Keeping People Waiting

Are you guilty?

Comments (26)

(26) SusanE, May 11, 2015 4:19 PM

Always Late? Not any more.

Six years ago when this article was posted I was commenter #1. New friends and old friends are still being late. I have Jewish friends who call their chronic tardiness, keeping Jewish time. I have Mormon friends who call their chronic lateness keeping Mormon time. 5 minutes late, a mere 300 seconds, can usually be excused.....once. We're talking about people who are always late for appointments, meetings, dinner, weddings, funerals.. Everyone has phones with timers. Set your timer and be out the door the minute it goes off. 10 minutes tardy is too late. If you plan on being late all the time you can also plan on being early.

The ego and entitlement of those who inconvenience everyone else by being late is profound. I know about this because I was always never quite ready to go out the door. Always 15 minutes late to everywhere. Friends called me on it and I saw the huge selfishness of my ways. I haven't been late in years. There is NO excuse for being always late.. Plan ahead. Leave earlier.

(25) Anonymous, December 9, 2009 7:24 PM

wedding waiting!!

im making a wedding in a few weeks: one area that we can definately improve in is response cards for simchas (and im guilty of taking my time to return them too and didnt realize how important it was till im on the other side)...its very stressful not being able to plan seating arrangements or know how many people to pay for till the week of the simcha (especially when it's a wedding) and the bride and groom want to be focussing on much more important matters like preparing spiritually and emotionally for the big day! something to think about!

(24) Anonymous, November 29, 2009 6:52 AM

This is well put. In recent years, especially since hearing Rabbi Pesach Krohn mention this in one of his devrei Torah, I have become conscious of the fact that by keeping someone waiting, we are stealing this person's time, which really ia part of his/her life. Rabbi Salamon, you have again reiforced this idea and I always try not to keep someone waiting unnecessarily.

(23) Anonymous, November 29, 2009 6:50 AM

I try to respond to emails within 48 business hours. The goal is to respond within 24. If something seems like it will need more time for me to write out a proper response, I send a quick note that acknowledges I have received the author's information, am taking it into consideration, and will get back to them in X amount of time. When dealing with lines at the post office, grocery store, or wherever, I either 1) listen to a lecture on my mp3 player; 2) take out a book or article I've folded into my pocketbook or coat; or 3) start to do some subtle calf raises and stretches. It'll cut down on my workout time later. If we can't get others to be more careful with their time, we can still take responsbility for maximizing usage of our own. For suggestion 2), I sometimes put in ear plugs so that I can have greater focus on the material.

(22) Anonymous, November 26, 2009 9:58 AM

Rabbi this info is sooo needed. Very good and thank you. Like someone said earlier, please write this out - and give us some suggestions, I have about a dozen friends I could share this with. I've had to wait 1 or 2 hours on some of these friends, (one person has small children) and I'm tired of enabling them.

(21) Anonymous, November 26, 2009 7:57 AM

Well said, but I think you missed one point. A major reason we keep people waiting, or arrive late, is that we think our presence doesn't matter. Its no big deal if we arrive late, no one cares. We don't make a difference. We come late to events, work, parties and worst of all, prayer. Just the fact that our neshama shows up, alters any atmosphere. Our presence can and does make a diffference to others

(20) Anonymous, November 26, 2009 3:08 AM

u missed th obvious example- not the post office or the fone or the emergency room- those are not scheduled-- its the doctors office - where is planned - cause the dr thinks he's g-d and the patient doesn't matteer - they just like to step on us - especially nowadays when most people have cell phones a dr's office should havge the decdency to call an hour before and tell the patient when to come - but they r big shots - they dont care

(19) Miriam, November 25, 2009 7:04 PM

Using your waiting time for the good

I learned from Aish Rabbi Zelig Pliskin that time spent waiting should be used wisely. Don't anguish and make yourself unhappy. Spend your waiting time counting your blessings. It is great during those times when you are stuck in traffic, or at the doctor's office, or when you are on line at the supermarket. Your mood lightens as you thank Hashem for his many blessings.

