Get things done while waiting for a friend/client who is late

You might be angry as I once was when dealing with certain friends who you know would always run late. It is implied that a person who is constantly late have no respect for other people’s time.

During my university days, we used to have a lot of gathering after lectures. We would arrange for the time to meet and each time, there are that few friends who chose to come late. This used to really upset me because I was always punctual and had to wait like a fool for everyone to arrive. It is the same after I come out to work when I meet out with colleagues or friends.

The thing is, you may be tempted to give up the friendship when you feel that the chronically late person seemed to have no respect for your time. But I would urge you to try to accept the person for who he/she is.

The friends of mine who always seemed to be late happened to be wonderful people. They are helpful, supportive, non judgmental and always be willing to lend a listening ear. The only flaw they have is with punctuality but otherwise, they have been great friends. It would be silly to give up friendship just because of this minor flaw…. heck, we ourselves may have even greater flaw which they have no issue with.

I do not think that people who are constantly late have no respect for your time. They have may very disorganized overall and this is going to get into their success in life.

So instead of getting upset or worked up just because you are made to wait again….why not adapt and find things to do?

Here are some things you can do while waiting for that friend who you know is going to be late…. again:

1. Bring a book or a magazine along, read and take notes while waiting

Reading book while waiting

When you make an appointment with someone who you know have the tendency to be late, try to meet at a place where you can sit down comfortably like in a cafe or a shopping complex. Take a long a book that you have been meaning to read to read.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes there is too much distraction at home for me to be able to sit down to read a book. But when I am left with nothing to do but to wait, I am able to concentrate on my book.

If you are like me who like to take some notes while reading, bring along a small thin notebook to take notes of valuable lessons that you have learned from reading certain chapters.

2. Organize your email inbox or declutter your mobile phone

If you do not like to carry a book/ magazine/ notebook with you, then no worries. You can use any waiting or commuting time as a chance to organize your email inbox. Use the additional time to delete off unwanted email and to park important emails in specific folders.

By the way, I hope you do create specific folders for your emails for items such as electronic bills, statements, travel itinerary, etc.

This is quite a boring task which I would save it for times when I am waiting for a friend who is running late, while commuting in the train, waiting in line at the bank or during TV commercial breaks (but well, I seldom watch TV now).

I am not sure about you- but I tend to get a lot of videos being forwarded via Whatapps that really hog down a lot of space in my phone. I use any waiting time I have to delete off these videos from my phone memory.

3. Watch education YouTube videos or read good blog posts

I have a few playlists in my YouTube account where I save some really good videos- some that are useful that I tend to rewatch again and again. It is not easy to find back these videos so whenever I come across a good video, I would save it in a specific playlist.

Or you can use the time to do research and read a good post on your subject of interest.

4. For bloggers- writing draft posts

In fact, the draft of this post was first written on my small notebook while…… well, you guessed it…. waiting for a friend who I know is always fashionably late.

As a blogger, I always carry a physical notebook with me- either to jot down important information or to enable me to write down draft posts when the inspiration hits me. And the inspiration can come at any time. I would use a thin notebook of about 100 pages so it is not heavy and does not take up much space in my bag.

5. Meditate or say prayers/chants

Taking the time to meditate or to calm down our minds would make a lot of difference in our lives. We would feel more relaxed, have more clarify and be able to manage our emotions better. It is not necessarily for us to meditate with our eyes closed while sitting on top of a cushion in the privacy of our own room or home.

We can learn to be conscious of our in and out breath while we go about with the activities of our daily lives. That itself is a form of mindfulness meditation.

If you have some specific chants or affirmations that you wish to repeat, you can set a target for the number of times that you chant or repeat these affirmations in a day by using either prayer beads or a counter like below:

counter from Daiso

I got this idea from seeing calm looking elderly gentlemen with kind eyes that always carry a prayer bead in their hands.

I bought the counter above from Daiso. It is just a small item that can fit within the palms of your hands- so it is not really noticeable when you are out in public places. Basically you can press on a button once you completed one sequence. In fact, for about few months this year, I carry this counter with me wherever I went- while I was driving long distance, waiting anywhere, on plane flights, talking my walks, doing housework- I would use it while reciting my chants.

With the counter, I need not write or remember the number. I just press each time I completed one time. Each day I target for 108 times and the entire sequence takes between 2.5 hours to 3 hours which is manageable when it is being broken down into many times of the day.

At first, it was not easy. But after about a week, it got easier. It made my mind more calm and mindful. I also find it is funny that after sometime, my body pains went off. And when chanting it also puts my mind on meditative mode. It helped me through some tough emotional times that I was facing earlier this year.

Or you can also sit there and simply do nothing. Give your mind time to recharge from overthinking and the stress.


The above are tips that I have learnt to make good use of my time while waiting for someone who is running late. Sometimes, even the most punctual person may run late due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather condition, massive jam or someone blocking their car.

Please do not end a friendship just because you get annoyed at a particular friend who always seemed to be late. If that person’s life is in order, he/she would not always be running late and off schedule. If your friend have problem showing up on time for appointments, which is such a simple thing, then how is he/she able to manage and prioritize more important tasks and achieve goals? Rather than being angry, you may instead feel sorry for your friend.

And please do not adopt the thinking of ‘if you cannot beat them, join them’ mentality. It is important to learn to manage time well, one of which is simply showing up on time. Meeting timeline and deadlines. Once we start to get sloppy in something as simple as getting to a place on time, it will spill over to other areas of our lives.

We cannot control how other people behave but we can control our response to them. Instead of standing there and internally fuming with resentment and anger, we can learn put that time to good use as well.



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