Perpetual lateness in people caused by multiple factors, psychologists say

Perpetual lateness in people caused by multiple factors, psychologists say
Credit: Belga

We all know people who have an unfortunate tendency to always be late, no matter how important the event is or what time they need to be there.

This behaviour may seem trivial, but it can have negative consequences on the professional and personal lives of these individuals, as well as on the people around them. Psychiatrists say that there are numerous reasons why some people are habitually late, ranging from personality traits to certain disorders.

Tardiness can often be perceived as a sign of disrespect but also unconsciousness, frivolity, selfishness or even pretentiousness, according to a report published by RTBF recently.

At work, a colleague’s perpetual lateness can lead to chronic delays which can be perceived as unreliable, leading to less accountability and loss of trust on the part of colleagues and supervisors.

Experts suggest that some latecomers simply appreciate the attention they get, or perhaps use it as a way of testing boundaries. Some tardiness may just be selfish; the latecomers are indifferent to the consequences of there actions.

However, most psychologists, according to RTBF, believes lateness is part of a more subtle functioning of personality. Several studies have shown that some personality types are more likely to be less punctual than others.

First, there are the optimistic extroverts. The optimism of these people makes them sincerely believe that they can handle everything in their busy schedule. Obviously, if people do too many things at the same time, they will always be late for something.

Then there are sociable and talkative extroverts who make their meetings or appointments last beyond the scheduled time and increase their lateness throughout their day.

There are also people who overload their agenda because they can't say no. These can be those who have low self-esteem and say yes to please, and perfectionists, who think they must always do more.

Related News

The person who does not have self-confidence may also unconsciously sabotage themselves. By being unconsciously afraid of professional success and/or associated responsibilities, they will systematically be late for important professional appointments, for example.

Perfectionists also operate from a place of anxiety but one where they fear that they are not being perfect or that they are producing imperfect work and are therefore disappointing, so they will also have a hard time saying no and will tend to overload themselves.

In addition, the anxiety of perfectionists also forces them to review their work "one last time" several times and finally waste a lot of time.

According to RTBF, psychologist also consider peculiarities of a certain brain function in the chronic latecomer to be a factor.

A poor appreciation of time, for example, can lead to someone believing that they can make a phone call, shower and eat when they have 20 minutes before an appointment or deadline of some kind.

Chronic latecomers underestimate the time it takes to complete the task by nearly 40%, according to research. This reveals an immaturity of the prefrontal cortex, a brain area that deals with task planning.

There are also those who believe there is a link between sleep disorders and tardiness. If a person suffers from a sleep disorder they will be more tired, less focused and studies show that this will lead to delays in the person’s life. Because the person is less focused, it is therefore more difficult for them to plan, to be organised.

Then there is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Lateness is one of the characteristics of ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, especially related to dopamine. Sufferers are often late because they trouble estimating the time required to complete a task.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.