On being late and not returning messages

I think I need a big chill pill. :ponder:

Perhaps I am a stickler for time, but I am also reasonable. However, if a person is more than 15 minutes late for a meet of any sort, I begin to wonder if that person is considering my time spent waiting. Ditto for waiting for text message, FB and email replies.

Despite the raft of communication devices at our fingertips, my friends and to an extent, society here in Taiwan, is disappointing in their consideration of others when it comes to the above issues.

I have been involved in a long-term project with four people over the last six months and two of them are constantly late, despite their saying that they will be there at a certain time. Sometimes they are over an hour late, even though we have to pay for the space where we meet. I find this extremely disrespectful. :no-no:

Am I alone with this feeling?

I also give them every opportunity to set the time when we meet so it would be easier for them to be on time. Despite this, they are late or cancel at the last minute. It is as if I have nothing better to do than to wait for these people.

Hey…let me know in advance and then maybe I can make other plans too. But noooooo… :hand: I am always left holding the bag; I am the one who has to walk in and cancel the space with the non-English speaking man who runs the place. My “friends” never have to be embarrassed when the man give me the condescending look…“oh, cancelling again?”

And ya’ know, you can tell the people this until you are blue in the face…but it seems to make no difference. The one who organizes things and expects them to live up to their commitments (me) runs the risk of looking a little peeved if these late comers and no-shows are confronted, even in a friendly way, about perhaps being on time or at least nearly on time once in a while. :discodance:

Communication tools are only as good as the people who use them.

I am baffled at how some people take days to reply to a simple text message or FB message, or don’t reply at all and you know they are using both but ignore what they feel is not important. Then when you ask them about it, they say “oh yeah…forgot about that.”

Really…I need a big chill pill. :s

My gf is not much better. I have no idea how she sets her clock…but I am thinking it is set at least 30 minutes later than mine…or perhaps it is her brain that runs slower. Even when she tells me she is waiting downstairs for me to come get her, I know I have a good five minutes until she will actually be where she says she is.

You’ll have to excuse me but this whole time + communication thing is handy only if you mean what you say and say what you mean. There are some who will say “yes I will be there at 5 pm" even though they know it is an utter impossibility. It is said only to please those with whom they are speaking.

It would be a lot nicer if people said “no, 5 pm isn’t going to work…but I can easily be there by 6 pm." See how easy that is? Now I don’t have to rush through my FB surfing session and you are now being honest and considering the person or people that are depending on you to be timely, within reason.

I think that is the biggest issue I am dealing with. Some of us don’t consider that if people are over an hour late for a meet, the other people are wasting time that could be spent eating, sleeping, drinking or lazing about. :whistle:

They are saying my time is too important for me to even tell you that I am going to be late.

Thanks for reading.

What you are experiences is the differenc between the local polychronic culture and your own monochronic cultural background. This difference hugely affects the way people approach and handle tasks when it comes to appointments, punctuality, and setting agendas and deadlines. Do not take it personal, it is not meant to say anything about how they feel about you.

Ricky sums it up from 6:50:

While I readily admit that local culture might need some adjustment with regards to punctuality, I would posit that this is hardly a singular phenomenon.
As a former military man, I was trained to develop a keen sense of timing. As such, I often show up 15 minutes early for a meeting, if only to scout the scene, and get some bearings.
During my last jaunt to the West, I can’t tell you how many times I showed up for an interview, a meeting, or even a visit, only to find myself waiting for the other party to show up.
Damn frustrating, as time is even more important than money. To flaunt in the face of someone else’s time is the supreme disrespect

I don’t think it is. If anything, I’ve found most people to be quite hung up about punctuality here (especially gf’s - unless it’s them turning up late, of course). For business meetings especially, one is expected to be punctual or have a very good excuse (and then very rarely). It is considered extremely disrespectful - just as in the West - to arrive late for a meeting, especially if you haven’t even called ahead. If your colleagues are regularly turning up late, it’s not because they have a “polychronic culture” - it’s because they’re chronically stupid. Tell them to fuck off, and get some different colleagues.

I’m with finley on this one. Not bothering to show up or return messages can be viewed as another way of saying “fuck off” to someone. Maybe you should use the monochronic approach and say “fuck off” in a more direct fashion

Yes, it could actually be a passive-aggressive thing. They might dislike something about you, but they’re too wet to talk to you about it. Either way, the solution is the same.

I had this friend; she would keep showing up late to meet me, and I never said anything, but when I was late, she got mad. She also flaked on me more than once and made excuses that I highly suspect. Eventually I just stopped hanging out with or talking to her anymore. I think sometimes you gotta just do that.

Mmmmm…a little simplistic if not effective. :bravo:

And even though this has crossed my mind a few times, I would end up looking like the dickhead because of my bluntness and their “passive-aggressive approach to telling me to fuck off,” as one poster pointed out.

I honestly believe that one of the guys is just late for everything. I met him once in the afternoon by chance and asked him what he was doing and he said he was an hour late for work…and he works at a buxiban. :loco:

The other guy lives more than an hour from our meeting space and often works late. I think his problem is he is afraid to say that he will be late, not realising that keeping us waiting is worse.

