Etiquette for How Long You Should Wait When Meeting Someone

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Woman in business suit looks on the hand of the clock close up

 My rule of thumb for how long you should wait for someone who is late is 25 to 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you can move on with your day or evening. At that point this is pretty much a no-show.

The length of time you should wait is no different for family or friends than it is for your boss or a professor. After 30 minutes, you are good to go with no apology.

There are people who are habitually late. They are being rude and disrespectful of other people’s time.

Sometimes the unavoidable happens. For instance recently I got trapped in my garage. Tropical Storm Collin had hit during the night. The electricity went out. I couldn’t get my garage door up so I was stuck and going to be late for a meeting. Of course, I had my cell phone in hand and was able to contact the person I was to meet.

To avoid keeping someone waiting and wondering, I suggest that you always exchange cell phone numbers with the person in case the unexpected occurs. And make sure your phone is sufficiently charged.

I also suggest that you contact the other person the day or the morning before you are to meet to confirm the time and the place.

Things do happen, but we can minimize the impact with a Plan B. It’s just good manners.  You can learn more about good manners with my book Manners That Sell.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,

4 thoughts on “Etiquette for How Long You Should Wait When Meeting Someone

  1. Greg Tamblyn

    As Franklin P Jones said, “The problem with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it.”
    That’s an amusing little story about the garage. Maybe there’s a blog post in it? “Stuff to do when you’re stuck in the garage in nice clothes.”


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