If you’re always late you’re a more positive person, say experts

It’s a result of optimism and drive

A study has revealed that “chronically late” people are actually optimistic, driven and reluctant to accept anything other than the best outcome.

The research debunks the natural assumption that those who are late are disinterested, rude or disorganised. In her book, Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, she says: “Lateness is really a commonly misunderstood problem. Yes, it’s a rude act, but I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and the vast majority of late people really dislike being late, they try to be on time, but this is something that has plagued them throughout their lives.

“Telling a chronic late person to be on time is like telling a dieter, ‘Don’t eat so much.’”

It’s often due to restlessness and an aversion to time wasting – notably their own. “Constantly tardy folks often hate downtime that results from waiting for others. Some feel time is frittering away; others are uneasy waiting alone, so they avoid it by showing up late.”

A person who is always late will often only remember the optimum time that an action like a journey has taken, as they are unwilling to be negative about situations: “Chronic latecomers underestimate how long things take by 25 to 30 percent.

“Over the course of the day, if you underestimate everything by that much, you are chronically behind.”

She carried out a study of time-perception: “Part of my research included a test to measure the differences in how timely and late people perceive the passage of time. The test I devised is a simple one you can try yourself.

“Choose three or four pages in a book, mark the time, and start reading. Stop reading when you think ninety seconds have elapsed, then check your watch to see how accurate you were.

“I found that early birds, almost without fail, stopped reading before ninety ­seconds had passed, while lateniks put their books down well ­after the ninety-second mark.”

DeLonzor categorises people who are late into seven key types:

1. The Deadliners:

“One of the things I found is that some people were subconsciously drawn to the adrenaline rush of that last minute sprint to the finish line… They have a hard time motivating themselves without that looming deadline, without that crisis on the horizon.

“Then, as they realize there’s no way they’re going to make it on time, that positive feeling turns to dread. Then they start beating themselves up.”

2. The Producers:

“Those are people who consistently over-schedule their days.” The producer thinks they “can go for a run, clean the house, put in a load of laundry, pick up the dry cleaning, take a shower and get the kids dropped off at school in an hour.”

3. The Absent-minded Professors:

“When they head out the door, they might notice the drapes are crooked and they run over and fix the drapes. On the way back they’ll get distracted by seeing the computer is on and they go to turn it off but have to surf the web first.

“They have a hard time getting from point a to point b without getting distracted by c, d and e.”

4. The Rebels:

“They’re maybe people who are insecure and having people wait for them makes them feel important.”

5. The Rationaliser:

This type of late person: “doesn’t fully admit the problem and always blames it on external factors”, like a traffic jam, a delayed train, etc.

‘Be there at nine!’

6. The Indulger:

This person struggles with will-power and self control – not having the long-term vision to see the benefits of leaving and saying things like “I don’t feel like going!”.

7. The Evader:

This person keeps trying to perfect a situation before leaving the house. This may be trying on just one more outfit, wiping the sides, tidying their room or any other activity that could be done at another time.