What if: You Were Late for a Meeting?

wrong way

People don’t like to be kept waiting, but they don’t like to keep others waiting, either.

Whether they were embarrassed, agitated, or all-out angry—at themselves or something else—everyone on the 2017 panel had an emotional response to the idea of being late.

Situation: You’re on your way to an important meeting at a location you’ve been to a couple of times before. You think you know where you’re going, but you’re preoccupied and turn left instead of right. By the time you notice this and turn around, you realize you’re going to be 10-15 minutes late. How do you feel? What do you think? And what would you say and do?

Type 1: I would feel stupid and disappointed that I got distracted. Of course, feeling is hard for me, as a 1, so I’m never sure if these are the right words. I’m not sure they’re really feelings. But I feel like I disrespected somebody else’s time by being late. So I would call and briefly explain that I’m running late, apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that they are understanding, as I believe that will alleviate my stress.

Type 2: As a 2 and being externally focused, I would be upset with myself for not paying more attention. And this does happen to me more often than I’d like to admit. So I’d be upset that I might impact somebody else. What I’d be thinking is I’d be judging myself for not paying attention. What I would say and do is I would call them and I would say, Look, I’m running late and I hope it’s not a problem for you. And what I would tell myself is You’ll do better next time.

Type 3: As a 3, I would have left significantly earlier so I would have had enough time. Because image is everything. And if I’m late, then what are you going to think of me? You’re thinking of me as not capable. How dumb is she? She can’t even plan ahead. But if I were late, first of all, I’d be angry with myself. It would be all internal. I’d be afraid you’d be angry at me. So I’m really hot and bothered now. And more than likely, I would have been thinking of some fictitious something that caused me to be late, because it wouldn’t have been me. Well, I want you to think I’m really capable and wonderful, so that truck that made me stop was…you know.

Type 4: My first reaction is going to be anger at myself, and of course I will then start to become a very angry driver, and I actually flip people off. Even though it has nothing to do with them, I still do that. I’m going to feel like I’ll be judged by the people I’m going to meet, and therefore I’ll be left out of future invitations because I’ve given them such a bad impression of me. What I would do is I would immediately call anybody, if I have their cell, and let them know that I am running late so at least they’ve been warned. I would probably do something similar (to the Type 3) and blame it on traffic. And then when I get there I would apologize and feel really, really guilty.

Type 5: Yeah, I would be freaked out. I always say If I’m not early, I’m late. I really hate being late, so I’m always early. Like really early. Thank god, I have a phone to tell me when to be where. And I hate waiting for people, so I hate having other people wait for me. That bugs me. I’ll consider calling even though I hate talking on the phone. I’ll hurry to get there as soon as I can, and I’ll be stressed out when I arrive.

Type 6: My first impulse would be real anger. I’d say a few blue words to whoever was next to me in the car, probably. I’d already be thinking about the fastest way to retrace my steps and get back to the correct destination. As I said, my first reaction would be some choice curse words. And then quickly correct course, and then begin thinking of a way to explain why I was late. And my first reaction would be to blame the (Albuquerque) mayor’s ART project. You know, you can blame it for almost anything here. But then probably I’d blame myself for it because that’s what 6s do—we blame ourselves for lots of things. But anger was the first response. And I mean big time. But it goes away fast. Builds fast; goes away fast. But I still want to blame the ART project.

Type 7: I would immediately get frustrated and incredibly anxious. No surprise there. But I’m realizing some of my answer really had a lot of the 6 in it because I have a 6 wing. So I would be doing a lot of screaming and yelling at myself. But I think if I calmed down I would also have this sense of, well, this is an interesting adventure. And I’d be looking at where I was that I wasn’t planning on being. But I would call, text, say I’m on my way, and I’d be apologetic. But I’d still be looking around thinking Well, I’ll have to come back here some time.

Type 8: How do I feel? I thought a lot about this. I am compulsive about time, so I’d be slightly irritated because it’s channeled near the surface at all times. I prefer irritated—you know, not angry. But I would be irritated at the city of Albuquerque for not providing better signage. And I’d probably be doing something in my head like crafting an email that I’m going to send to the mayor’s office about it. What do I think? I’m from Los Angeles, so I’m thinking 10 or 15 minutes is nothing. And they probably should be thankful that I’m showing up at all. I mean I’ve got valuable things to share. But I don’t want to be overtly rude, so I would text or call, and I would just apologize. I’d say, hey, can you hang for 10 or 15 minutes? Go get a Coke.

Type 9: This happens to me a lot, too. The first thing is I would be angry. Because 9 equals automatically angry. And embarrassed because I don’t like that. But it does happen rather more than I care for. What I would think is Oh my god, Rebecca, do you not know where you’re going? What I would say and do…I have an Apple phone with a magnetic car mount thing so I can just reach over and punch it and say, Siri, text Joe and tell him I’m late. And then I would go as quickly as I could to get where I’m supposed to be. And I would go in as inconspicuously as possible. Withdraw!

Have you been in a similar situation? What emotional response did you have?

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One response to “What if: You Were Late for a Meeting?

  1. As a Type 5 who spent his work life scheduling bus service, I would go into a very analytical mode. I would try to come up head of time a good estimate of driving time, allow a few minutes for variance in travel time, and hope for the best. I would be upset at my distraction and try to determine when I try to explain my lateness how little I can get away with in saying. If I were in NYC, where lots of people run late, you don’t need much explanation; if in Salt Lake City, I would hve added at least another 5 minutes to get to my destination when planning my trip.

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