(Closed) "Late is a control thing." – a question.

posted 4 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 31
3611 posts
Sugar bee

ScratchNSniff :  I’m sometimes late because I’m disorganized af, not because I want to control my friends and family. (Who on earth would purposely be late in order do that?!) I don’t like to keep people waiting, but I often find that I have no clue where I put my phone or keys or I smudge my eyeliner right before I leave the house, so I’m a few minutes late. My friends rarely show up places right on time either, so it’s not just me and we’re definitely not all trying to control or one-up one another. I would never think to impute any malicious intent to people when they’re late.

Post # 32
1191 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

I can see both sides of the tardiness debate, because in my close family (parents, siblings, etc) I am known as the one who is often “late”. 

By late, I mean: if we are carpooling somewhere, like a wedding, and I ask what time they want to leave, they’ll say “I don’t know, around 3:30” – at 3:29 they are in the car glaring at me because I’m “late”. Their lack of grace about it makes me much less inclined to adhere to their times. Sometimes I’ll even be a bit of a jerk and *gasp* get in the car at 3:31 just to emphasize the fact that they said AROUND 3:30.


That being said – in the eyes of the rest of the world, I’m known as being the first at everything. Every event, every meeting, etc – I’m usually there early. I don’t drive (vision-related) so I have to be very deliberate about where I am and when. I don’t mind that I’m always the first person at a party, because SOMEONE has to do it, and I’m sociable enough that I can avoid the awkward silences.

My best friend is always late. To everything. Even when she tries to leave on time, she’ll have forgotten her wallet or keys or phone and have to go back for them (I’ve been with her when this has happened maaannny times). I really don’t think it’s because she values her own time over mine. Her brain is just not prone to organizational skills. If it’s something important to me, I’ll ask her to meet me 15 minutes before she actually needs to be there – though of course I’ll always make sure I’m there at the time I gave her, in case she actually shows up then.

Bottom line: I always try to be on time for things, but life is often unpredictable. I don’t judge others for being late, as long as they apologize, and as long as it doesn’t seriously inconvenience someone (like being late for work when you’re replacing someone, so they’re forced to stay late). Life is too short to get worked up about things like this!

Post # 33
2146 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I DISPISE lateness… im the only person I know that ever shows up on time and it so rude, I have several times had people show up FIVE HOURS late, seriously not every week but far more than once its happened – I recently I left after 4 hours of waiting and they got mad ar ME for leaving surprised 10-15 miniutes is forgivable but hours late means you havent even tried yell


im sorry but if your late because you took too long to do something then you need to plan better, the only time its acceptable to be late is if there is something out of your control (like major traffic due to accident or sudden weather changes like a flash flood that has effected your route or a breakdown etc…) but not because you miscalculated time, get a watch and learn time management in that case

Post # 34
639 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Darling Husband tends to be late a bit, because his time management skills aren’t the best. It’s not malicious or even intentional on his part; he’ll think “Oh I have x minutes to get ready for that” and then need more than the allotted time to do so. He’s gotten a lot better since meeting me though! 

I, on the other hand, am chronically early because I leave myself time to prepare for things going wrong (losing car keys, bad traffic, acts of God).

Together, we are on time. 😂 

Post # 35
1724 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Habitual lateness can, but is not always, be a sign of passive-aggressive resistance to an activity or event, or a disregard for the polite timeliness to help others.  We have someone who is late ALL the TIME for holidays and it’s a sore spot for the family.  We’ve waited 3 hours to eat because this person was just late, really really late.  It’s partly poor time management, and partly a “my time is more important and I don’t like your schedule” message that comes across.  Habitual lateness means never being on time for movies, dr.’s appts, planned meals and events… and it makes everyone else late or miss things, too.  So yes, sometimes there is more than just having a bad day making you late.  If you are ALWAYS late, the poor planning affects other people, and shows them that their desire to spend time with you is not worth the effort of being on time.  

Post # 36
6290 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

ScratchNSniff :  

soymilk :  explained very well how lateness can be a control thing. My Mother-In-Law has (undiagnosed) NPD, and used being late to control people and/or situations and/or to make people anxious/stressed. There was also definitely an attitiude of her time being more valuable than anyone else’s. She particularly did this with people (like me) that she didn’t like and wanted to ‘test’ in some way. On one occasion, for example, I had booked, and paid for, timed tickets to an event, and she was 40 minutes late meeting me, meaning we very nearly didn’t make it. Another time she was an hour late, leaving me waiting with heavy bags outside in the heat. She would also always be late for restaurant reservations, etc, and always took ages getting ready.

I tend to think that if people are habitually late, at the best they lack manners and respect. I don’t think being disorganised is an excuse for habitual lateness, particularly when the indiviudal (like yourself, OP) recognises that there is an issue. If you know you frequently run late, why not then aim to be somewhere 30 minytes before you need to, to allow for slippage? Why not work on being more organised, and not keeping people waiting?

And at worst, yes, it can be used as a means of control or manipulation. When my Mother-In-Law was late, as in situations I’ve described, it would cause me unnecessary stress and anxiety (will we actually get in, or will I have wasted money, etc).

By the time of our wedding I was wise to her and how to deal with it, and both her and Brother-In-Law (who was taking her to the venue) were told exactly what time family photos were happening, and that if they were not there, there would not be another opportunity to have those photos taken; and you can bet we’d have followed through. If someone is using lateness as a control thing, then as PPs have said, that’s the best way to handle it: you continue with your original plans and if that means they miss out, tough. So, how I should have handled the previous situations would have been to say ‘sorry Mother-In-Law, but I’m going to leave now to make sure I’m there on time; if you manage to make it, I’ll see you inside the venue’.

