One of the more blasphemous things you can do to someone you care about is be late and make them wait for you. What exactly would you have the person do for the 30 to 60 minutes that they are sitting and waiting for you? That person will never get those minutes back again and could’ve spent in doing things that they enjoyed or thought was important, but instead they made a commitment and decided to be with you. What could be more disrespectful than to agree on a time and then make someone wait?
If this is something that you do to people regularly, you are actually quite purposely showing blatant disregard for your friend. Why? Do you show up to work late regularly? Do you make your doctors appointments, your yoga class, school appointments on time? How are you on time for those appointments but not for your friends?
It’s also important to keep your friends and family abreast of whether or not you’re going to the late far before your meeting time. If you have a 2 o’clock in the afternoon meeting, an appropriate time to let the person know you will be late is early in the morning, or as soon as you possibly know. Not at 2 o’clock when you’re just leaving the house and not at 1:50 when you know you’re still 30 minutes away.
The appropriate way to handle a transgression of this type is to simply not be there when your friend finally shows up if it’s more than 15 to 20 minutes of unexplained lateness.
I have no respect for people who are chronically late. It is so arrogant on peoples part to make plans and force people to wait for you. But it seems almost impossible for people to cure themselves of it. However, you can help cure the masses by practicing not being there. It’s a great gift to give back to your friend. You would not arrive late to a wedding, a funeral, or the emergency room, so you should see to it that you do not arrive late to appointments when someone is actually waiting for you.
This like many posts on etiquette is about keeping your word and being in integrity. You can tell people you’ll meet them at whatever time you want- and you can even tell them much longer than you think it would take you to be there, but just be there at that time. If you think you can be there at two but you know better, set the appointment for 3:30 or even 4:00 if you’re an ultra egoist. Life can revolve around your terms as long as you tell people your terms and keep your word. I have no problem if someone makes me way later than I would prefer to meet them, as long as they are there when they say they’re going to be there.
Another big no-no is canceling the day of, the hour of, or the moment that you were supposed to get together. For example, you agree to meet at noon and you text (God forbid) or call at noon to tell your friend you’re flaking out and can’t make it. This is the biggest abomination of them all. Friends, it is never, under any circumstance appropriate to flake on someone the moment that you were supposed to be there because it is physically and physiologically impossible for you to not know way before this!
You’ve got to step outside yourself and put yourself in the other’s shoes. How long would you sit around and wait for someone before getting irritated? Angry? Sad? If your friend put any number of things on hold so that they could be on time, and the other person blatantly shows up 30 to 60 to 90 minutes late, think of what that conveys. What are they supposed to do with their time? It is lost time they can never get back.
Behavior like this can often lead to your friends never wanting to talk to you again. This may be just the thing! But to avoid it, simply, wait for it…
Call before you’re going to be late. Call before it’s not even close to you being late. Call, Call Call.
Give the person a chance to decide if it’s still going to work for them.