Those of you who know me well, know that I am organized to the nth degree. I hate surprises, and I hate last minute rushes to get things done. I arrive at events on time, and LATE does not even enter into my vocabulary. I like to know when things are happening way ahead of schedule. I am a planner. Some call this being a control freak. It isn’t really control freakitude – just being able to handle what I need to when I need to.

Even the most scheduled and organized of us have friends or family members who are the total antithesis of this. They are last minute, late, hold everybody up type of people. You know, the people that you tell them the event starts at 8 when it starts at 9 just so that they might be there by 10.

How does one deal with this? I have learned that it isn’t personal, that some people just cannot respect deadlines or times or other people’s limits. It is just not in them. They don’t try to be disrespectful of your plans, but they are. How does one make allowances without getting frustrated? Is there any hope to change their behaviour? Is accepting them as they are giving them permission to disrespect you?

12 responses to “Unscheduled

  1. I think we just need to realize that people are different; some are more punctual than others & we just need to deal with it. When going somewhere together with friends/family, then it may pay to be very specific about the timing (eg “will you be ready for us to pick you up at 8?”) but when it comes to friends/family coming late to a simcha, then I think we need to understand that people have busy lives & many people may not be able to attend an event on time b/c everyone has various obligations. we need to realize that our simcha may not be the only important thing on someone’s agenda. in fact, my husband’s siblings & i are planning an anniversary party for my in-laws in a few weeks & we are hoping to start on time but we know that there are some close family members who won’t be able to be there on time b/c of their particular circumstances. While it would be great for everyone to be there on time (especially the close family), we acknowledge that most likely they will be late which is ultimately their loss & we will hopefully enjoy the party without them until they arrive.

    Bottom line is that i don’t think we can change people’s ways so we have no choice but to deal with it or in cases when it is EXTREMELY urgent that they be punctual we really need to talk with them about it & hope that they will be able to accomodate our requests while realizing that it may NOT always be possible for them to accomodate our needs.

  2. I am like you, Hadassah. And I have repeatedly been told that this trait is ‘just not Jewish’. Which drives me mad. I heard it only last Shabbat when a newish shul member said that at her other, Masorti shul, services/events etc never ever started on time and our shul was just so ‘un-Jewish’!

    I try really, really hard to accept this unscheduled-ness. But at least I am not so ‘punctual’ as my grandfather (z”l), who had all the clocks in his house set 15 miuntes early so that he would never, ever be late. The standing joke was that the rest of the family would tell him a later time for family events so he wouldn’t turn up too early!!

    Batya is right – we all need to deal with the differences that make us human. So, so hard, sometimes!

    • Rachel: at the Masorti shul I sometimes attend, they are extremely punctual (the Sepahrdim that attend blame it on an adopted German trait); just to sho wyou that it can br Jewsih. And it is a big shul; in case that counts.

  3. Do you we have to deal with the differences? Yes!!! However, the same people that were late, because, “the children’s needs caused the delay” are still late now when the children are grown and out of the house. In most cases I believe the lateness is caused by lack of planning and lack of consideration for others. My belief it is a self centeredness.

  4. Haddassah: your first paragraph describes me perfectly. Sorry but I can’t help you here since I can’t stand it when people are late. I just hope that we get helpful comments.

  5. As someone who is incapable of being on time (I can do early and I can do late, but on time escapes me) it isn’t about respect, it’s about not having a good sense of how long it takes to get ready, get out of the house, travel and park. Even knowing how long it takes, I sometimes expect it to suddenly take no time to find a spot and to walk into the building from the parking lot.

  6. If it were a job interview or a date would anyone be late?
    Not I.
    I usually announce that at the half hour in advance of our actual departure t we will be leaving as I have learned to calculate in extra time in order for (all five of us) us to arrive on time. By the way even with two only today it worked like a charm.
    Once saddled with diaper bags and baby food, I considered the watch a useless piece of jewelry for I was sure I would never be on time again. I had the excuse of my children. While I am wistful remembering those days, I feel blessed to be in possession of two accurate watches and a less than accurate blackberry and I routinely leave myself the additional 5-10 minutes so I do not have rush. My friends have even noticed and commented on it! I admit that often I have to eliminate one thing on my list, but I show up on time even if the hors d’oeuvres are late.

  7. I will add though that even though i try to be punctual in general, that doesn’t mean that i will aim to be the first one to arrive at a wedding or bar mitzvah & often i actually prefer to come later. for example, at a wedding, i generally aim to be there towards the end of the shmorgasbord & ideally b/f the chuppah. many times, it is not necessary to be at an event from start to finish & ppl will either aim to come early & leave early or to come fashionably late & leave towards the end. & of course, there are often circumstances beyond our control which cause us to be late such as bad traffic, an accident etc..

  8. I would not recommend lying about the time of an event with such people; it is manipulative and people resent it terribly if they find out. My mother used to do that, and it damaged her relationship with multiple people. If it is just their general (pardon the expression) style, either live with it or distance yourself. Also, if there is an event where their is a particularly good reason why it must be on time; say, another guest who has a plane to catch, don’t be shy of telling these people–they might surprise you and make an effort.

  9. lady lock and load

    In this weeks Bina Magazine they have an article by Peshie Needleman about this topic. Time Bomb- His Time vs. Her Time. Basically gives advice on how to be more on time.

  10. I am bidiuk like you. I HATE when I’m late and even more when others are late and I’m usually the first person at any event. However, I have some people in the family (in the very, very immediate family-ahem) who just don’t assign the same value to time that I do. So if we need to be somewhere at 10 am on a weekend, I’ll start waking him up at 8. I’ve also set all his clocks 10 minutes ahead. What’s funnier is that we have another person in the family who is also chronically late, usually about 1.5 hours to any given event-not kidding, and we just started telling her an event starts at 4 when it really starts at 6. Then she comes exactly on time.

  11. I am like you on time if not early.
    We have lots of regular guests for shobbos mostly older singles. We tell them the time,but there are 2 that seem to have a clock that runs on a diferent time zone then the rest of us. We say 11:30 am lunch and at 11:45 am we start whether they are here or not. If they miss the first course oh well. I don’t re-serve anything for them. We are gracious enough to have them they should be on time. It has worked because one latenick has started to come earlier and the other one I made a point of not catering to him and he promised to be on time the next time. We’ll see.

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