Post # 39
1150 posts
Bumble bee

ScratchNSniff :  

I was chronically late for much of my life.  For two simple reasons: Pronounced ADD and anxiety.  Had nothing to do with control.  In fact it made me feel out of control, contributed to low self esteem, made me feel like a bad friend/relative/employee/etc.

I have gotten MUCH better.  In fact I’m really only rarely late now, it’s a fluke if I am.  I never ever thought I would ever be able to say that.  My ADD can still get the best of me but I am better able to control anxiety now.  

Soymilk gave some great insights though.  I have seen others employ lateness and general control of shared time as a power/manipulation thing in unbalanced relationships.  

Post # 40
69 posts
Worker bee

Most of the time when I’m late it’s because I had to poop before I left the house. I plan for this, but sometimes my body does not cooperate. My fiance is late because of ADD. Neither of us is malicious but we try to allow a buffer. Sometimes sh*t happens.  Anybody else?

Post # 41
400 posts
Helper bee

ScratchNSniff :  yeah with all those responses that are quite often very rude while schooling you on etiquette in the same sentence always make me laugh. Proper etiquette says that you don’t berate strangers, even if it is behind a computer screen– but I digress. 

I didn’t gather that you are a malicious for making other parties wait for you. In fact, that is not even a rationalization that would ever come to mind. Selfish? Inconsiderate? Sure. But malicious and passive aggressive? WHO HAS THAT TIME, literally? OP, you are not a terrible person and if you are, I doubt anyone on WB knows you enough to arrive to that conclusion. 

Post # 42
2603 posts
Sugar bee

Habitual, chronic lateness can definitely be a control thing.  I’m estranged from my toxic mother now, but in years past, she definitely used tardiness as a controlling mechanism.   There were times when I missed an appointment (or was embarassing late) due to her, and even times when I missed a flight (when she insisted on driving me to the airport.)

I personally have very little patience for the people who are habitually late due to absentmindedness, having a poor ability to keep track of time, etc.  

If you habitually underestimate how long it will take you to do something and this causes you to be late for other events that day . . . the answer seems simple. Start giving yourself some extra time. So if you think it will take you half an hour to…say… run to the post office and mail a package before picking up your friend and driving her to the airport? Give yourself an hour to run the errand.  

Also, in today’s hyper-digital world, there’s all kinds of tools and mechanisms we can use to help with this — recurring alarms on your iPhone, for example, if you tend to lose track of time and often don’t leave on time.  Various GPS traffic apps to help route you the most efficient way.  My iPhone (and MacBook Pro) will even give me “you need to leave now due to traffic” alerts for appointments on my calendar.  

You always have the ability to change your behavior. 

Post # 43
251 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I think being late is only a control thing for certain people. Occasionally I’m late for things, but never more than about 15 minutes, and if it’s because something came up, I always call/text whoever I’m meeting and explain. 

We had one friend in particular who was ALWAYS more than 30-45 minutes late for everything. We had a feeling it was a control issue because it was usually with dinners and she’d prefer to eat later, but the earlier time worked out better for the rest of the group. In the beginning, we’d wait for her, but after it happened about 4 or 5 times, we would just eat before she got there and then by the time she got there, we were done. After that, she stopped being so late and usually made it on time or only about 5-10 minutes late. So while I do think being late is sometimes a control thing, I do think it’s usually pretty easy to not let the late person have all the power. Just start without them 😉

Post # 44
564 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

For some it may be.  But I think of it more as a “respect, my time is more important” thing.  Even if it’s not intentional or malicious (which I think it usually isn’t for most people).

Being late once in a while is normal and happens to most people (underestimating time, etc.).  Being late chronically is more of an underlying issue.  Because if you’re underestimating your time that much, you should know by now that you chronically underestimate time and should leave more than you think you need.  If you’re not doing that you’re not doing it for a reason, conscious or not.

One of my close friends (complicated relationship for many reasons, including this frustration) is late all the time.  Like, ALL the time.  To pretty much everything I’ve ever done with her.  I don’t think she means to be and I don’t think she is trying to make things harder for me.  But I do think she’s self-involved and just gets wrapped up in her own stuff regardless of whether it’s going to leave me (or other friends who are equally frustrated) waiting.  She never has excuses that seem entirely justified – it’s just normal life stuff.  And it’s annoying as all get out.  So again, if she did this once in a while it would be fine.  The chronic stuff smacks of self-involvement.


Post # 45
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I am often about 5 minutes late for things. Sometimes 10, rarely more than that. I must be honest, I really didn’t realise how upset people got about it until reading this thread. I am generally on time when I am meeting somebody and they are waiting for me. I am often late for pilates… but pilates starts at 5pm regardless of whether or not I’m there and the instructor isn’t bothered (I hope) by me sneaking in the back. I have actually been late for a job interview before (I got horribly lost and stuck in a traffic jam thereafter). Somehow I still got the job???!! Anyway, I will definitely make more of an effort after reading this. I’m usually late because I underestimate how long things take. Of course, I should have a bit of a better grasp of this by now (it is rather obvious), but somehow I don’t. I am also extremely scatter brained and things often go wrong in entertaining ways. I do promise though that it is never malicious. I would caution everyone to be careful of jumping to conclusions about people’s motivations though… You can’t know for certain what other people are thinking and what their motivations are. 

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