Punctuality is one of the qualities that signal a socially and professionally well adjusted person. So you may start having second thoughts about your partner if you find that he or she is almost always late in keeping appointments. However before you decide that you’ve had enough and walk out in a huff, here are a few things you can do.
Consider if it is a recent trend
Go back to the time when you first began dating this person and try to remember if he or she would be late then too. If it is a recent development, it might be a sign that your partner is getting comfortable being around you. In the initial stages of a relationship, partners are generally at their best and avoid behavior which can reflect badly on them. Thus a person who is habitually late may make an effort to be punctual at dates but slip back to his or her old habit once the relationship moves on a more established ground.
Is it only you?
Yet another aspect to consider is whether your partner’s tardiness is evident only in personal meetings or whether he or she is equally late for professional appointments. If it is the former, it is probably not such a great deal, annoying though it may seem to you if you have to wait for half an hour before he/she makes an appearance on a date. However if it is the latter, you have a more serious problem at hand since it is bound to reflect poorly on your partner’s professional abilities. Even though there are some professionals like writers and artists who are less constrained by the narrow boundaries of working hours and boardroom meetings, still being habitually late in work reveals a lack of discipline which does not bode well for personal relationships too.
Examine the extent of the problem
Before you dump for your partner for always being late, consider how serious the problem is. Arriving ten minutes late for a date is not the same as keeping you waiting for an hour or more. If your partner is ten or fifteen minutes every time, then maybe you can give him/her a dose of the same medicine the next time you are supposed to get together for dinner or a movie. However if it is the latter, then there may be more complex issues at work here which are unlikely to be solved by a tit-for-tat method.
Try to find the cause
There are several reasons why a person may perpetually be running “a little” behind. If you are living with your partner, see what goes on before he/she leaves for a meeting. Very often a guy will continue to flip through TV channels or surf the net till he has only five minutes to get ready. Or a woman will keep changing her mind on what shoes will best go with the outfit till she is practically dragged out of the house. Occasionally, there will be a last minute hunt for car or house keys even though they were lying on the newspaper all the time. These are various instances of problems with time management and can be got over if the person in question is serious enough to address the problem.
Have a chat with your partner
If you find he/she is repeatedly late and by more than fifteen minutes or so each time. Look for a suitable time and place and talk to your partner about the problems caused by his/her tardiness. Discuss how inconvenient it is for you to wait for him/her but more than that point out that you may have left other significant commitments in order to be on time for the meeting with your partner. Be careful to avoid accusatory or highly critical language. Instead of saying things like, “You always make me wait” or “You just don’t care enough”, use sentences like “I feel uncomfortable waiting so long for you” or “I wish you’d remember to be on time”. Express your feelings of annoyance and hurt at being forced to wait every time in clear and brief terms and see how your partner responds.
Come up with concrete solutions
While having a discussion on your partner’s tardiness, don’t stop at a mere catalogue of the problems. Rather come up with specific steps that your partner can take to improve his/her time management. For instance, the clocks in your partner’s place could run half an hour ahead of the correct time. Or on the day of a date, he/she could lay out the outfit and accessories as soon as they get home. Best of all, invite your partner to come up with suggestions that would suit him/her best and produce the most effective results.
Consider underlying issues
However you may need to do much if your partner repeated late arrival stems from issues in your relationship. Making you wait every time may be your partner’s way of showing who is in charge. In professional hierarchies, it is the boss who typically arrives last at a meeting or a conference and your partner may be using that same tactic to appear in control or seems superior in your relationship. Alternatively chronic tardiness, especially in relation to you, may be his/her way of craving for attention. For someone with a need to be loved or reassured, lateness may be a test to see if you care. If you feel these issues are relevant to your partner’s lateness, consider discussing with him/her and see how they can be addressed.
Look for other signs
However there is little you can do if your partner’s persistent tardiness is a way of letting you know that it is over between you two. He/she may want to leave but the prospect of causing a scene may be keeping them from telling you outright. But before you jump to conclusions see if your partner’s lateness is a recent phenomenon and if it is accompanied by other signs of emotional withdrawal. If so, it may be a more or less definite sign that your partner is no longer interested in the relationship.
While chronic lateness in itself may not be serious flaw, it may be a symptom of deeper issues affecting a relationship. And there is no doubt that when you are the person left twiddling your thumbs at a date, it is vastly annoying! So go over the above aspects and decide what is best for your relationship.