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How to react when someone is late for an appointment

Do you respect other people’s time? Or are you always running late? Do you know how it feels when someone is late for an appointment?

I understand that every now and again we can be late for appointments or meetings. However, when we continuously show up late, expect the other person to wait for us and don’t inform about our delays we are being disrespectful!

The most challenging part for me living in Morocco is the lack of respect when it comes to time. I can’t count how many times people have shown up late to appointments or never shown up for scheduled meetings. Don’t think it’s solely a Moroccan mentality. I don’t think it’s fair to blame a whole nation for being late. It’s about people and respect and I have experienced French, Polish, Spanish, Moroccans, Scandinavians – you name it – people who are based in Morocco who have zero respect for other people’s time. I have also experienced disrespectful people in many other parts of the world. However, for some reason “the culture of being late” is much more profound in Morocco. 

When you’re late you are disrespecting another person’s time

Morocco tea culture

Today I had a client meeting/consultation at 11.30am . Around 10.30am I contact the client to ask if we are still okay with our 11.30am meeting. Since I’ve experienced too many delays here in Morocco where people simply waste my time, show up late and often don’t show up at all, I now check with the other person if we’re still meeting up! The client replies me, and asks if we can move our meeting to 12.00am. I agree and show up at 12.00am. I order my coffee, take out my notebook and write a few notes. However, I end up waiting for the client for 45 minutes, and she never shows up! I pay my coffee, grab my notebook, fold all my papers and walk back home. I feel frustrated and annoyed.

How to react

So how do we react when someone is late for an appointment? Below I come with my personal opinion on how to react when someone is late for an appointment. This is based on the many times I’ve experienced delays or people not showing up for scheduled appointments. 

How to react when someone doesn’t respect your time

  1. Set your boundaries. Don’t be afraid to contact the person and tell them exactly how you feel. If someone doesn’t respect your time, let them know.
  2. If you are trying to partner up with someone on a business project, and they keep showing up late, perhaps it’s time to look for someone else. I personally don’t think it’s healthy to work with anyone who doesn’t respect my time.
  3. Let people know what time means to you. Be clear and set boundaries from the beginning.
  4. Your behaviour shows the world who you are. If you always come late, it shows you’re unprofessional, disrespectful and careless. One day you’ll realise how little progress you’ve done in your life or your business. It is hard to trust someone who’s always late.
  5. If you want to gain respect, stick to your commitments. If it’s difficult for you to be on time, and you always have an excuse, you basically have no self dicipline. You are most probably unorganised, unsettled inside, and confused about what you want in life.
  6. Stop being too nice. Be real and honest! Trying to please everyone and saying “okay, no problem” all the time, will attract those people who will take advantage of you, and they will keep disrespecting your time. Remember, when someone disrespects your time, they disrespect you!
  7. Be open and understanding. You don’t have to go through life being hard as a rock. Simply set healthy boundaries, and communicate clear. When you put out clear information, you show the other person what is important to you. It’s okay to speak up.
  8. Don’t blame the other person for being late. Know the difference between reacting and responding. Just be clear and let the other person know that you can’t wait any longer, and let them know they’ve disrespected your time.

Start thinking about others. It’s not just about you. If you see you’re running late, call or inform the other person about it. Don’t just ignore it. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoe, and imagine how it must feel for them, when they’re waiting for you in the burning sun, in a cafe, in an office, on the street or in a work space. If you respect other people’s time they will respect yours.

Treat other people’s time just the way you would like other people to treat your time. This is called respect! By constantly being late you communicate that you don’t value other people.

If you can’t be on time, then be early,

Sally

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