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I was sure I had time to do a few more things, make a few more phone calls, maybe watch the news. I had plenty of time to pack my suitcase and get to the airport. The flight wasn't leaving for three hours. So I had another bowl of cereal and read a little of the paper then looked up at the clock and realized I had an hour to pack and get on the plane.
term "chronemics" refers to the use of time management as a form
of nonverbal communication and lateness as a profound communicator. I was
communicating big time.
years ago after one particularly rushed trip. I sat in my airplane seat
sipping my ginger ale and asked myself why I was late yet again. I was
always rushing to planes. However exact I was with time in the rest of my
life, I always seemed to rush to catch my flights. I knew that we do things
because they reward us in some way and I asked myself what I got from
running late. Almost immediately I realized the reward:
a rush, a race car driver's high. I ran late to feed my
funny thing is that I am a professional speaker. You would think I would get
enough adrenaline standing up in front of audiences. But apparently I
didn't. So instead of spending the flight, reading Delta Sky Magazine and
picking out things I couldn't afford such as chair massagers and surround
sound speakers, I spent that flight figuring out what
I could do to satisfy that need without running late to the airport.
Among other things on my adrenaline list was a comedy improv class and a
weekly singles group. The rush replacements worked. These days even my limo
driver thinks I leave too early to get to the airport. But I like being on
time too much to regard his teasing. Lateness doesn't feed my soul anymore.
you ever late? Does lateness feed you? Do you constantly have people waiting
on you? Do you know people who drive you crazy because they are always late?
Have you ever admonished someone for always being late? Has someone called
you on it? Here are other ways
that lateness communicates. Look at the list for the likely match or
combination of matches to your issue.
have a friend with a master's degree in statistics. He calculates
statistical formulas for credit ratings. He is a very bright man. He is
always late. Talking to him about it didn't change his behavior. Because he
is almost always exactly an hour late, when I need to meet with him at 6:00
I tell him 5:00. He shows up at 6:00. We can still be friends.
The good news is that if these people are clued in about their issue
and they want to change, they can. The time-challenged just need to
realistically examine their schedule and ask themselves how long their
activities truly take.
form of time use is typically used by people who don't have power. They are
not the Big Boss. They would be uncomfortable doing anything directly to
gain power, to ask for what they want., to demand attention. By using a
silent command they get the rush of control without the risk of
counterattack. Children are the true masters. They can't find their homework
or their right shoe, they need a drink of water, they have trouble with
their buttons, anything to postpone bedtime or school.
friend Ginger had a college chum who was always late. After Ginger sat alone
in one too many restaurants, she shared with me that she was going to write
this person a letter and tell her she didn't want to be friends anymore.
I knew from Ginger's conversations that Angie was very unhappy about
her weight, discouraged that no one asked her out, and because she couldn't
find a job in her field, she was working for her dad. I
suspected she wasn't' feeling very good about herself. I suggested to
Ginger she try to meet with her friend face to face to tell her how her
lateness made her feel.
arranged to meet at restaurant where there was entertainment. Ginger arrived
at the bar to watch the band. No
friend. She got up to call her. Returned, still no friend, but a very cute
blond guy was in her seat.. She struck up a conversation with the cute man.
Moved in with him three days later. A year passed and she married
him. Angie missed the wedding. She walked into the church an hour late.
SOS! NOTICE ME. Sometimes,
something or many things in life are going wrong, and it is just too
horrible to say out loud. So you communicate with your tardiness.
Your lateness says: Isn't
it horrible that I'm late? Please
ask me why, so I can tell you the horrible thing I am dealing with.
THE BIG EGO
remember sitting at a conference table full of coworkers, waiting for the
president of the company to arrive. This happened every meeting and ended
with the same ritual. He would walk through the conference room door, go
over and get his doughnuts asking the female nearest him to get him coffee
all the while greeting a selective few
people at he table with the same greeting. "Hey, how are you
feeling?" If he had asked me that question, I would have been tempted
to reply. "Miffed and insulted by your lack of consideration." He
never asked me.
you would like to think you never get mad because you are just too nice a
person. Perhaps the person you leave waiting has too much power over you for
it to be safe to be mad at them directly. In any case, like a child who
sticks out their tongue at someone when their back is turned, when you leave
a friend waiting at a restaurant by themselves, standing on a street corner,
sitting in a conference room, you are acting just as childish. Again, this
behavior is passive aggressive. You could be assertive and say out loud,
"I have a problem." But
it is somehow easier to show up late.
know someone whose husband is
habitually late. She sits in the living room dressed for a cocktail party or
dinner with friends wondering if he has been in a car accident. Trips to
pick up one thing at Home Depot so they can finish with a project become
three hour marathons of waiting while the paint hardens on the brushes. She
and her children have waited for him to eat so many dinners they are now
used to eating at 8:00. Her family and friends have experienced her stress
and humiliation as they waited with her so now they suggest plans that don't
include him. This has led to arguments of course, but he always has an
external excuse for his lateness. In
her mind the message he is sending is that his work and tasks are more
important than she is. Underneath there may be a bigger message. He may be
saying, "I am angry and unhappy, and I don't know how to express
does not always have a Freudian or hidden message. And you may rarely be
left tapping your foot or checking your watch. But remember, time
communicates. If you are walking through the door apologizing and
complaining about traffic or last-minute phone calls, listen to the message
you are sending.