elastictimekeeping

You're Late! No, I'm Only 30 Minutes Behind!

Whilst travelling these past few weeks, I’ve noticed something totally different from European countries about times, and keeping “appointments”. 

Southern European countries (e.g.: Portugal, Spain, Italy), as well as folks from the Americas (not the US or Canada though) and India all view time as more “elastic” as I once heard. This means that, although you may agree to meet a friend for dinner at 7:00 PM, they might not arrive until 8:30 PM; without telling you that they’re running late. This is simply because they just view their days as more flexible than you might. Who know’s why, but it’s a less stressful way of living. Compared to my Norwegian and German friends, if you say 11:00 AM, they will be there at 10:55 AM. 

Which lifestyle do I like better though, that’s the main question. I grew up with the stricter time schedule, similar to my German and Norwegian friends; but after travelling some, and growing up some, I now am always running late. By US standards, five minutes is acceptable, ten is ok - depending on the event and situation, and 15 is rude. I’m usually between that gap, if it’s class, I show up right on time; if class starts at 2:00 I am there at 2:00; if its a social event, I show up when I’m ready (granted I do keep in mind that if its only an hour long then not to show up an hour-and-a-half late). I enjoy the lifestyle of the lenient schedule, but I do have to remember to be considerate of others whilst travelling and making arrangements. I think there’s a good trade between both worlds . You obviously need to be on time for class and your plane departure, but you don’t need to rush to the party if it’s lasting all night. 

If a friend is running behind the time we agreed upon to meet, that’s fine, I’ll just have a cup of coffee, or catch up on some texts I haven’t replied to yet. Yet, for a job interview, I’m always planning to be there 20 minutes ahead of the suggested time. :) 

Just some food for thought, what are you like? Have you tried to be more elastic with your time keeping, or stricter? Do you have friends who are always late; or are you that friend?

Ciao! 

PS, check out www.onequay.org