Is being chronically, habitually late an act of aggression?

In this Pit threadthe OP takes on some people who arrive quite late for a restaurant dinner party and expect that their lateness will be perfectly OK.

I’m occasionally late to social engagements due to my own dilly dallying, but usually am pretty much on time to most non-work engagements, and I am spot on for professional appointments. There are people, however, and I am related to some of them, that make being late an art form. 1 PM means 2 PM etc., and no matter how much they are castigated and lectured on this being inappropriate behavior they make little if any effort to reform their ways.

At some point you really have to wonder if they are actually making an* effort* to be chronically late, or is it that they have no respect for other people’s time, or is it some sort of passive-aggressive or low key “no one is the boss of me” ego rebellion… or what? These are not reprobates, they are nice, decent, generous, generally moral people who are always late.

What is the motivation for people who are chronically and habitually late?

In general, how punctual I am to anything is a reflection upon how much I care. When I first started my most recent job, I made a point of being 10 or 20 minutes early every morning. Slowly, as I realized it was a horrible job I became less and less early and more and more late. By the time I quit, I had written a piece of software that allowed me to be as late as I wanted because it “punched me in” right on time.

If we’re talking about a one-time event, like getting together for drinks, I wouldn’t look upon someone’s lateness as a measure of interest unless they were considerably late. It’s easy to get screwed up by traffic or by forgetting something. Habitual lateness would garner some reflection.

My mom has this tendency. From what I’ve gathered by asking her directly about it (it’s been awhile since I did this last), she simply doesn’t see what the fuss is all about when someone is late. I think it’s due to her conception of time as an imprecise construct. If, for example, I were to ask her what time it was now, she’d say, “It’s 3:30,” even though as I type this it’s 3:50. Even when I point out the fact that 3:50 is twenty minutes later than 3:30, she says, “Oh, okay. 3:50,” and leaves it at that.

So to answer the question in the thread title, no, I don’t think in general it is an act of aggression. Of course it can be for some people, in the “I’ll show them. I’'m going to get there late just to spite them” way, but for people like my mother, it’s simply a matter of not thinking of time in a precise manner.

All of the above can be the cause, as well as self-centeredness. It never occurs to them to think of someone else’s time as important. It’s not necessarily a conscious power-play, but just a form of narcissism.

There are a couple of people in my family like that. We’ve learned that we tell them what time to be there, and we just go ahead with plans whether they are there are not. They may be one of the ones who calls every 20 minutes to say they are “on their way” or they may not, but we’ve learned to simply not care and not hold up anything for them.

Sometimes it’s a sort of bizarre idealism: I had a chronically late student tell me one time, in deadly earnest, that he “left on time every day, but everyday there was traffic”. In his mind, the “ideal” amount of time it took to get to school was 20 minutes, or whatever it took on a Saturday night, and so he had to leave 20 minutes before school started. The fact that he would hit rush hour traffic every single morning was a continual surprise to him.

That sort of thinking is forgivable in a 16 year old–they do grow up quite a bit–but irritating as hell in an adult.

In a situation like that, its a matter of “You aint gonna learn what you dont wanna know” (to quote John Barlow)

Of course there are a lot of reasons why someone may tend to always running late, but if its a chronic, habitual behavior, there is an element of “Fuck You” in it, at least to my way of thinking…

We are never late. Never. never never. If were were, my husband would implode.
He also has to be the last to leave any clambake, so one can imagine the thrills I have being the First in/Last Out for any of these. This is referred to as F.I.L.O. And I usually drive seperat e and I am usually one of the first to bug out. look, someone has to write the manifesto!
I would like to mention that Mr. Ujest has this bizarre mutant power to hit awesome flowing traffic, *always find an excellent parking spot *and ALWAYS CROSS THE THRESHOLD OF THE HOUSE WHERE THE PARTY IS AT AT THE EXACT TIME THE PART STARTS. Every farkin’ time. It’s like he controls all these variables with his sheer will. and he knows it.

OTOH, we have a couple of friends who are never on time. One is a friend of 25 plus years and he hasn’t been on time since day one. We don’t care. We start with out him and harass him when he shows up with his piss poor excuses. ( I’ve decided it is low self esteem. Brilliant and smart, zero self esteem.) He sometimes calls.

The other friend (5 year plus friendship) who is chronically late is late because he starts out on time but every time he ends up running a couple of errands, going back to the house to get what as needed/forgotten, or there was some unforeseen issue with traffic. He drives like a bat out of hell everywhere he goes. Every time I have ridden with him, we hit this Time Warp. He crams in too much " Yes" into his errands and does crap for others and doesn’t know how to say ‘no’ to anyone. It is referred to as the Vinnie Factor. He always calls.

