Why People Show Up Late for Appointments

Posted on Posted in General, Meetings

Whenever we’re deciding when to leave for an appointment we experience a dilemma:

If we leave too soon, we risk being early. If we don’t leave soon enough, we risk being late.  We evaluate the risks subconsciously, and when we do, we do so irrationally.

So let’s do it consciously:

The risks associated with being early

  • The unpleasantness of waiting
  • Loss of productivity (unless of course you bring a book)

The risks associated with being late:

  • Stress (often includes sweating)
  • Upsetting your teammates/damaging relationships
  • Diminishes your professionalism and trustworthiness
  • Interrupts (and prolongs) the meeting
  • Humiliation
  • Embarrassment
  • A black mark on your track record, and reputation
  • Miss the opportunity, lose the sale, blow the interview


Based on this evaluation, if human beings were perfectly rational, I think we’d leave hours ahead of time, all the time. However no one is perfectly rational, nor should we be.

I think we should all settle for reasonable.


One thought on “Why People Show Up Late for Appointments

  1. This is dead on. I think most people have this irrational conversation with themselves before leaving for a meeting. I hate being late for all the reasons you listed.

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