Bet you know people who are always late. Be it a date, a party, or a business meeting. Why do some people always come late making us wait for them? You may be surprised to find out that the syndrome of being late is a serious psychological problem many leading specialists all over the world have been trying to solve for a long time.
According to a widespread belief, constant being late is a symptom of various psychological problems. Correspondingly, you can stop being late only if you understand what is this habit based on, after which you try to eradicate a reason. There are several theories for being late.
Why are we late?
Some scientists claim this syndrome is connected with outer circumstances: for instance, a person doesn’t like their studies or job; subconsciously, they don’t want to go somewhere and meet others. Perhaps, a person is suffering from depression so that they don’t want to communicate with others. Or, we have recently got married and we simply don’t want to leave our cozy nest. These cases are rather simple, and they are cured by time management: make a schedule, add 15 minutes to your plans, prepare for a meeting beforehand, or change your job if needed.
Another suggestion is much more serious and requires more effort from our side. The main reason for the constant being late lies in one’s psychological type and their inner world. There are specific character traits (either innate or early acquired) that don’t let us be punctual. First of all, it’s anxiety. Not because we are tired or disappointed but because we are innately anxious.
Such people are emotional, nervous, and very sensitive so that they acutely react to everything happening around them. It may sound strange but exactly hysterical people tend to procrastinate. Very often, anxiety goes together with sociopathy.
Inability to refuse
Another trait making us be late is an inability to say “no.” When a person always says “yes,” but as a matter of fact they don’t want and cannot do what they have promised. People who are constantly late are usually distracted and cannot focus their attention on one thing. They cannot concentrate on leaving the house and start doing dozens of necessary and unnecessary things simultaneously. Besides, to this group also belong people who like extreme: they depend on adrenaline, and being in a hurry is one of the ways to produce it.
Traits typical of people who are always late
To be desired
Another common feature of people who are always late is a desperate need to be desired and waited for. A person who is late always makes others play according to their rules since it’s impossible not to think about a person who doesn’t come in time. Such people are talked and worried about. Thus, becoming the center of attention they raise their self-esteem and start thinking better about themselves.
The same behavior is typical of narcissists: those who are absolutely absorbed by themselves, tend to easily disregard others’ time and feelings.
Disobey the rules
One more reason for being late is the subconscious disobedience of any social rules and norms. According to psychologists, children that have suffered from hyper care or control tend to choose a protest as the main behavioral pattern. For them, coming in time means to obey the norms and rules of their childhood so that they are trying to avoid it at all costs.
Feel their power
Making somebody wait means making somebody suffer. Being constantly late, a person makes others feel uncomfortable, and then as if rescues those who are waiting by their arrival. As psychologists explain, this method helps them to feel power over another one. Some doctors and officials are especially good at such a sadistic style of behavior: very often, they subconsciously make the visitors wait for them for a long time, and later on, they appear and feel as if they were the rescuers, not the tormentors.
However, among those who are constantly late, there are also people who desperately try to be punctual but fail. In this case, people are usually guided by a fear to appear awkward, not successful, or not convincing while communicating with others: at an interview, exam, or a business meeting. Trying to avoid another “defeat,” they are subconsciously postponing the time when a meeting begins hoping to avoid a situation in which the comparison with others is needed.
What should I do?
Understand the reasons for your being late
Listen to yourself: what do you feel when you are late? Are you anxious? Try to understand the reason for your fear, either independently or with a psychotherapist’s help. Do you feel embarrassed; do you have to apologize? Probably, arriving late you create situations that help you to cope with a subconscious feeling of guilt? Once you understand the reason for your being late, you will finally learn to come in time.
Put yourself in others’ boots
What do people waiting for you feel? Imagine yourself in their boots, and you will be able to realize how unpleasant a situation is. What do you feel when you have to wait? Helplessness, anger, insult? What do you think about a senseless loss of time? Are you irritated and indignant? Probably, now it would be easier for you to realize the necessity of respecting other people and their time.
Advice for those waiting for you
Undoubtedly, you may endure a couple of situations when your partner or friend comes late. But if it happens on a regular basis and you tell them nothing, you become their “partner in crime.” You should decide either you continue playing this game (since it’s pleasant for a close person) or admit that it’s an unhealthy symptom.
Provided that you want to get rid of this harmful habit, do the following: arrive at every meeting in time and leave after 10 minutes. This way you will let another person know that you no longer agree to accept those rules and waste your time on tedious waiting. It’s a healthy practice of setting personal boundaries and surrounding yourself with people who respect you.