Is arriving too early as rude as arriving too late?

(49 Posts)
margarethamilton Tue 28-May-13 20:13:05

My family are often late for social occasions, meet ups and so on, usually by 20 minutes or so. They will always text to say so and will apologise. They lead busy lives and emergencies happen. I've learned to accept it but I like to be on time myself. I know people find it rude to be late.

However, my in laws are often early. They live some distance away (a 90 minute - 2 hour drive) so we invite them down to stay every few months or so. Last week, we arranged that they would arrive here for 1pm. It was my day off, DH at work, so I had time to sort DD out, do a clean, walk the dog, make myself look presentable, prepare food and so on before their arrival.

But they turned up at 10.20 meaning that the house was half clean, I was a straggly mess and not prepared to host their visit! DD is only 9 months old so getting everything together isn't as easy as it used to be and every minute is precious!

People really get wound up by lateness but it's often unavoidable. But you've got to PLAN to be so early. Isn't this even more rude? DH says its just how they are.

Btw - they were once 5 hours early in a similar fashion.

FaithLehane Tue 28-May-13 20:16:04

Oh god, I agree it is rude to be THAT early! That would drive me up the wall. My MIL used to be like that, suggest her arriving at 11am and she'd turn up at 8am. hmm We'd still be in bloody bed!

Hassled Tue 28-May-13 20:16:14

Oh that's just as rude as being 3 hours late. Possibly even ruder (although I can't really articulate why - I just think it would wind me up more).

Next time you have to say you will be out until 1pm. And then don't answer the door.

Esker Tue 28-May-13 20:17:14

Given that it is close family I wouldn't call it 'rude' (sounds more like they cant wait to see you!) but most certainly a big imposition and very inconsiderate esp to someone with small children.
Do they express dismay at you not being ready/expect to be waited on pronto? If so that would be v rude indeed!

peanutbuttersarnies Tue 28-May-13 20:17:45

Arriving at someones house early is definitely worse than late. Imo. Arriving at coffee shop or restaurant etc early is fine though.

Greenandcabbagelooking Tue 28-May-13 20:18:15

A few minutes early is fine, but that early is rude IMO.

Up to half an hour if travelling a good distance and traffic has been lighter than expected. It would still be good manners to phone once you'd realised how early you'd arrive.

I mean "you" in the general sense.

I agree it's more rude - my house is never ready until about 3 mins before people are due. At least if they're a little late you can sit down and have a moment before the next round of chaos starts wink

YoniOneWayOfLife Tue 28-May-13 20:18:55

I'm still smarting from BIL and MIL arriving at 9.30am when 1. They live 3 hours away 2. We expected them at 2.30pm 3. They then sat on their arses and ignored us all until lunchtime when similarly SIL and BIL turned up just in time for a free lunch.

Wallison Tue 28-May-13 20:22:39

Definitely rude. I have a friend who does this when we've arranged to go on nights out together. Her husband takes care of the kids on these occasions so she can have a leisurely time to herself getting ready and so on, and she'll rock up here 20 mins before she's supposed to. Now, that 20 mins was carefully earmarked as being the time it took to hoover downstairs with one hand, put make-up on with the other hand and get snacks etc together for the babysitter with my non-existent third hand. Everything is timed to a T. And there's no-one else here to pick up the slack. But there she'll be, standing on my doorstep all calm and "aren't you ready yet", while I'm running around with straighteners and pizza and bedtime stories, all in a tizz.

ToffeeWhirl Tue 28-May-13 20:22:54

Very, very rude and inconsiderate, in my opinion. Worse than being a little late (which is quite helpful, I always think). Your parents in law should go to have tea somewhere and wait until the time you've stated, not arrive at your house before you're ready.

My FIL enjoyed turning up at relatives' houses unexpectedly first thing in the morning (I mean, when they hadn't been invited ^at all^). My DH - then a child - still remembers how mortified he felt as people opened the door wearing their dressing gowns and tried to disguise their horror. FIL was oblivious and thought he was giving them a nice surprise hmm.