As I pointed out in the OP, I am willing to tolerate some reasonable tardiness because of how much I want this project to be successful (and also because there really is nobody else qualified for this).

What I need is an effective strategy to teach them a lesson about being late which will have a lasting impression.

Any suggestions? :notworthy:

[quote=“wonder”]What I need is an effective strategy to teach them a lesson about being late which will have a lasting impression.
Any suggestions? :notworthy:[/quote]
Wrap up the meeting at the scheduled time without them, and then leave. Simples. If they’ve missed out on some essential information, then it’s up to them to do the chasing. You can’t “teach some a lesson” about being outrageously late. He gets it already. He just doesn’t care.

Realistically, I can’t imagine how someone who turns up an hour late for a meeting is of any use to your project in other respects. Telling people they’re fired might be “simplistic”, but sometimes it’s the only option you’re left with. I assume you’re the manager of this project, and therefore it’s up to you to make the difficult calls - to protect the rest of your team as well as your project.

Another thought: if your people have a “day job”, then The Boss will be making unreasonable demands on their time. This will make your project all but impossible. Far better, in that case, to simply skip the meetings (which in my experience are usually an utter waste of time anyway) and just have ad hoc one-on-one conversations instead. If they can’t even cope with that, you might as well call it a day.

I agree with most of your complaints but not this. Why does anyone have to answer you right away? Not everyone obsesses over FB or their cell phone. If you need a quick answer, call.

expect people to be late. A given time is just a reference point. IF it proceeds within the hour, then its on time.

I set a reference point with my friends and i am usually about 20 to 30 mins late to the reference point
and i am usually still the first one there.

With girlfriends , count on them being always late. its that simple. I dont get mad unless they are more then an hour late.

And yes, if they get there before you they will be MAD, it just works like that.

Business? You should be on time. Even if they are not.

I don’t think it is. If anything, I’ve found most people to be quite hung up about punctuality here (especially gf’s - unless it’s them turning up late, of course). For business meetings especially, one is expected to be punctual or have a very good excuse (and then very rarely). It is considered extremely disrespectful - just as in the West - to arrive late for a meeting, especially if you haven’t even called ahead. If your colleagues are regularly turning up late, it’s not because they have a “polychronic culture” - it’s because they’re chronically stupid. Tell them to fuck off, and get some different colleagues.[/quote]

Word. My wife attends a weekly meeting for upper management in her company. She recently made the observation that the folks are very punctual, but only when the CEO is there. When he’s away, many come in late or not at all. The OP’s colleagues don’t show up on time because they don’t feel they have to. It’s not like they think you’re able to do anything to them.

simply put, if they dont have to be there on time, they most likely wont.

Correct.

And as I said in the OP, I am a stickler for time. I just don’t enjoy wasting it. So I lead by example and hope it will sink in. :astonished:

And as the leader of this thing, I have little chores to do before we can begin. Plus we are all paying for the space so I also don’t enjoy wasting money. I try to bridge the time spent waiting with one or two others who have shown up by working on something else.

So why, given the admissions above, should I be peeved at the one person who is chronically late? :ponder: Because as Tommy points out, he feels he doesn’t have to be there on time but we do. So it all boils down to respect and consideration for the team.

I have to look at the bigger picture and realise that there is nobody else available to do his part so for the moment, I have to put up with it.

Also, that thing about being somewhere within the hour is hogwash. Why should people set up a time to meet and let others cool their heels for up to 45 minutes and say that is acceptable because you were there within the hour? :noway:

I would say 15 minutes give or take is acceptable. Anyway, I am still working on a strategy to get everyone there on time within reason so feel free to make suggestions. I have one or two which I will share soon! :notworthy:

What I do? I tell my chronic late people the meet up time is 200 if its really 230 :slight_smile:

Mr Tarantino knows a thing or two about meetings.

[quote=“formosaobama”

Word. My wife attends a weekly meeting for upper management in her company. She recently made the observation that the folks are very punctual, but only when the CEO is there. When he’s away, many come in late or not at all. The OP’s colleagues don’t show up on time because they don’t feel they have to. It’s not like they think you’re able to do anything to them.[/quote]

It’s all about power. People show up late to meeting because the person running the meeting doesn’t have the power or status to warrant timeliness. Plus, most but not all Taiwanese tend to run 10-15 minutes late anyway.

[quote=“wonder”]

I think that is the biggest issue I am dealing with. Some of us don’t consider that if people are over an hour late for a meet, the other people are wasting time that could be spent eating, sleeping, drinking or lazing about. :whistle:

They are saying my time is too important for me to even tell you that I am going to be late. [/quote]

:thumbsup:

wonder how are you allowing people to be an hour late? No one is ever an hour late for a meeting with me because after a reasonable time (say 15 - 30 minutes depending) I will not be there. If some people are on time but there are others who are egregiously late they get a polite but stern warning that such lateness is unacceptable and if it happens again said person will be considered a non-participant. This makes it not about you and whatever endeavor it is you are meeting for.

It sounds to me like these folks are communicating to you that they have little regard for the meetings you are having.