On tardiness and no shows

Tardiness and no showsA few weeks ago, I went to my niece’s 21st birthday celebration at a local pub. My sister has, like me, raised her daughter solo, and had paid quite a significant sum to cater for a crowd of about 40. The guest list included (mostly) my niece’s friends, a few of my sister’s friends who knew my niece, and a couple of relatives.

Only 10 people turned up.

My sister was devastated for more reasons than one. Apparently my niece’s boyfriend didn’t go because he didn’t like one of my niece’s friends who was supposed to be attending. He needn’t have worried. She didn’t turn up either, because she thought he was going. But it wasn’t only the young ones who didn’t show. A number of my sister’s friends SMSd her that afternoon to say they couldn’t make it.

Last weekend, my daughter and her boyfriend went to a farewell show for her work colleague, who was leaving for greener pastures. Of the 50 who were invited, only five people turned up. My daughter commented that this is all too common. All I can say is: how incredibly rude.

But it’s not just failure to turn up that bothers me. Often when people do attend things, they are late. Very late. I have organised catch-ups or get-togethers with so-called friends, only to have them show up up to a half an hour or an hour late – with no communication during the time I was waiting as to why. And it’s not like I’m uncontactable. The more cynical among you will say that I should – in today’s non-attendance climate – be grateful for any sort of showing. But I now have a rule: if you are not there with 10 minutes of the agreed time – without word! – I will not wait for you! And I will not bother with you again.

I am at a loss, though, to understand what on earth is going on here. When have people become so rude? Why?

Have we become so self-obsessed that we really don’t care if we let other people down?

Or are we so self-absorbed that we have no idea how rude or disrespectful we are being?

Or is it a case of what sounded like a good idea at the time just isn’t on the day? Or that a better offer presented itself? And we went with that?

Or that we think that it doesn’t matter if we don’t turn up, or turn up on time, because other people are there? And we won’t be missed?

Or that we simply just can’t be bothered and just don’t care?

Over to you, dear readers… perhaps you can explain it to me.

0 thoughts on “On tardiness and no shows

  1. What a nightmare! This is shockingly rude in my book, and very unkind. The whole point of a celebration is to celebrate, and focus on someone else’s needs and emotions for a change.

    I have become less committed to attending certain events, but I apologize and offer an explanation if I do not, and would not do so for something as special as a birthday party.

    I love to entertain so I know what time, energy and $$$ is takes to do it well. When people blow it off, it’s very hurtful.

    1. Agreed! I think very carefully about which events I attend. If I decline, I do so early. If I don’t feel like going on the day, I go anyway because I said I would. It’s about personal integrity.

      Hope you have recovered well from your surgery, Caitlin 🙂

  2. Shockingly rude & indeed unbelievable… I wonder though if when we arrange celebrations in pubs & similar if people think it’s OK to behave this way? I’m not excusing it and I’m not quite sure what this means or why but I’ve seen it many times for birthdays, leaving do’s, get together’s etc…

    I think perhaps that social commitment is not quite as strong as we imagine – Twitter can be a good reflection of this dynamic!

    Personally, I think Di’s Rule rules… if you don’t keep your commitment or explain why you are changing it then I’m out of here!

    1. You could be right, David. Informal venue = informal attitude. And I think the more we entertain outside our homes, and use social media to let people know where event is, the more personal accountability disappears.

  3. Great Post Di!
    If I don’t want to go I’ll say it, and at early possible notice, if I RSVP a ‘yes’ I’ll be there.
    But you’re right though, people do say yes and come along as they please. If the person who’s having the shindig means anything to you, you will be on time.

    My Dad used to always run late, and because of him so would we as a family. Mum would get herself, myself and my two brothers ready and we’d be sitting in the car for sometimes up to half an hour whilst Dad was.. well who knows making us late! This childhood experience has influenced my personal traits, I now have tardiness as my pet hate. I loathe being late or have people run late.
    I get to the shop at 5:45am even though I don’t open until 6:30am because I want to have time to set up and organise myself before having customers come through the door!
    When a friend says that they’ll be there to meet me, or pick me up at that time I expect them to… or it REALLY grinds my gears! I make the effort to be on time… why doesn’t anyone else!!!???
    Rant Over!

    1. An excellent rant! And I absolutely agree with you about family influence. Luckily, my daughter has inherited my anti-lateness trait. She gets very irritated with others who are late, and is always punctual herself. She always turns up to what she says she will, also. Clearly, I’ve done something right as a parent!

  4. Tardiness – rude. Late cancellations – very rude. No show sans prior notification, even a late one – friendship ender. Exception is if the offending party calls the very next available opportunity from a hospital bed/jail cell/another country or straight from an emergency situation (excluding sudden onset of I can’t be fuckeditis). I must be old fashioned because I only accept invitations to events I genuinely intend on attending. Even more old fashioned is my approach to people who don’t reciprocate this basic level of commitment, and demonstrate discourteous conduct in the process – relegate them to a point on the A-Z friendship continuum proportionate to their thoughtless behaviour. I like your 10 minute rule too.
    I remember being late for a lunch with a new friend (so early impressions count). I literally RAN to the agreed meeting place and my friend later told me that my actions in skidding to a stop, out of breath, and panting out a profuse apology cemented our friendship. He had decided that if I’d sauntered casually towards him with a breezy non excuse, he would’ve sent me on my tardy way with a few
    choice words of advice. Suffice to say we remain firm friends. Now, I’m not perfect by any means but I generally take some beating for consistency and punctuality so yes, I have expectations of the same.
    Great blog Diane!

    1. Agree! Showing up late – or not at all – is a key indicator that the offender has absolutely no respect for the offendee. That is no basis for a long-term friendship, and – like you – have no room for non-friends in my life. I’d rather put my energy into people where I get a decent return on investment!

  5. I don’t understand it either. I think they feel that one will notice if you don’t show up. It is an unconscious act of carelessness. The ultimate in bad behavior. I am not sure there is a cure.

  6. I wonder if it’s just because I’m getting old and grumpy, or that the world is getting worse? But there does seem to be less simple decency about. But I like your ten minute rule, Di. Funny how when I adhere to these sorts of policies I’m considered he rude one?

    1. I know, Cullen! Why are the people who demand a certain standard made to feel like the bad guys? Stand firm, I say, and accept only the best treatment for yourself. PS – I am getting less tolerant as I get older!

  7. Barely anyone showed up to mine and Glen’s combined hen’s/buck’s BBQ at our house. It was very upsetting. And my birthday suffers the same fate. It gets to the point where I can no longer be bothered planning anything.

    1. I hear you! It’s really disappointing. But the people who consistently turn up to things are the people I value, respect and hold in high esteem. They have integrity and they are the people who I love having in my life xo

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