Are you always late?

Dispelling the fashionably late culture

It’s a pet peeve of mine, but I’m being a hypocrite because I’m sometimes late myself. Recently I’ve waited for someone for an hour – my friend got on the wrong train and we were late for a bridal shower. I spent the time perfecting my gift wrapping skills and writing in impeccable penmanship the card. There are always one or two in our social circles who are branded late freaks. Or perhaps your entire group is prone to this tardy culture and habitually arrives, together, an hour late to the show?

We’re late for a few reasons. Here are some thoughts:

  1. Miscalculating time. I tend to misjudge how much time I need to look the way I want. My head tells me I need 15 minutes to shower, dress and set my hair. But once I’ve started on the eye-liner and hiding my dark eye circles, 20 minutes have already passed. Panic. What about the rest of my look?
  2. Fear of being alone. It’s scary to be the first at a party, or be alone at a busy joint waiting for friends. No one wants to look like a loser, nevertheless a friendless loser. Being the last one to arrive ensures that you’re walking into a room full of people you know. It also eliminates the chance of having to have an awkward conversation with another early arriver you don’t know.
  3. Sign of importance. There’s a view that the later you arrive, the cooler you are. Fashionably late culture on crack. The problem is, if everyone thinks the way you do, the party will only get perpetually postponed. I’m guilty of this. There’s been more than one occasion where I’ve arrived late purposely to an event just to show how much I don’t care / care enough to be super late but still show up. Not proud of it.
  4. Traffic jam. Yes, this does happen in Hong Kong. We are one of the most efficient cities in terms of transportation, but there’s still a chance that buses get stuck in traffic or the MTR breaks down. Though if you are using this excuse every time you’re late, there’s probably an issue with your time management.

Leaving out force majeure events like typhoons. I’m sure there are other good reasons too, but bottom line is, when we’re late, we’re wasting the time of the person waiting for us. Everyone’s time is equally precious. Agreeing to be somewhere at a certain hour is a promise. There’s nothing shameful about being punctual. It’s a commendable character trait and it shows you are trustworthy. It also shows you care about and respect the person you’re meeting.

Next time I find myself agreeing to meet someone somewhere, I’m going to try hard to be on time. I hope they think the same for me.


7 comments on “Are you always late?

  1. In the communities and families I have been so far in my life, arriving on time has always been one of the highest priorities of the people whom I’m closest to. Despite this, I’m still that one person in the group who is often late (I used to be not like this but this tendency emerged as I got older, probably because of frustrations and the negative thoughts I had been having, the feeling that everything’s not worth it, teenager’s anxiety, etc). But I’m currently trying to change this by making peace with everything that I used to hate (that’s one of the ways)


    • That’s like my family too. They’re all very punctual and the beauty of that is if you have a commitment with them, they keep it. I tend to be punctual when I have a date with them – it’s a form of mutual respect. I’m occasionally late but I’m trying really hard to make things on time. I can’t say that about some friends in my own generation. We can be a flaky bunch and time is a fluid concept – it’s not uncommon we wait 30 minutes to an hour for someone. I’m glad to hear that you’re making peace now and moving forward from some of the difficulties you faced as a teen!


    • That makes you a saint among our social circle. From what I’m used to, it’s still a competition to be the latest as possibly acceptable. The later the more important you are it appears. Occasionally it will be the case when the latest person is socially “ostracised”, but that’s rare. What really gets to me is when people are late to very important events, like someone’s wedding. That’s classified as the utmost disrespect in my book!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s amazing you spend your time so well reading and catching up on blogs. I always mean to do that, but often find myself staring the time away instead. Good reminder that I have control over my own idle waiting time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Happy New Year of the Ram! | Pixie Dust Beach

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