“Am I The Jerk For Telling My ‘Always Late’ Friends An Earlier Time So We’d Be On Time?”
You know your disorganized, somewhat selfish, and chronically late friend who you secretly detest for not respecting your time? Well, Reddit user Perfect-Extension has three of them.
So as you can imagine, planning a group vacation with them can become a messy nightmare. The flights, the hotels, and dinners… There are so many places where you have to go and so many extra headaches if you arrive late.
So Perfect-Extension came up with an idea to make sure everything goes smoothly. She started lying to the gang that they needed to get to their appointments earlier than they were actually scheduled. And it worked like a charm. But when her friends found out about it, they were furious and accused the woman of destroying their trust.
Unsure about her actions, she turned to the subreddit ‘Am I the [Jerk]?’ to explain what happened and hear what other people think about it.
This woman got so sick and tired of her friends being late, she started lying to them about the time so they would get to places early
Image credits: ELEVATE (not the actual photo)
But when they found out about it, the gang had a huge fight
Image credits: Gustavo Fring (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Alex Green (not the actual photo)
According to Harriet Mellotte, a cognitive behavioral therapist and a clinical psychologist in training in London, it’s easy to perceive your late friends as chaotic, rude, and lacking in consideration for others but many people who have this problem are at least somewhat organized and want to keep friends, family and bosses happy. Contrary to Perfect-Extension’s case, the punctually-challenged are often excruciatingly aware and ashamed of the damage their lateness could do to their relationships, reputations, careers and finances.
“While there are those who get a charge out of keeping others waiting, if you’re typical, you dislike being late,” Diana DeLonzor wote in her book Never Be Late Again. “Yet tardiness remains your nemesis.”
Some excuses, such as an accident or illness, are fairly universally accepted even for acute lateness. But most aren’t so easy to swallow. There are late people who will pass it off as a symptom of being big-thinking and concerned with loftier matters than time-keeping, as an endearing quirk, a mark of doing one’s best work under pressure, or having the body clock of a night owl rather than a lark.
After the story went viral, OP gave more context on her friendships
Being consistently late might not be someone’s fault. It could be their type. The unpunctual often share personality characteristics such as optimism, low levels of self-control, anxiety, or a penchant for thrill-seeking. Personality differences could also dictate how we experience the passing of time itself.
In 2001, Jeff Conte, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, ran a study in which he separated participants into Type A people (ambitious, competitive) and Type B (creative, reflective, explorative). He asked them to judge, without clocks, how long it took for one minute to elapse. Type A people felt a minute had gone by when roughly 58 seconds had passed. Type B participants felt a minute had gone after about 77 seconds.
For some, lateness is a “consequence of deeply distressing common mental health or neurological conditions,” said Mellotte. “People with anxiety diagnoses often avoid certain situations. Individuals with low self-esteem are likely to be critical about their abilities which may cause them to take more time to check their work.” And depression often comes with low energy, making mustering the motivation to get a move on only harder.
But Perfect-Extension’s example shows that there are less nuanced situations, too.