are late… it’s like dude seriously get yo head outta yo ass, I made the effort to be on time for you and now I have to sit around and wait… I could have slept for longer!… not infuriated at all, am I?

  • Paige MacPherson

    While I can completely understand your frustration, have you ever thought about the fact that our perception of time and the need to be on time and the idea that being late is rude is actually something that is completely constructed by American culture? I am NOT trying to argue with you, please. I don’t like being late either, I just find it so fascinating that something like being late is a huge issue for some people (as you have pointed out), where in other cultures, there is no importance associated with being on time. I know in many African cultures, everything is almost always starting late, by 20min, 45min, even hours after the scheduled time was given! And this isn’t just for individual people, this can be for when you meet a friend, when dinner starts, when a big event starts (like a wedding), or even the bus schedule sometimes! The need to be somewhere, at a specific time and the importance of this, is just not something that that culture lives by. Time to them is viewed much more leisurely. So while I agree in America this opinion of needing to be on time is completely acceptable, just remember that not everyone agrees with you, and they have good reasons for it as well.

  • Linda Karas

    wow… you hit the nail on the head with this one… i agree 100%!!!

  • Nata Rubiano

    You read my mind to write this, right?? Seriously… Awesome

  • Jen Aguilar

    In the wise words of Fall Out Boy “I set my clocks early cuz I know I’m always late”


  • Caity Johnson

    thank you!!! this is my #1 pet peeve. in my opinion 5 minutes early is late. the majority of my friends are always 10 to 15 minutes behind schedule and it drives me insane, i really don’t understand why people don’t respect other people’s time. show up at the time that you agreed upon and everyone will be happy.

  • Mandy McDonald

    You obviously don’t have kids… :)

  • Wendy Marquardsen

    Aaww, this post made me a little sad to read. I do understand where you are coming from, but I fall in the camp that a lot of people do. sometimes I am really early, and sometimes I am running late. I can be comically obsessive about arriving early (like to the airport or theater), and sometimes I’m the unintentional jerk that has to walk in after a social gathering has started.
    I try to be gracious when someone is running late for me, but, I get that is because I’m on the opposite side sometimes. I try not to be late when meeting friends, because I understand they would feel disrespected and inconvenienced. But sometimes, it just happens and I’m usually stressed out enough by that point about being late and fearing an angry friend on the other end that it doubles the stress. i get it, they have been inconvenienced. i just try to be more honest about a time frame when i try to see them, and update them if I am running early or late. because in the end, neither camps are going to change. there have been studies on how some people excel with being managed by the clock, and some people who don’t… and lots of helpful exercises and self improvement reflection to determine why us late bees can’t ‘get our act together’. but that isn’t a short road, and i like to remind myself that it kind of is a cultural thing.
    ~ to tack onto how time is managed- even in early america, it wasn’t uncommon for cities to run 15 minutes ahead or behind of another nearby city. once the railroad was built and passengers were missing their connecting trains, we finally had to have a day devoted to actually synching up the clocks throughout america).
    so… don’t hate us. we are trying to get to the station (cafe/ thanksgiving dinner…) on time.

  • Jamie Green

    I love this 100%

  • Wayne Kline

    I have to agree!

  • Jason Carstens

    this is why I don’t give “exact” times of when I will show up, I usually give a “window” of about 2 – 3 hours of approximate time I will be there.

  • Emily Spaulding

    I do agree that being late is rude, selfish and inconsiderate to those who are waiting for you. I have been chronically late my ENTIRE life. No matter how early I planned things out, even if I started getting ready 2 hours before my appointment I still would wind up being late. Hell, I even was late to my own father’s funeral service. I’ve also had many situations where I have been late and completely embarrassed by it. I later found out that this is in fact a symptom of ADHD/ADD *which I was diagnosed with about a year and a half ago*. I’m just saying that as much as lateness is annoying and as I said before rude, selfish and inconsiderate….the latecomer may have issues of their own and may feel at times that it is somewhat out of their control.

    • Megan Younce

      Same!! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Even if I plan earlier, something will happen that makes me late. No matter what. My mother is the same way, and I’ve always teased that she has ADHD, but honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she and I were both diagnosed.

  • Sarah Cox

    My punctuality varies. I’m not uptight about other people’s lateness unless it’s been over 20 minutes and they haven’t called to say what’s keeping them. I can also flip this around and say how I hate when people show up 20 minutes earlier than expected and make me feel rushed for no reason.

  • Nikki Prowse

    that’s my sister for ya, she’s even late to HER OWN parties!! it got so bad that we all just started lying about the time she should arrive places. But she’s caught on to us and instead of arriving an hour “late” from the time she’s given, she now knows that we want her to be there at, say, 10 and not really 9, so she’ll usually show up around 10:45ish. Its really frustrating. She thinks that its no big deal and that everyone should stop worrying about when she’ll arrive, but a lot of times its very stressful when we’re trying to keep a schedule or leave for an event.

    But I think my biggest pet peeve is when she tells me over and over to “BE SURE YOU’RE NOT LATE! I really want to be on time this time!” and then I get to her house ready and at least 30 minutes early and she hasn’t even started getting ready and we usually don’t leave the house until whatever event has already started. Now I’m not saying that I’m perfect and always on time. In fact, its pretty common for me to show up EXACTLY on time or 5 minutes late and theres always an excuse… which is really just bad planning, but it seems like being an hour and a half takes practice and planning on its own. How does someone do that consistantly every time?!

    Needless to say, I don’t go to movies with this lady! UGH!

  • Diana Del Valle

    I have stopped waiting for people after years of losing hours of my life because of tardy people. I go right on ahead or just leave altogether after I give the other person a deadline. It prevents me from wasting my time, it shows the other person that I value my time and won’t tolerate their rudeness, and it makes me resent them less. I truly don’t understand what is so hard. If someplace takes 30 minutes to get to, simply calculate your departure time. It’s basic math. I have traveled all around the world and mostly just apply my philosophy on punctuality to American culture. A good quote comes to mind: “You may as well borrow a person’s money as his time.”

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