Skip to content

Women's Health

Always Late? Find Out Why

Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

By Keith Ablow, M.D.
Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo
It’s high time to figure out what’s making you perpetually behind. Here, strategies to help you get out of the lateness rut.

Some years ago when I was chief resident in psychiatry at the New England Medical Center, I decided it was finally time to enter therapy myself. I was dating the woman who would later become my wife and I wanted to explore why I hadn’t yet committed to her.

So I booked an appointment with a noted psychiatrist, about 10 miles from my home, and left early enough to get there on time. But 35 minutes later, I was lost amid curving backstreets — and already 15 minutes late.

I called the psychiatrist, apologized, and suggested we reschedule for another day. “Haven’t you been avoiding therapy long enough?” he asked me.

I thought about it. Part of me wanted to dismiss the idea that my ambivalence could have turned me round and round until I was too late for my session. It seemed almost comical to think that I couldn’t even commit to figuring out why I couldn’t commit in a relationship. But I’d learned enough about the mind’s defenses to know it was possible. It was also true that I had waited until my final year of psychiatric training to start out on the road to therapy.

“Yes,” I said. “It’s been long enough.”

“Then keep trying to find me,” he said. “I’ll wait for you, no matter how much you wish I wouldn’t.”

Now, with the benefit of that therapy and 15 years spent treating my own patients, I know that being late is a way many of us express a range of hidden emotions — including avoidance of uncomfortable situations. Here’s what your lack of punctuality might be saying about you — or someone you care about — and the keys to making a change.

1. “I feel anxious”

Many people make themselves late, whether once or repeatedly, when heading to a job or to meet friends, because they feel apprehensive or stressed. It’s as if deep, unresolved emotions are acting as resistors in the mind’s circuitry, redirecting us away from the source of our discomfort.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
woman in bathtub
Slideshow
Doctor discussing screening with patient
VIDEO
 
bp app on smartwatch and phone
Slideshow
iud
Expert views
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
Slideshow
hot water bottle on stomach
Quiz
 
question
Assessment
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror
Quiz