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Dear Cynthia... > Being Chronically Late
Being Chronically Late
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256 posts
Dec 11, 2009
10:43 PM
I'm hoping we can have a conversation about this and share struggles and successes. Just add your comment to this thread!
5 posts
Dec 14, 2009
4:51 PM
Wow. I am chronically late... Have struggled with it my entire life... I'm not sure what it's all about. Rebellion? I don't know... Luckily, 99% of my employers have put up with it because I'm a good worker. But my last one I think finally had had enough of it... I'm working a temp job now and I'm usually 5-10 minutes. I do excellent work otherwise. Unfortunately, my employer is passive aggressive and decides not to talk to me for a week at a time... and I guess it's because I'm late... It just feeds in to my low self esteem and then, once again, I don't feel worthy. Over this weekend, I felt very angry and thought to myself that no matter what, I was going to be on time so that my side of the slate is clean and in order to take my power back... Well, I was 4 minutes late today (better). Wow. It's a very difficult problem to rectify... Thank you for bringing this issue up...
2 posts
Dec 16, 2009
7:09 PM
I have a friend who is always about an hour late, so I started just telling him to come an hour earlier than I want him to arrive, and thus, he still runs late but ends up getting there on time. It's probably harder to fool yourself, but maybe you could tell yourself you have to be at work 30 minutes earlier than you really have to be there?

Last Edited by on Dec 16, 2009 7:09 PM
1 post
Dec 16, 2009
9:57 PM
Wow, I am glad it is not just me. I am chronically 15 mins late everyday for work and most of the time when I meet my friends. I have some good friends that tease me because I am part hispanic and they say I am on Mexican time. They know when I say I will be there at 4:00 I will be at least 15 mins late and sometimes later. They just tell me to arrive an hour before I have to be there. I try to help myself by setting several alarms in the morning. I set my clock ahead by 15mins. When the alarm goes off, I look at the clock and I have forgotten that it is set ahead because I am still half asleep. I have problems occasionally at work because I come in late, but most of the time I am at work way past the time everyone else leaves. I just believe I have a different time cadence than most people. I accept this about myself, I just have a hard time with the people around me that somehow put all your worth on what time you get to work in the morning. Everyone I work with say they are awake by 5:30 in the morning, I can't even imagine! I do my job and I do a good job. I just beat my drum a little different. I always say, that I hate time and watches, I don't even wear one. I never liked to wear them. I would rather not know what time it is. Do whales get up in the morning depending on what time they have to be at a particular part of the ocean? I think not! PEOPLE WHO ARE CHRONICALLY LATE, RULE! Thank you for giving me the oportunity to say my peace about this issue.......it is JUST time people, not a measure of your worth. Love to all you fellow "late" comers. I was also a "late bloomer" do you think that is common in the "chronically late"?
257 posts
Dec 16, 2009
11:15 PM
Thanks for your contributions lindajean, Caitlin, and Loreli! I think all late--ies have tried messing with the clocks, and found the inevitable problems with it (among other problems, eventually you read the clock with adding the minutes you know you actually have if the clock were set right, and end up as late as ever).

There are absolutely different circadian rhythms in different people. I am at my best after 9 pm, and worthless before 9 am (or all day if I wake up before 9 am). This is why before becoming a therapist I was a bartender and a taxi driver! I'm not sure whether a late circadian rhythm sleep cycle is connected to being late getting places, but it would be interesting to know what people's experiences are.

Come join the conversation!

