Salisbury Press

Monday, July 6, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Running too late

Friday, September 28, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

I was meeting a friend for dinner at a restaurant. I arrived at two minutes to seven for a seven o’clock reservation. At 7:20 p.m., I was into my second glass of Pinot and at half-past I got a text stating, “On the way.”

We finally were all seated at 7:45 p.m. There was not even an attempted excuse from my friend, who seemed oblivious to the fact I might actually have gotten there at the agreed-upon time. I understand that sometimes things do happen and you end up running late. How long do you wait for someone who is late to meet you?

Dear Reader, My rule of thumb for how long you should wait for someone who is late is 20 to 25 minutes. If they go past their confirmed arrival time and you haven’t heard from them, then it’s alright to leave or begin whatever was planned.

Sometimes the inevitable happens. For instance, your friend may have run into heavy traffic or had an unexpected emergency.

Is this a chronic thing or unusual? The person who keeps you waiting 45 minutes on a regular basis is quite different from the person delayed because their boss demanded they work late.

However, it’s totally unacceptable to be late because someone’s stuff is more important than yours. It took effort for you to arrive on time, and you know anyone else can do it, too.

Technology makes it worse. Cell phones have given people a sense of false security. It seems texting that you are late somehow means you are no longer late. An apology should have happened when your friend arrived.

If your friend is habitually late, they are being disrespectful of your time. If I’m going to be late, I call. It’s what I’d want someone to do for me.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors, National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst