Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

See you at 10 ... ish!

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The British people are a punctual race. That is a fact. Growing up in Britain, I learnt that agreeing to meet at a certain time means that you arrive at least five minutes early, if not more, and, if there is the remote chance you will arrive even slightly late you call and apologise profusely.

The same rules really cannot be applied to Mexican time keeping. When meeting friends, a time will be set and agreed upon, but you know that is not at all what that time means. What you are really agreeing to is to meet at anything from half an hour to an hour and a half later (or sometimes even more!) than that set time. Everybody knows this. It was explained to me when I arrived in Mexico, but it is only now after two months, that I am really beginning to appreciate that this is exactly how time works in Mexico, with absolutely no exceptions. I even have friends whose students and fellow teachers, all arrive together to their 50 minutes lessons a full quarter of an hour late. Noone bats an eyelid, its like they all have this internal clock running on a slightly different more laid back setting.

It is completely socially acceptable or even expected, but I just can't bring myself to do it too. I know that I should leave the house later. I know that I shouldn't rush so much to be on time. I know that no one will be there when I arrive and I will have to wait on my own for at least a good 30 minutes. I just can't make myself arrive late, as there might be that one time that my friends arrive early and then they are the ones waiting for me..... and every fibre of my being baulks at the prospect that they will think I am a disorganized person and bad timekeeper. however, I guess for now I will just have to get used to it, at least I have learnt to always bring a good book wherever I go... so I don’t look like a complete loner waiting around with no friends!


Are people in your country generally punctual or is it normal to arrive late? 


hermione123's picture
hermione123 10 July, 2021 - 02:54

Most people thinks it's fine to be late. And honestly I hate that. Sometimes when my friends and I decide when to meet each other, they end up saying ....-ish or after finishing something or after something happens. But after finishing something and something happens is not clear at all. They're not being obvious. And it's difficult for me too. I'm trying to always be punctual. I get that some people think time is money, but it's hard too if they're not punctual.
Once, i went to school to meet my teacher. And they showed up almost 45 minutes late. i waited there doing nothing. it's such a real waste of time.

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MALINE's picture
MALINE 22 April, 2014 - 20:16

Well,sorry to disappoint you RoisinK but I´m Mexican and I´m always on time in fact I always arrive earlier that the time stablished and yes, some people is often late in fact I used to have problems about this topic with my friends but now they know they have to be on time,maybe I have English blood.
And next time please don´t generalized,thanks.

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dzeni's picture
dzeni 7 March, 2014 - 16:54

I don`t know. It depends on the character of the people. For example, at school. When student arrive late on lesson ( first lesson or after break ) some teachers are strict and angry. They start shout or throw out student from lesson. However, other teachers are different. They just want to know reason why is student late. Then they allow student attend the lesson.

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justcricketforme's picture
justcricketforme 23 November, 2013 - 02:51

They are late, the majority. I'm sometimes late. My father is very strict of timmings, one second and gooodness! He says Time is money, save it. There's one field in which I beat my Dad in punctuality that is cricket matches!!!!!! Not even a second or a millisecond is wasted.

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Natalija's picture
Natalija 5 November, 2013 - 13:31

It depends on people; some of them arrive late and some of them're punctual-there is no rules. I think that elder people're more punctual than teens, and I've noticed that so many of scholars arrive to school late. I think we should be punctual because as old proverb says-Time is money.
I really admire Japanese, Germans and Swiss for being so punctual.

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