To Be Or Not To Be (On Time): A Definitive Guide To Arrival


Tardiness has become increasingly problematic and contagious. Casual arrival times and even more aloof ownership of lateness are at fault. Those of us who allow it are just as guilty. By not holding one another accountable to “10am sharp!” and “six on-the-dot,” we are accomplices to this social faux pas. Shedding this bad habit makes for a more pleasant experience whenever you head out the door.

Perhaps we are all in need of a reminder or two; a guilt-free tap on the shoulder to recalibrate our mental clocks. Enter, Manners Maven, Mrs. B:

  • Dinner Parties: Believe it or not, arriving 10-15 minutes late is expected – even a courtesy! This brief window allows your host to address last minute updates to the table setting, messy counter or rest before the big show.
  • Business Meals & Meetings: Arriving at least 5 minutes early is perfect. Give yourself time to get lost in a long hallway, take a bathroom break, go over notes, and set your phone to silent. The last thing you want is to arrive looking flustered and disorganized.
  • On a Date: Although it might sound out-dated, arrival time is an indicator of enthusiasm. Showing up on time suggests neither excessive enthusiasm nor disinterest (save that assessment for the end of the evening).
  • Family Gatherings: We allow our family the most leeway in terms of socially appropriate behavior, yet are often their harshest critics. If you catch yourself getting a nickname, like “Late Cait” rethink your preparation strategy. Arriving ten minutes to two hours late to a family function is not cute and depletes trust.
  • Night Out with Friends: Showing up on time for your friends demonstrates how much you value them. If you are consistently arriving after everyone else, either start wearing a watch or learn to be honest about your intentions. If you have an inkling that you cannot make it on time, be up front to yourself and your friends. This allows everyone to adjust their arrival accordingly – maybe no one wanted to go at the set time. Now, the whole group is relieved to have extra time to lounge in sweats before zipping up and heading out.

Let us know – what’s your strategy for arriving on time? Do you set your clocks ahead? Set alarms reminding you to get ready? Perhaps your hosts have begun telling you the event is 30 minutes earlier than it actually is? Tell us in the comments!

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