(18) SL, November 25, 2009 4:11 PM

Y'know? I never realized till now how I always do that. I would always rather someone should wait for me than the other way around. But you're right, why not try to be on time? if I get annoyed at waiting for someone, they probably get annoyed waiting for me. Something to think about.

(17) Anonymous, November 25, 2009 7:28 AM

I totally agree that we should be punctual and considerate of others. I don't hear however, one word about how to NOT get caught up in the RATRACE our lives have become. I do hear that we are to go rushing with the other lemmings heading pell mell over the cliff. How do we slow down, become less stressed and miss out on the wonderful world and people around us. I agree with Harry Pearle (#4 below)

(16) Anonymous, November 25, 2009 7:27 AM

we are kept waitin g yes for emergencies for doctors, for our children, they have no regard for keepingus waitng, but wht is another thingthat upsets me is that ia grandma, i am taken for granted that my time is your time, that i should there and helpmy son and his wife, and childreniamnot old, i dont feel old, but i am64, i still work, have a dog, have some semblance of life and he feels that i should help and keep my mouth shut and do wht he tells me to do that because i am not reliigius that i am not worthy of anything and ia m alone and a widow and i try to do from the heart, please tell me is this a common thing to be disregarded and taken for granted. someone please respond.

(15) Anonymous, November 25, 2009 7:09 AM

I think sometimes we keep people waiting because we are afraid we will be the ones kept waiting. I used to do this...harldy do anymore and if I am late I call. I am grateful that I have changed this way

(14) Rochel, November 25, 2009 1:20 AM

Be up front and tell people whats going on....

Very often people know they'll be making you wait, be a mentch and tell them, another hour,longer ? Give them the option to wait or be back at a set time, you can prevent a lot of unnecessary anxiety!

(13) Anonymous, November 25, 2009 12:31 AM

Jewish Time

Why do we have "Jewish Time"? Why are people always late for any Jewish event? Why do Friday night services always begin 15 or 20 minutes after the scheduled hour? I just don't understand this.

(12) sally, November 25, 2009 12:14 AM

making wait is stealing

when you're making someone wait for you, (specially if only a small effort on your part could have avoid this situation, ) you're actually stealing their time. woldnt that count also as a sin of the ten commandements "do not steal"?

(11) Nancy, November 24, 2009 9:47 PM

Neurotic Efficiency

I have always been very efficient and on time for everything. I even received the"Neurotic Efficiency" award when I was still teaching. However, my husband is always late for everything, and it drives me nuts! Any suggestions?????

(10) Carol, November 24, 2009 8:34 PM

Occupy the waiting time

I used to get steamed waiting in supermarket lines particularly. So I took on a "job": I now try to start up a conversation with the person in front of or behind me, the one who is visibly steaming. I could talk about anything that catches my eye, the weather, the time, whatever... anything to distract them from their anger for a moment. It works more than half the time! When I get back to making quilts, I will be bringing little sections to piece together as I wait, but now I carry a sefer with me and learn RamBAN's Iggeret which forces me to remain calm til my turn comes. Hope these ideas might help someone! C

(9) Anonymous, November 24, 2009 7:41 PM

So true

I hope you don't mind my saying, Rabbi, that you were so cute at the beginning of the video! Secondly, did my mom write your "script"? I've been taught since an early age that unless there really are extenuating circumstances, it is extremely rude to keep people waiting and is rather arrogant because you are saying that the waiting person's time isn't as valuable as yours. One huge thing people in queue can do is to get ready when they're waiting to pay at the cash register. Don't wait until the clerk tells you the amount and then take five minutes to dig out your billfold at the bottom of a crowded purse. Have your wallet out and ready to hand over the money or card while the clerk is ringing up your purchases. It's just amazing that people somehow seem "surprised" when told the amount they'll have to pay and only then begin to dig for payment. People who do that and then write -- checks -- (I'm not kidding) should be forced to the back of the line and banned from shopping at that store for a week. Do you not agree?

