When I was growing up, my family could never seem to manage their time. No matter where we went, there was never any shortage of racing through traffic, cursing in the parking lot while trying to find a spot, and running to reach our destination in time. By the time I reached high school, I’d started telling my mom that I needed leave for my orchestra concerts 10 minutes earlier than we actually needed to leave, so that way, we could arrive on time. But aside from that, we pretty much always continued to run late.
But now, as an adult, I’ve fallen into similar patterns. I’m a rusher. I’m a “dash-around-the house-trying-to-find-my-keys-or-shoes-and-slightly-losing-my-mind” rusher. Even if I tell myself that I should be ready at a certain time or that I should leave 10 or 15 minutes early, I still end up leaving the house slightly after Google Maps tells me to and hope that Google Maps overestimated its time of arrival or just doesn’t know how I drive. I watch the ETA as I gain minutes and curse when I lose the minutes once more after sitting through five consecutive red lights.
But in my opinion, I always arrive at my destination at a socially acceptable time — never too late, but never too early.
Unfortunately, though, this is a complete 180 from my partner, who is super adamant about being on time or even early. If they had their way, we’d be at least 20 minutes early to everything. So while my habitual lateness works just fine when I attend events without my partner, when I leave with my partner, I endured enough frustrating car rides and petty arguments to know that we had to compromise on our timing. Their anxiety about being late gave me anxiety about trying to meet their timeliness standards, so neither of us were happy, which could sometimes ruin the mood.
So what’s the secret to coping with the fact that you and your partner have different opinions about timing?
Compromise and alternate.
Yes, the almighty buzzword for every relationship: Compromise.
My partner and I decided to alternate who gets to pick our departure time depending on whose idea it is to attend the event. If the event is a family gathering at my aunt’s house, I choose when we get to leave. If it’s a holiday party at their boss’s house, they get to choose when we leave and how early we arrive. This plan works for us, and if you have different time management skills than your partner, it could work for you as well.
If your partner made the plans, then you need to accept that the timing is their choice. This is a good way to balance control in your relationship, too.
If you want your rides with your partner to be more hand-holding and car-dancing than grumpily staring out the window, try our time management compromise. I can almost guarantee that both you and your partner will be a lot happier and more accepting in the long run!