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Time Etiquette

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.


Texting is an amazing tool. There are trillions sent every month and I definitely think it has it’s place in our fast moving culture.

However, more often than not texting becomes a nuisance, rearing it’s little head in every occasion.  To practice good textiquette is simple. Stop texting as much and pick up the phone. This should be everyone’s M.O. for the next several years. Just practice calling the top ten people you care about most.  Say hello and remind them that you care.

There is another area you can clean up while we’re at it: Full blown text conversations. Friends talk with their mouths and body language. You should try this. If you’re one of those who finds yourself batting out large paragraphs of information or have gone back and forth on a subject more than five to seven times, it’s probably time for a phone call.  It is my experience that nothing can hide the tone or intention you actually want to communicate more than email and text messages. People tend to read texts and emails either the way they would write or worse, in a way that assumes the worst.  Texts are great for short hand, or little updates but once you start expressing full blown emotions and discussions, you’re getting yourself into hot water.

Practicing calling people and being succinct but friendly on the phone.  The only reason you are uncomfortable with being on the phone is because you are either not used to it anymore or are afraid you may not know what to say or how to handle yourself. Breathe, dial and smile. The person on the other end will appreciate it and help you pick up the slack and if you run out of things to say, just make it short.

Voicemail Etiquette IV – Return a Call with a Call, not a Text

When someone has the courtesy to pick up the phone and call you, do not by default return their voicemail with a text message.  If someone cared enough to call you, it means they wanted to hear their voice not an SMS.

In some instances however, it is acceptable such as when someone is calling for a quick answer to something and when you genuinely cannot pick up the phone but can take a moment to reply.

However in most cases you should practice your phone voice.  In the last month, I have had no less than four people tell me how unusual and special it was that I actually called them when the rest of the world is always just texting.  It’s a great way to make an impression on those you care about.

Voicemail Etiquette III – K.I.S.S.

Voicemail Etiquette III is very simple.

Use voicemail to give people a quick burst of what is on your mind. Not your life story.

So the idea here is to not leave 4 minute voicemails detailing everything that has happened to you the past week or month, unless we haven’t spoken in three years.

Did you know many people don’t even listen to their voicemail… on purpose? Don’t worry, they’re up next.


© 2019 Tari.Tv