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How thoughtless is it to be late?

(46 Posts)
Soutra Mon 30-Dec-13 14:37:09

"Punctuality is the politeness of princes ... Fr. l'exactitude est la politesse des rois, punctuality is the politeness of kings (attributed to Louis XVIII, 1755–1824)."

DH's sisters have an (entirely warranted) reputation in the family for lateness. Indeed there have been occasions when they have set out from Kent where they live (2 hours from us) at the time they were due to arrive, so we tend to tell them to get to wherever about 2 hours in advance of when they need to be there (christenings, weddings etc) They nearly missed DD3's wedding although for once it had not been entirely their fault but a massive pile-up and traffic jams on the M2 and M25 coming into London from Kent. Mind you we have been caught out ourselves when assuming this ETA+2 one Christmas many years ago when we were all lounging around in our PJs, un showered and un hairwashed when one of the DDs exclaimed OMG Granny's coming up the path!
Anyway this year they and nephew (22) were due to arrive on Christmas Eve sometime in the afternoon altough I had recommended attempting to get part of the journey done in daylight as the M25 can be a nightmare. I picked up DDs and SILs and granddog from the station around 4 and looked forward to the others' arrival, tea together maybe a festive mince pie? I had a phone call from one Sis IL around 6 and thought perhaps they were having the journey from hell, but oh no, they were just setting out. OK. I delayed supper (being smoked haddock chowder it would keep) and they arrived just before 10 having left at 7.30.
DH was furious at what he saw as their thoughtlessness - I just let it go as what could I have said or done without causing unpleasantness.
(I tend to err the other way - I am so afraid of getting lost/hitting bad traffic/breaking down/needing to find a loo that I tend to try to leave at least 30 minutes early!)

Charleygirl Mon 30-Dec-13 14:47:46

I also err on the side of caution and have been known to arrive ridiculously early. I have friends who live 2 doors away and I have stopped cooking a meal that is to be ready for eg 15 minutes after their ETA because it would be spoiled. I now wait until they arrive. I think that it is plain rude unless there is a very good explanation.

Gagagran Mon 30-Dec-13 14:56:02

I agree it's rude, in fact very rude, but they get away with it because we are too polite to say anything. We have some friends and also a family member who do this and we now seldom see them because it's easier on the stress levels not to!

Perhaps you could have said "Oh I assumed you weren't coming after all so I didn't save any food. Sorry" Or perhaps, like me, you wouldn't do that!

nannyfran Mon 30-Dec-13 14:58:53

A woman after my own heart, Soutra. I am also married to a man whose family have no conception of punctuality or seem to think lateness is something for which you should apologise. Having been brought up to be the opposite, it was difficult to come to terms with, and I got fed up with making special meals for visits and watch them deteriorate by the hour.After many years of inner seething, I've given up making a real effort for those who don't seem to notice and just pull out the stops for those who do.
Fortunately there are enough of those on both sides of the family to make it worth while.
Have you got a nearby takeaway? If we did, I think I might consider that as a broad hint!

janeainsworth Mon 30-Dec-13 15:01:37

I just wouldn't invite them again!

nannyfran Mon 30-Dec-13 15:05:30

Very tempting, janeainsworth, but when it's DH's family, it could cause bad feeling all round!

sunseeker Mon 30-Dec-13 15:06:28

I would have said it was a generational thing but as it is DH's sisters that can't be the case. I agree it is very rude, especially if you know someone is preparing food.

I also leave home really early to meet people and have spent many a half hour sitting in my car in some pub car park waiting for friends because (a) I have arrived early and (b) they have arrived late. I now arrange to meet them inside the pub so I can at least be warm and have the odd -glass of wine- coffee while I am waiting!

janeainsworth Mon 30-Dec-13 15:09:02

Well Nannyfran I think DH would agree with me on that one! And anyway he doesn't issue invitations wink

nannyfran Mon 30-Dec-13 15:13:43

Fair enough janeainsworth, I wish mine would adopt the same attitude.

Sook Mon 30-Dec-13 15:20:27

I am always punctual my OH is not. I cannot abide being late for anything and it often caused huge rows between us. We were not only noticeable by our lateness but by the steam coming out of my ears grrrrr.

I have been known to go without him on occasion. He embarrassed me dreadfully at a funeral arriving just as the service was about to commence seconds before the coffin was carried in.

It seems to be a family trait his awful mother is just the same.

ninathenana Mon 30-Dec-13 15:43:27

Soutra you could be describing DH cousin.

I love him to bits but he also drives me mad. His partner despairs of him.
When challenged about it he just smiles and gives you the blarney. At 70 he's never going to change. I do think it's rude though.

