Timeliness meets compromise

What really constitutes as “on time” these days?

I remember back in high school, to be on time to something meant pinning yourself down as a nerd or a freshman. Seriously, showing up at a school dance at the actual time it started was like asking your classmates to mock you.

But now in college, how do you figure out when to show up somewhere?

For me, I usually go with the three-minute rule. Or rather, I naturally show up at things three minutes late. Therefore, I made it my rule.

I feel like it gives the impression that I respect other people’s time while simultaneously expressing that I’m not uptight and controlling (which I can be). It’s a fine line.

The only time it could potentially backfire is if, say, it’s raining and you walk in the front door of chapel soaking wet and have to walk past Rod Reed, President Pollard, and the imported chapel speaker and all you can do is shiver and keep your head down and give kind of a half wave. But that would never happen…

While I have my own three-minute rule, I recognize that not everyone functions on the same time schedule.

For instance, my roommate, and those like her, believe that if you’re anything less than ten minutes early, you are late.

I give my hipster friends a full thirty minutes to arrive when I ask them to.

The key is to learn your audience. Punctuality is a really simple way to show someone that you care about them. It’s like a love language: quality (being on) time.

So, if you have a roommate like mine, and you make them anxious when they have to wait and wait and wait for you to leave for chapel, try getting your things together the night before so that you can leave when they are ready.

Or if you have hipster friends and really need them to get somewhere on time, tell them whatever it is starts thirty minutes before it actually does. Then, instead of being super late, they’ll actually be pretty well on time.

I’m not always great at this game, but I’m learning how to compromise and adapt so that I can, in this one small way, show the people around me that I care about them.