Why are some people chronically late?

A great Ask MetaFilter thread. Fascinating thread, begun by someone named grumblebee. (warning: don’t read it if you have to be somewhere in 10 minutes!) [via Andrea]

I have a hard time understanding such people, because I am chronically early. I know some people are late because they have very busy lives, but those aren’t the types that interest me (I can understand why they are late). I’m interested in those folks who are always late for no apparent reason.
[…] I would love to hear from you latecomers about what goes on in your lives and heads when you are late. I can’t vouch for other AskMe folks, but I won’t chastise you. I don’t really feel like I’m “right” and you’re “wrong.” We may irritate each other a bit, but it’s mostly just a personality difference. I’m really interested in how your minds differ from mine.

I’m either nearly on time or a little late. Liked reading the explanations of some of the other late-ones. Found the carping of some habitually-early posters in the thread well, um, irritating. But I love the whole arc of the discussion and the conclusion that grumblebee reaches by the end of the thread.

3 responses to “Why are some people chronically late?”

  1. Learning The Lessons of Nixon » Contempt

    […] rt of God which is lodged in them is my business. Loving them is my business. [Thanks to Susan Kitchens – I found the original Ask MeFi link at her blog, […]

  2. DaveP

    I’m almost always early, unless I don’t really want to be there at all. When others show up late to something, my first reaction is often to think that the motive is as mine would be, so I get upset.

    Then again, there are some folks I know who are always late. I don’t necessarily understand it, and generally will just carry on as if they’re going to be on time. If we’re meeting for a meal, they may arrive and find me done. If it’s for a movie, they have to hunt me down in a dark theater. But generally I’ll try to plan things so that we have a chance to sync up – for example, dinner gets prefaced by happy hour, and we meet in the bar. If I have to wait, at least I can do so with a cocktail. Ditto for movies. If nothing else, I get to drink a lot.

    For business meetings where the other party is always late, I’ll show up with a laptop and continue working until everyone’s there, but when dealing with clients I didn’t especially want to work with, I’d just sit there twiddling my thumbs and continue to bill by the hour. I even have a separate account for “waiting for late clients.” One client managed to rack up 50% of the charges on a contract due to that account. It was not a happy day for anyone when I submitted that invoice.

  3. Karen Queen



    Susan, I hope contacting you for this reason is OK. My name is Karen Queen and I am writing a magazine story
    about… the chronically early! As a recovering late person, I fully understand the posts about being late. It
    is very inconsiderate. I’d like to get into the minds of those who are chronically early and how they manage to
    do what most people find impossible. You can reach me at [email protected] or feel free to call me (I’ll call you ba
    back on my dime0 at 757-564-9361 — East Coast. Thank you and I hope I have not violated a protocol of some kind by c
    by contacting you for a story. I plan to pitch the story to Good Housekeeping, then if they pass, pitch it to
    Jane. Thank you very much for your time. Karen Queen