Last Edited by on Dec 17, 2009 1:58 AM
6 posts
Dec 17, 2009
8:34 AM
I was glad to hear I wasn't the only one! I really like Loreli's attitude around being late. I wish I didn't suffer so much from feeling like a bad person when I'm late. I agree that it's ridiculous to base somebody's self worth on being late. But most employers do, unfortunately. I mean I guess I don't like when people are late for me. I do all the clock stuff too. Clock in my bedroom is 30 minutes fast, clock in the kitchen is 8 minutes fast, clock in my car is 7 minutes fast, etc. etc. Those clocks don't fool me! I always know exactly what time it is.. :)

The deal with the job I have now is that my employer HATES when people are late. I think I said earlier in my post he's passive aggressive and he just doesn't talk to me. Feeds MAJOR into my low self esteem and definitely goes back to how I felt as a child from my father... I saw so clearly yesterday how this is a lesson I need to learn from. Either I need to be on time, or I need to let go of what my boss thinks of me... I feel like crap most days when he's in the office and feel terrible about myself because he doesn't talk to me. I really see how it's not really about me being a bad person, it's about me needing to learn to shake off stuff around my father...

For me, I go to bed too late, therefore sleep too late in the morning and get up too late to be on time. But I do feel in the morning if I start lolligagging (sp?) around, a sense of rebellion, how much I don't want to go to work, how much I don't give a sh__ if I'm late or not, etc. etc. I'm totally not a morning person and usually feel quite depressed in the morning. And I'm also not much good until after 9:00 a.m. (I have to be to work by 8:00 am) I'm trying to do better with being late, and actually am better, and try to look at this issue as just being a small part of who I am, that I have lots of good qualities etc. etc.

Thanks so much for all your support, Cynthia.
1 post
Dec 17, 2009
8:42 PM
I wish I could wake up later, but my partner is an early riser, and if I sleep in the other room, it's an insult. I'm chronically late, but also chronically tired.
What Cynthia said about perfectionism seems somewhat true for me. My old therapist once asked me if I am a perfectionist, and I laughed and said no, because I am a procrastinator, was a terrible student, cut class, didn't hand in assignments etc., feel like a slacker at work, often won't go somewhere at all if I'm late. But on the other hand, I do have a problem recognizing something as good enough. If I wrote a book, it would be nothing unless I won the nobel prize in literature. Anyway just recognizing those things about myself helps me push through them. Like I'm more able to ignore my impulse to turn around and go home when I'm late.

There was one technique that was pretty successful for me in terms of meeting a deadline when the project seemed overwhelming and was far in advance. I set a timer for x hours a day, and I had to be working for those x hours. If I got up to do something else, even to go to the bathroom, I stopped the timer. And I mostly just tried to stay at my desk even when I was really itching to get up. It was kind of like I made sticking with it the challenge. I was really surprised and proud at how long I could actually stay with it.
I don't know if that's a bit different from being late yourself, but it feels related.
And I'm not editing this note, because my time limit is up :)
5150 Jill
1 post
Dec 18, 2009
11:08 AM
Greetings; Like yourself, I always arrive a little later than I said I would be, or when I'm supposed to be, like work. As a matter of fact, I think the only thing I've ever been early for was life...(I was born two months early). Anyway, at this point in my life I like to view this as, "I'm fashionably late." After years of struggling with self-analysis, I've come to the conclusion that I'm in it for the rush. As I'm leaving for work, I look at the clock, realizing that I'm going to be late, again. At this point, I jump in my car, and drive real fast in an attempt to arrive on time. Once there, I don't need coffee, because I'm flying on adrenaline. Some how, it's working for me. Thanks for the opportunity to explore this subject.

Last Edited by on Dec 18, 2009 11:21 AM
1 post
Jan 08, 2010
10:39 AM
I have the opposite problem--I'm compulsively early to everything. Work, appointments, the airport, you name it. It's good in a way, but I really don't need to be at my internship 20 minutes early everyday. It's unpaid and my boss never knows when I get there anyway! I could use that time to eat breakfast, relax, or read the newspaper. I don't know why I'm like this, but I've always been a little high-strung. I hate it when other people are late, so I refuse to do it to others.
263 posts
Jan 11, 2010
11:30 PM
Is this something you want to change? Could you be early and also be more relaxed? Is stress and anxiety an issue in other areas of your life?
4 posts
Jan 12, 2010
6:01 PM
I tend to be an anxious person. i think being early helps that, though. So it isn't something I'd want to change. I feel mentally prepared when I'm early to an appointment/work/whatever. It gives me time to think and absorb my surroundings.
266 posts
Jan 14, 2010
12:48 AM
It sounds like you've worked out a system for yourself that works!
6 posts
Feb 05, 2010
10:12 PM
I love this topic! Ella, I share your chronic early-ness! It used to be almost an obsession with me. I think it stems from coming into new classrooms all the time as a child (because we moved so much). I was always coming in the door after everyone was already seated (and usually had been together already for several weeks). Even in college, if I was a few minutes late, I wouldn't go in.

