Good news for the people who are always late: Research shows that people who are chronically late will live longer lives.
We all have that friend (or maybe, we are that friend) who is late to every single brunch, baby shower, and school board meeting ever put in the calendar and spend most Sundays slinking into the back pew at church hoping not to draw attention.
Here’s some research that’s about to make you very, very smug. Apparently, if you’re always late to everything that means you will end up living a longer, more successful life. So basically, the next time somebody complains that you’re running a few minutes behind, you can tell them that you’re doing it all in the name of science and health.
To the delight of last-minute folks everywhere, there’s scientific research that claims someone’s chronic lateness is actually a positive indicator about their future. People who are always running late are usually less stressed out, more zen, and less concerned about deadlines. All of that chill can lead to lower blood pressure, better cardiovascular health, less chances for a stroke, and lower chances of depression. All of those factors lead to a longer, healthier life.
Not too shabby, huh?
That’s not all, though. In general, late people tend to be more optimistic. They genuinely believe that they can squeeze in their errands, workouts, school pick ups, or whatever else before making it to their appointments on time. People who are never late? They’re way less optimistic – which is a shame, because positive thinking can actually have some really important, long-term benefits.
“Optimism helps people cope with disease and recover from surgery,” Harvard Health Publishing noted. “Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.”
There’s a few other positive traits that go hand-in-hand with being chronically late. According to a 2003 study from psychologist Jeff Conte, late people tend to be natural multi-taskers, which can indicate that they’re smart problem solvers. Basically even more evidence that tardy folks are going to lead more productive lives.
INC also noted that late people tend to come up with solutions faster because they’re used to thinking on their feet more (you know, that feeling when you have like 60 seconds to make it to a meeting and you’re trying to figure your shit out really, reallyquickly).
Time management expert and author Diana Delonzor explains that the reason people tend to be late is that they are both “optimistic and unrealistic”.
In her book Never Be Late Again she explains that “this affects their perception of time.”
She explains: “They really believe they can go for a run, pick up their clothes at the dry cleaners, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour.”
So tardiness does have its benefits as these the way late people think makes them more creative and equipped for success.
Associate psychology professor at San Diego State University found in his study that because the minds of those who are late are free from time restraints, there is more room for creative thinking.
So, moral of this story is that we should all cut late people some slack. But we’re talking 5-10 minutes late. Anything more than that and then you no longer get to lean on any of this cool science stuff.