Some wag once said that there are two types of people in this world: those who divide people into groups, and those who don't. Here I will count myself among the former by alleging that there are three kinds of people: those who are early, those who are on time, and those who are inevitably late. Whichever group you belong to, odds are that you rarely if ever deviate from that pattern. It is a personal attribute no less than being talkative, or having a nervous tick, or always coughing after the first sip of soup.
Invariably being early and constantly being late can be equally irksome to others. If Mary expects Jane to visit at 11:00 AM and is rushing around trying to get her kids toys picked up when Jane arrives at 10:45 AM, Mary may be a trifle miffed. On the other hand, once the toys got put away and the appointed hour arrives, for Jane not to show up until 11:20 AM would be equally annoying. It's like violating an agreement. When the parties agree to get together at a time certain, that's when the meeting ought to commence, not earlier, and not later. To deviate from that is thoughtless, rude, selfish, and has the potential to screw up the other person's day, depending upon what other appointments he or she may have scheduled to follow.
Being on time is really not as difficult as some people make it out to be. How tough can it be to compute the distance one must traverse, allow for possible delays such as traffic snarls and the like, and then set out in due course based upon the predictable time that it takes to cover that distance? If unexpected problems crop up, that's another thing. We're dealing here not with tardiness due to accidents or emergencies but, rather, recurrent inability to meet appointed times. It is as if some people's personalities have a built-in tardiness trigger.
In a professional setting, the lateness of a participant can have the domino effect of throwing everyone else's day off kilter, additionally messing up the schedules of the people with whom they in turn have appointments. It is a matter of simple courtesy, just one more variation on the Golden Rule. In sum, tardiness is disrespectful, selfish, and unprofessional.
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