Wow, that completely explains a friend of mine! I’m always trying to understand how she can be so late, and this really sounds like a likely explanation. She’s absolutely not a thoughtless person, so narcissism is a bit unlikely, but she is an eternal optimist, and extremely scatterbrained. (And she’s well over 16, unfortunately.)

My wild theory is that for some people, it’s a sign of intimacy, and they can’t imagine how it’s misinterpreted by others. Like farting in front of your spouse, they feel you’re close enough to be late for. I feel like they’re saying I’m not important enough to be on time. Aforementioned friend was recently in town for a week, and when she was late the third time she assured me that she had always been on time at her job that year. I secretly felt angry that she thought that the people she worked for, who she claimed not to respect at all, were more worthy of her time than me. I bet that subconsciously she felt like I should be flattered to be an old comfortable shoe friend

I have a colleague who is always late. She is also quite narcissistic, so I attribute it to that, plus a sense that she can do more than is possible in a given amount of time.

I lost a “friend” over lateness. I’m curious what you all think about the situation. We had tickets to Spam-a-Lot. This was a BIG deal to me. She is chronically late. So I did my utmost to insist that she come over a day or two before the show and pick up her ticket. "No, no I’ll be on time."I said that 15 minutes before show time I was going to go in. My cell phone would be off. I was not going to wait. PLEASE come and get your ticket. She refused. Fifteen minutes before show time, I went in with both tickets. I came out at intermission to find a very pissed off friend who said she was there at least 5 minutes before show time. She insists I should have waited. We haven’t really spoken since. I feel bad. But not all that bad.

I want to blow steam out of my ears like a cartoon character whenever I encounter the stereotype about women never being on time. My husband is the WORST! It drives me nuts – primarily because he always gets pissed off and snarly when it becomes obvious to him that he’s running late. Dude. You have no one to blame but yourself. :mad:

I don’t blame you a bit. I would have done the same thing. You warned her.

People like this are usually too far into their own head and their own ideas of what should happen that, like several of the examples above, repeatedly being beat over the head by reality makes no dent in their (narcissitic, self-focused, clueless, inobservant, stubborn - pick on or more) thought patterns.

Used to have a friend who would be late all the time. Would even call and say that he was like a mile away, then not show up for a half-hour, thus giving the lie to his initial claim of being two stop lights away. Of course, this guy was just too thick headed all around, leading me to dump him as a friend. I wouldn’t call it aggression or even rudeness on his part, he was just too locked into thought patterns that had absolutely NO basis in reality.

I have a co-worker who is always late. You don’t get marked down until you’re 10 minutes late. He’s 7-9 minutes late every fucking day. Just over 10 minutes late often enough to be at the “final warning” point for tardiness. Every day it’s an excuse. He had to do something, there was no cold water, someone called, he spaced off, there was construction, blah, blah, blah.

But what we all (his co-workers) see is that he’s always, every day, arriving within 2-3 minutes of the same time. If he made the effort, and he does when he’s under the gun, such as right now, he’s on time every day. Again, it’s not aggression or rudeness, it’s a pattern of behavior that he’s comfortable with and hasn’t been burned enough to change.

Can I be in your family?

I’m consistently late. For me, I simply can’t have “empty” time. Yes, I know it’s a character flaw but I like to stay busy so I try to cram “just one more thing” in before I get in the shower.

Narcissistic? Maybe. I’m not that way in other parts of my life but I absolutely hate to wait on someone else. On some level I must think my time is more valuable than everyone elses. It’s definitely not a conscious decision.

In the same token, I would be DELIGHTED if my family and friends would just go ahead without me. If I’m dumb enough to be an hour late for Christmas dinner and miss the presents then so be it. It’s my loss and it’s not personal!

So, Ruby, how would you have treated me if you missed the first half of Spam-a-Lot? :slight_smile: Actually, I suspect you’d have taken me up on the offer to come get your ticket. I hope so. :slight_smile:

Absolutely! In no way were you disrespectful of your friend. You told her up front what your plans were and she chose to ignore them.

It was VERY disrespectful of your friend to not be there on time. Attending a theater performance is different than showing up at Aunt Edna’s on Christmas day. If I were you, I would have likely chosen a different friend to join you. :slight_smile:

My name is Doc Cathode, and I am chronically late.

I don’t think my time is more important than yours.

I am not being passive aggressive.

I am not a narcissist.

I’m just late.

I blame The Dope. It has made me late to work more mornings than I care to admit.

I’ve known some people to brag that the show up late to piss people off. The confidence of drunks can be so reveling about that person. It can be malice or that they don’t care that they are constantly late. It depends on how big of an ass they are.

Could you get to something on time if you needed to? For example, if you were being Best Man at a wedding and had to get to the church at a particular time, could you do that?