I too am the sort to sit in the car for 15-20 mins because I'm early.

Agus Mon 30-Dec-13 15:58:36

Can't abide latecomers, especially when it is done through a 'well, it's not that important to me' attitude! It's bad manners and should be important because I am the one hanging aroundangry

Elegran Mon 30-Dec-13 16:23:12

Next time they are coming, could you plan something that absolutely HAS to be eaten the moment it is ready - a souffle, say?

Tell them it is a really nice souffle recipe, which you are looking forward to having, but that it will be ready at X o'clock precisely and that you will be pouring pre-meal drinks at X minus 30 mins so that everyone will be ready to eat the souffle at its best.

Then do exactly as you planned, put the souffle in in the oven, pour your drinks and drink them, and when the oven timer rings, serve up the meal and sit down and eat it.

Have some sandwiches ready for them if they are not on time, and say that you are so sorry, but it was starting to sink and spoiling and you had to finish up their helpings as seconds. Say more than once how good it was and what a shame that they missed it and how are their sandwiches?

If they are bright enough to get a subliminal message in all this. good. If not, it may have to be repeated ("Remember that gorgeous souffle we had last month? We are having it again on Saturday next. Would you like to join us? X o'clock then.")

Anne58 Mon 30-Dec-13 16:30:01

That sort of lateness in UNACCEPTABLY RUDE in very shouty capitals, it is also a display of arrogance, imo.

My late (hah!) stepfather suffered from this, but not to such an extent. His was habitually half an hour, no more, so we just told him a different time to anyone else.

Penstemmon Mon 30-Dec-13 16:49:05

It is rude to be so late without real reason other than dis-organisation and thoughtlessness! I would go ahead with any planned meals and sit and watch them eat sandwiches!

i was brought up to believe that if an invitation said 4;00p.m. arrival should be about 4:10

I am punctual but DH is always too early and allows ages to get to places..I have been known to make him find a cafe for a cuppa before we knock on a door 3/4 hour early! We have 2 trains an hour from our station so we know the times well. It takes us 2 minutes from front door to platform but DH is always ready to leave the house 15 minutes before the train is due!

Galen Mon 30-Dec-13 16:54:16

Can't stand being late. I even turned up early for my wedding. Had to sit in the car until the previous bride came out of the church.

janeainsworth Mon 30-Dec-13 16:57:04

The thing is Penstemmon that if you are only 2 minutes from wherever you are getting on the bus or train, and you are 3 minutes late leaving the house, you've missed it.
But if you have a 15 minute walk to the bus stop like I do, and you are 3 minutes late setting off, you can walk briskly or run and still be there in time.
However, I sympathise with your DH. I used to be very laid-back about times and run onto station platforms and leap onto trains, but now find that far too stressful and would much rather be early. Perhaps it's an age thing!

LizG Mon 30-Dec-13 16:58:20

Two of our daughters are very conscious of being on time, the third and eldest is always late so we have taken to lying about when a meal will be ready.

Riverwalk Mon 30-Dec-13 16:59:17

I hate habitual lateness ... find it extremely rude.

I think it arrogant behaviour - people wouldn't turn up late for the queen would they! tchgrin

Agus Mon 30-Dec-13 17:04:03

I was very naughty once with a friend who was habitually late. We agreed to meet for lunch at 12.30. After 15mins I decided to go and do some shopping. At 12.50 the phone call came, "Hi, I'm here, where are you"? I replied, "as I realised you were going to be late, I'm doing some shopping, give me 10 mins".She knows now, if she is late, I won't be standing waiting for her.

thatbags Mon 30-Dec-13 17:05:09

Haven't read the entire thread, but I agree with those who think the kind of lateness described in the OP is just plain rudeness, the sort shown by utterly selfish people. I would not wait, not make other guests wait, for people like that.

I wouldn't invite them to my house for a meal either.

Anne58 Mon 30-Dec-13 17:05:40

I said it was arrogant, up there somewhere ^ ^ ^

Agus Mon 30-Dec-13 17:17:17

River. I wouldn't bother turning upgrin

MiceElf Mon 30-Dec-13 17:22:57

Penstemon, is your husband a clone of mine? He is obsessively early, and while I'm never late I do draw the line at arriving so early that we have to have a 'conversation' about waiting in the car until an appropriate time comes to present ourselves wherever we are going.

One of our nephews and his wife are the only family members who don't conform to the pattern, they don't get invitation from anyone, and have to eat cold dinners or leftovers. It doesn't seem to bother them and we've all stopped stressing about them.

Aka Mon 30-Dec-13 17:24:51

Totally agree Bags we know knew people who were habitually late. The last time we invited them round we gave up on them after an hour and took ourselves off to a local hostility.