Punctuality is something I take pretty seriously. 15 minutes early is on time, arriving on time is late for me.
A few minutes here or there isn’t a big deal but being chronically late eventually says something to me about how much the other person values our relationship.
This is where my self-argument begins:
“Ok, but what about people who live in cultures where time is more fluid? Do you really think they are all horribly rude?”
“Cultural expectations matter. I grew up in a culture that believes that being habitually late is incredibly rude. Ignoring that rule over and over again eventually says something about your character.”
I don’t care how my actions affect the people around me. My habits are more important than your time, our relationship or anything else.
“Ok, but what if you wake up tomorrow and decide to dress up like Bilbo Baggins? Most people don’t wear costumes every day – is breaking that rule rude?”
“No. Rules that don’t actually harm others are negotiable. People might stare or wonder why I decided to dress that way if it isn’t Halloween but no one is actually going to be hurt by a hobbit costume. ”
There does come a time when even small annoyances like being constantly late negatively affects your relationships. If I can’t count on (general) you to be on time when we decide to meet for dinner or a movie how can I depend on you for far more important stuff?
What it boils down to is that how you treat someone in the small things is how I’m going to assume you feel about the big stuff. Anyone can say that they care but what shows how someone actually feels is in how they act when it would be more convenient to do something that helps them but harms someone else. (Yes, this applies to me, too. 😉 )
What do you think? Am I being too harsh here? Can you think of other examples of behaviour that is acceptable in one culture and rude in another?