Lioninthesun Tue 28-May-13 20:23:28

What I don't understand is why they couldn't call or text en-route to warn of their early arrival?

ToffeeWhirl Tue 28-May-13 20:23:50

at all

miffybun73 Tue 28-May-13 20:27:23

Yes, more rude if anything.

Being a few minutes late is preferable. Poor you sad

hardbeingme Tue 28-May-13 20:29:02

so rude! and in my case they would find me still in my pjs scrubbing the bathroom!
I would personally prefer lateness in that situation (in fact i usually give my starting time as ish - i really appreciate an extra 20 mins!) but whether very late or very early a message or phonecall should always give warning.

EverythingInMjiniature Tue 28-May-13 20:29:42

I always think 20m late to some

margarethamilton Tue 28-May-13 20:30:39

I get on well with them and they're quite nice people. It's not an IL bashing thing. BUT they do expect to be entertained and fed once here. They don't 'pitch in' and put the kettle on, they left plates around after lunch, didn't help with any meals, sat watching TV for 7 hours until DH returned etc. That pissed me off a bit especially as DD was ill and needy.

It just seems weird to say, "Please don't be early" when society is so focused on lateness. I'm a teacher so maybe it resonates more?

Yes, but they have a long drive, so I would just in future be prepared for them to arrive a few hours early and get the house cleaned the night before.

EverythingInMjiniature Tue 28-May-13 20:31:22

Ones house is polite, gives them time for last min emergencies. If meeting in a restaurant, early better than late. Early to someone by more than 5 mins very rude, drive round the block a few times!

CatherineofMumbles Tue 28-May-13 20:40:57

Completely agree with other posters- rude! my parents do this and I hate it! Unless rushing for a train or plane, much better to be 10 mins late than early! If I got early to another town etc, would go to a café or shopping rather than turn up at someone's house early...

margarethamilton Tue 28-May-13 20:43:07

A good point Quint and I'm usually pretty organised. But last week was my first back to work after maternity leave and DD has been unwell. So cleaning in the evening hasn't been a priority. The house wasn't a tip but the basics needed doing and, as another poster said, time was earmarked.

They do have a long drive but chose to leave at 8.30 and drive on a very busy motorway from one major city to another during rush hour. It's puzzling but maybe DH is right in his assessment that it's how they are!

Mintyy Tue 28-May-13 20:44:43

I've read, re-read, and read Yoni's post again - and still can't make it out. Is it some kind of code? confused

They might simply want to do the drive when they are early and awake, as opposed to later when they are hungry and close to lunch time?

I think some people plan their journeys around when it is most convenient for them to do a long drive and dont think too much of arrival time. They might not realize it matters to you, after all, you are family!

EleanorFarjeon Tue 28-May-13 22:17:10

We had friends' parents coming to stay, as they were going to be in the area and we all wanted to catch up.

They were supposed to come at 3pm. They came at 11am.

We were so not ready to receive them!

I can't think of it rude though, just 'aaaargh'. Which is what I said when I heard their car on the drive.

ZZZenagain Tue 28-May-13 22:21:30

I wouldn't mind if someone turned up a quarter of an hour early or even half an hour but not hours ahead, I wouldn't be ready for them and I'd be embarrassed by that.

DontmindifIdo Tue 28-May-13 22:28:50

My dad can be like this, I found the best way to manage him was to ignore when he'd say they'd be arriving, and focus on the departure time. A good one with him was me to say "oh, I've got to pop to sainsburys in the morning, can you call me when you are just setting off then I know I've got an hour to be back. I know it might take you longer, but don't want to leave you on the doorstep" he'll usually then say that they'll be with me for 11, which best reply with, "great, but call me when you are setting off so i know"- usually he'll then call at 9 to say they are leaving for the hour drive...

For your pil, I'd assume that their plan for the morning would be to get up and go to see you, so expect them to set off between 8-9 am, work on that, not when they say they will be with you. (or make a point of saying you've out in the morning, so they need to call to warn you if they'll be early so you can come back)

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