We’ve all been late for something before, but everybody responds to being behind schedule differently. Some people get very stressed and upset about the situation, while others don’t sweat it and can keep a healthy perspective.

It turns out that people who chronically run behind for things do so because of some deeply ingrained psychological traits, and the most significant one might come as a real surprise!

No matter what, some people tend to be chronically late for every event or meeting they commit to. Though to others it seems like this behavior is a choice, research shows that chronic lateness could be a trait that’s hardwired into people’s brains.

late-1Flickr / Sherry Vanegas

People who are frequently late tend be so for everything regardless of whether they percieve the event as good or bad, important or unimportant.

late-2Flickr / John Fraissinet

Studies show that chronically tardy individuals also tend to multitask more than most people, and their unrealistic assessments of how much they can do in any given time frame cause them to run behind schedule.

late-3Flickr / Judit Klein

However, psychologists say we shouldn’t peg these people as lazy, inattentive, or unproductive. The real issue is quite different…

late-4Flickr / iitugadmission

Research increasingly shows that chronically late individuals are more optimistic than the general population. This persistent optimism about how much time they have and how much they can get done makes them less punctual.

late-5Flickr / greyworld

Optimistic people actually have a number of advantages. For one thing, they generally suffer less from stress, which helps them think clearer, and has benefits for the cardiovascular and immune system, too.


Optimistic people tend to be more easygoing and relaxed in social situations. This often helps them define their goals and navigate their way to achieving those goals more easily than people bogged down by stress.

late-7Flickr / kapten

It’s important to keep in mind that how we respond to lateness are largely culturally determined. For instance, in Germany and the U.S., punctuality is prized, while in Spain and Latin America it’s not as important.

late-8Flickr / zoetnet

This means we should hesitate to judge chronically late people, and could even learn a thing or two from them about the benefits of keeping a positive outlook!

late-9Twitter / @prashnugond_

Wow…that makes so much sense! It just goes to show that everybody has a worthwhile perspective from which we can learn!

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