18 Ways Your Chronic Lateness Is Ruining Your Reputation

18 Ways Your Chronic Lateness Is Ruining Your Reputation

Punctuality might seem like the thing your school teacher always used to nag you about, but now that you’re in your 30s it’s time to practice better timekeeping. Here are 18 reasons why being late all the time is ruining your reputation.

1. People will assume you’re unreliable in other ways.

Even if you’re diligent in your work, or are a perfectly supportive partner, it won’t matter. When you’re constantly careless and unreliable, other people will have no choice but to assume that you’re irresponsible in every other area of your life.

2. People won’t trust you after a while.

You may think it’s funny to be the resident Latecomer in a friend group, but ask yourself this: why do you get to be late when everyone else managed to make it on time? You’re not the busiest person in the group and it’s selfish to make yourself the exception.

3. It makes people think you don’t prioritize them.

Shocked young businesswoman checking time on wristwatch while talking mobile phone

This is relevant across all familial, professional, platonic, and romantic relationships. It’s not a matter of interpretation: If you can never arrive at an event on time, you’re telling the other person that they are not a priority for you.

4. You miss reservations all the time.

That great new place in Chinatown? That edgy coffee shop your friend was raving about last week? The cool rooftop bar downtown? You didn’t get to see any of it because you missed most or all of the reservation slots that another person booked. It’s your life you’re wasting.

5. You’re making other people stressed.

guy talking on phone looking depressed

Maybe you don’t value your own time or mental well-being, but when you’re forcing other people to live on your manic schedule, that’s selfish. It makes them change their plans and causes everyone to be late because of you, which embarrasses everyone. It sucks.

6. You’re selectively late and it shows.

Portrait of a young woman talking on her mobile

Don’t think people don’t notice when you’re late for all your activities with them but you can magically get yourself to your football game on time. It’s even worse for your reputation and friends will see that you take them for granted.

7. It’s embarrassing.

I speak for all quiet people in the world when I say that we hate showing up late to an event because of someone else. This is particularly true when it involves walking through a host of already-seated people at the event, or, heaven forbid, when the show has already started.

8. People will stop inviting you places.

You’ll be soon to notice when people stop inviting you places and your social calendar frees up. You’ll still somehow find a way to be late—even with an empty diary, though.

9. People have to baby you.

Friendships shouldn’t be adult-child; you should have equal responsibilities. One person shouldn’t be doing all the heavy lifting and managing all logistics within a relationship. Don’t put it on others to invite you to things half an hour earlier in the hope that you’ll maybe make it on time. Do better.

10. Friends will lose patience.

Even the kindest-hearted friends will eventually have their limit. You can only miss so many trains, bookings, or activities before the people associated with you get a bad reputation too. Friends will draw a line in the sand and insist that you turn up on time like an adult.

11. It’s unprofessional.

It’s not acceptable in your free time to be consistently late, but in a workplace, punctuality is simply an expectation. In fact, you’re actively being paid to turn up for a certain number of contractually obligated hours. Don’t pretend that the rules of the world don’t apply to you.

12. It’s a relationship ick.

There’s nothing worse than when people use a baby voice with each other in public. Scratch that—Leaving your date with a last-minute rain-check, or turning up half an hour late for no reason is worse. Sort yourself out.

13. It’s not charming anymore.

Maybe in high school, it was fun to have an identity and not feel like you fit into a box. In your 30s, however, people will think you’re childish and immature.

14. Your family will always view you as irresponsible.

Portrait of upset woman sitting at home table after quarrel with husband and his parents

It’s kind of like how no one believes the youngest kid in the family is capable of anything. When you’re chronically late, you infantilize yourself because you force someone else to be responsible for managing your tardiness. You will always be a Peter Pan in your family’s eyes.

15. You can really screw up a function.

Imagine turning up late to a wedding reception or a funeral. This will inflict the kind of damage to a relationship that cannot be undone. Jobs and lifelong friends are at risk with such chronic lateness.

16. Romantic partners are not impressed.

First impressions matter—especially in those early months in a relationship—and being late is a terrible foundation to start things on. Plus, you’re not showing that you care about their time.

17. It’s hard to reverse that reputation.

A sad young man in the living room. He suffers from depression

Think about how many times you’re going to need to turn up on time or early to course-correct your lateness. If it feels overwhelming to you, just think about how you’ve made everyone else feel for years.

18. You’re wasting your own time and money.

At the end of the day, it’s your life that you’re wasting. Give yourself more time to get ready and travel to places. Maybe you’re late because you know you struggle with logistics. If that’s the case, ask for advice from friends and show willingness to be better. Once you start to associate logistics with less negativity, you can start to improve.

In conclusion, if you’re seeing a lot of your habits on this page, seriously consider finding ways to be more punctual before you lose your reputation entirely.

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Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.