I am usually between 20-30 minutes early for nearly everything. My friends laugh at me...they say I couldn't be late if I tried. So what do I do? I try! I really do. Every once in awhile, I do my damndest to be late. I'll dawdle and leave late, drive really slowly, park far away and as I'm sure you've guessed...I'm STILL early! LOL!

I have MANY people in my life who are chronically late. I used to find it rather disrespectful, I admit. After years of working in a profession where lateness is completely unacceptable (show business), I find myself having little patience for latecomers (esp. for plays, movies and the opera). But that impatience is situational. It all depends.

Anyway, I've mellowed out a lot about being hung up on time. I try to laugh it off now, maybe mutter under my breath while I wait. And it's a good thing, too, because most everyone in my world has a problem being on time. They are there to teach me patience, tolerance, and flexibility; three things I usually am lacking in spades! Early Rocks!
1 post
Feb 16, 2010
9:42 PM
Being on time is not a saintly virtue. Some people are just more organized than others.

People who are self-righteous or take it personally that their friends or employees are a little late should be asking themselves what they get out of making their otherwise lovable friend or great employee wrong for not arriving at the exact hour. If there's no real consequence for their being late, then it is a sign that you are being uptight. People who live in the moment find that little extra time perfect for squeezing in a call, sending an email, or reading a book.

If I was going to pick my friends based on faults, I'd pick late over many other negative qualities. My dearest friend in the world makes my habitually 10 minutes late habit look like nothing. She's such a beautiful, generous person I'm okay with overlooking the fact that she occasionally is gonna blow the schedule up. She shows up when it matters most and in ways that matter more than a hand on the clock.
3 posts
Mar 07, 2010
7:57 PM
I haven't looked at this topic since I posted to it in December, but I just read it again and saw Cynthia's point wondering whether some people's night-owl-like circadian rhythms are connected with being late. I know it's not always the case, because I am always up all night and terribly nonfunctional in the morning, yet I am almost never late anywhere unless there is a major emergency :)
279 posts
Mar 07, 2010
11:16 PM
Hmmmm...evidence against that hypothesis--very interesting. I actually don't know why there would be a connection between circadian rhythms and lateness, but we need more subjects to find out. Anyone else have experiences to add to our quest?
8 posts
Mar 08, 2010
11:08 AM
I have severe insomnia. I've mostly worked in occupations that require being up late, or all night, or start at ungodly times in the very early morning (or sometimes all three!). No longer, though. Now I'm having to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8 a.m., like a normal working person. I am consistently and without fail always chronically EARLY. Does this tie into any circadian rhythm theory? I personally think it's my anxiety about being late that keeps me awake nights (lol!)
5 posts
Mar 12, 2010
2:42 PM
I'm a law student, which makes for late nights and early mornings. Even if I have a really late night, I'm always early to work/school the next day (I'll be a mess by afternoon, but I can always get up in the morning). You know how long it takes you to get ready and roughly how long it will take you to get where you are going, so just add the two times together and throw in an extra 15-30 minutes as a buffer.

Being chronically late conveys disrespect for those who wait for you. It suggests your time is more important than theirs. Anyone can have a last minute emergency or get stuck in especially bad traffic, but if you are forever making other wait for you, then you need to re-evaluate how much time you need to get where you are going.

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Email: CynthiaLubow@yahoo.com 

 Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT

 For 30+ years, compassionately helping people build self-confidence and feel happier.

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