Chronically inconsiderate people are those folks who habitually wreak havoc on others’ schedules with their thoughtless behavior. For instance, a woman persuades her personal trainer to work with her on his day off, then fails to show up for the appointment.
We all occasionally have emergencies that interfere with our days, but the chronically inconsiderate make disruptions a way of life. They have their excuses — “I overslept.” “I forgot.” “I lost the appointment card” — but their inattentive M.O. speaks for itself. They fail to keep their end of the scheduling bargain. Others feel angry and taken advantage of.
These self-centered people think nothing of imposing upon others to accommodate their own needs. They persuade a hairdresser to move her other clients so they can come in when it’s convenient. Or they ask an accountant to work during his lunch hour because it’s the only time that works for them. However, they think nothing of canceling at the last minute if their plans change, leaving the other person high and dry.
At first, the chronically inconsiderate seem to have the upper hand. They get appointments whenever they want them.
However, the strategy quickly backfires. Once a professional has been inconvenienced a few times, he or she is reluctant to put these people on the books. Business people don’t go out of their way to be flexible. If they do, they keep other tasks nearby in the high likelihood they’ll be stood up yet again.
Social relationships suffer, too. Friends don’t like sudden cancellations and quickly stop scheduling dates.
Chronically inconsiderate people are often blithely unaware of the impact they have on others. In fact, they accuse anyone who complains of being overly controlling.
As with all negative behaviors, there’s the potential for improvement. Admitting its destructive impact is a great place to start.
HOW RESPONSIBLE ARE YOU?
Wondering whether you’re chronically irresponsible? Ask yourself the following questions:
Have you completely forgotten about two or more appointments in the past six months?
Have you rescheduled an appointment at the last minute within the past 30 days?
Do you tell yourself that you have good excuses for why you’re late or forgetful?
Do you have trouble managing your schedule?
Have you ever lost a job because you couldn’t get to work on time?
Are you constantly running late?
Do you wish you could be more responsible about your time?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you have real problems being responsible about your time. Try these tips to get the behavior under control:
Understand the scope of the problem. Your irresponsible behavior may seem like no big deal to you, but to others it’s a real pain. They dread having you on their docket.
Be selective. Don’t sign on for activities that you don’t want to do or won’t be able to complete. Choose wisely and learn to say no. It’s not acceptable to renege at the last minute.
Stick to a schedule. It’s hard to get up for an appointment if you don’t go to bed until midnight. Establish routine sleeping hours. Eat meals at consistent times. Regulating your body helps regulate your behavior.
Use a day planner. Whether you prefer a paper schedule or iPhone app, keep close tabs of your day. Write down every appointment. Check your schedule frequently.
Pad your schedule. Add 15 minutes to key activities. That way, you’ll avoid rushing when inevitable mishaps occur.
Don’t get distracted. It’s easy to get sidetracked then suddenly realize you’ve forgotten a commitment. Identify the task at hand. Stick with it until it’s completed.
Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her, visit lindalewisgriffith.com.