How long should you wait for someone who is late?
Q: How long do you wait for someone who is late to meet you? Is it different if it’s a friend or family member versus your boss or professor?
A. The onslaught of cellphones has given people some sense of false security that notifying others of your perpetual tardiness is acceptable. It’s not!
Not only will this problem put you in a perpetual state of chaos and haste, but you may convey a message to friends and co-workers that you do not value their time. That being said, things happen. A considerate time to wait is 10 minutes. As far as the protocol toward “who” is late? Waiting for your boss may be the right thing to do for your career, but if it jeopardizes the business, your boss should understand.
For social meetups, if contact is made about late arrivals and a certain new time has been established, hold them to it. If they go past their confirmed arrival time, then it’s OK to leave or begin whatever was planned.
For those of you who are habitually late, set your clock fast, set reminders on your phone and use Starbucks locations as an early holding spot before events.
Demetria Danielides-Abde and Lisa Iadicicco, co-founders of Mother May I Etiquette Experts
A. My rule of thumb for how long you should wait for someone who is late is 25 to 30 minutes. It is no different for family or friends than it is for your boss or a professor. After 30 minutes, you are good to go with no apology.
There are people who are habitually late. They are being rude and disrespectful of the other person’s time. Sometimes the unavoidable happens. For instance, today I got trapped in my garage. I couldn’t get my garage door up, so I was stuck and going to be late for a meeting. Of course, I had my cellphone and was able to contact the person I was going to meet.
I suggest that you always exchange mobile phone numbers with the person in case the unexpected occurs, and make sure your phone is sufficiently charged.
I also suggest that you contact the other person the day or morning before you are to meet to confirm the time and place.
Things do happen, but we can minimize the impact with a Plan B.
Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert and author of books including “Manners That Sell: Adding the Polish That Builds Profits”