(8) Yakov, November 24, 2009 7:10 PM

Waiting in shul

You asked in the video to give some examples. I daven at a 6:30 minyan every morning so I can be home for my kids before they leave to school. If the person who usually leads the prayer service is not there, no one would go up to start and then every one starts pointing at me and I go. I go because I don't see the big deal of doing it and besides I think I do them all a favor because they all want to be out of there by seven,, (yes a little to fast)and I feel very good that by 7am I have done a chesed all ready. My point is, if you can Daven it would be nice to share and not have people wait and be late and maybe some run out in middle because we finished 4 minutes late. Oh and to complain every can speak up :) lol

(7) Anonymous, November 24, 2009 7:07 PM

Call waiting

I've picked up the phone so many times only to hear "hold on, someone's on the other line." I did not call them, they called me. I understand that they feel it may be something important, but isn't my time important, too?

(6) Keith Klarin, November 24, 2009 6:00 PM


Please send thi video to my doctors. Please, Please, Pleas!

(5) Rosally Saltsman, November 24, 2009 5:04 PM

Yes! Thank You!

Really one of my pet peeves. I think there are two more reasons people keep others waiting. One is bad time organization. They simply aren't good at gaging how long things take and that's why they're perpetually behind schedule. Another reason is internal rythms, their nature. I'm always early and I can't seem to stop myself from being early for everything. I was born two months premature and I just kept up the pattern. There are things people can do to be more organized and plan better. Please write an article about that.

(4) Harry Pearle, November 24, 2009 4:52 PM

Beyond Rushing: next, next, next!

Rabbi Salomon's advice should be taken with a grain of salt. The anonymous comment (3) points this one. But slowing down and taking our time also has merit. By slowing down, we might enjoy and appreciate whatever activity we are doing, right now. We don't always have to be thinkng of being on time and being efficient. What is life, if we are always thinking: next, next next? In Hawaii they have a slogan: TRY WAIT. Waiting does not mean we have to put people on hold. But we can pause and take our time...

(3) Anonymous, November 23, 2009 7:04 PM

it's not always so clear cut

I do agree, making people wait is inconsiderate and can result in loosing favor in someone’s eyes, a job, a date, etc. BUT I must say, not always is the reason for lateness because someone is being selfish or needing the adrenalin rush or whatever other reasons you gave. I actually think that's very offensive if you only think of it that way. YES, people should be punctual and not take other people's time for granted, but also PLEASE remember, many things outside of his control can cause a person to be late (although it's not an excuse and should never be used as one), please don't judge!!!

(2) Ruthann, November 23, 2009 12:57 AM

Waiting? Why?

I found many, many years ago after losing an important position in my life to start one hour earlier. I appreciate hearing, "We can set our watches by you!"

(1) SusanE, November 22, 2009 5:14 PM

Great Subject this week, Rabbi Salomon. I have had times when I was late for meetings, or kept people waiting. Most times it could have been avoided. I used an excuse one time about traffic and someone spoke up and said, "So how do you think the others got here... in a helicopter? We all drove in the same traffic to get here on time, so what's your other excuse?" I wasn't angry or hurt. Her words were like a lightbulb in my head. I saw myself as the selfish person who apologizes profusely and it was not sincere at all, and if I had wanted to be there on time I could have been! I run a business out of my home, eat out 3 or 4 nights a week with friends. At least one night a week I would get a late comer customer just as I was leaving my driveway, and I would be late to dinner. The restaurants are 5 minutes away. Now I leave 15 minutes open to get there on time and relax a few minutes... I make a point to be several minutes early for appointments, and for meetings, and am always prompt for any event. If I say 5 o'clock you can be sure I will be there at 5. Thanks very much to the person who didn't accept my feeble excuse about traffic.


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