My old youth pastor used to say "reliability is your best ability" and it stuck with me because I think it's true. To this day, my biggest pet peeve is flaky people. I'm not talking about people who are always 10 minutes late (hey, at least they're consistent!); I'm talking about people who cancel plans last minute, who don't show up when they RSVP "yes" (THE WORST, especially because I'm an event planner!!) and people who just aren't there when you need them or don't follow through on a commitment.
Reliability is your best ability. You may be the most hard-working, positive, encouraging, amazing person with TONS of great qualities, but if nobody can count on you, then what good are those other qualities? I know, tough pill to swallow. Now I'm going to tell you a little story.
I can think of a couple times in my adult life when I was unreliable and both of them still make me cringe. One was a few years ago: it was Saturday night and I had two parties to attend that night- one backyard fire pit party and one gal pal's birthday party. I started the night with the fire pit party, which was a terrible decision because of course after being there for 5 minutes I smelled like a campfire and was disgusting. I was there for a little over an hour and knew that I needed to leave so I would have time to go home, shower, and make it to my girlfriend's small girls-only outing. Instead of leaving, I decided that I needed to tell everyone at the party about my dilemma; I asked people what I should do and if they thought my friend would be mad that I didn't go to her party, etc. (turns out that I was dumb and they weren't too smart either!).
Long story short, I stayed at the campfire party and didn't go to my friend's birthday (don't judge me.). I knew what I needed to do to be reliable, but I let having to wash my hair determine whether I was going to be a woman of my word or a flake. That night, I was a flake. I honestly don't think I've chosen to flake on anyone since that night because I was so disappointed in myself for that decision. Can we talk about how this night happened probably 5 years ago and I still remember it very clearly?! It's the only time I ever remember CHOOSING to bail on something I had committed to. The worst.
The other time I was unreliable was an accident about a month or so ago, and it also makes me cringe. I missed a lunch meeting. I just...missed it. It was written down in my planner but not in my phone; I was running errands that morning, hadn't looked at my schedule yet and was still in workout clothes (breaking all the rules from Tuesday's post about working from home!), and I just missed it. Someone had requested a meeting with me (our first time to meet ever) and we were supposed to meet for lunch. It was 10 minutes past our meeting time and she called me to see where I was; I couldn't believe it...I was across town in sweats and had actually just placed a phone order for a Torchy's taco to eat on the run. I apologized and asked her to reschedule. Long story short, we didn't reschedule and I'm sure she does not think very highly of me now. Ouch.
I do generally consider myself a very reliable person, and both of those situations could have easily been avoided. The first could have been avoided if I hadn't overcommitted myself or if I had just made a better choice! The second situation could have been avoided if I had been more aware of my schedule and kept an up to date calendar. Now I'm almost paranoid about my calendar being up to date and look at it every night before going to bed just to make sure I'm aware of everything going on the next day.
While I was thinking about being reliable and what I wanted to communicate in this post (essentially: be reliable), I started thinking about things that make people unreliable and how LATENESS is always part of this topic. I don't want "lateness" to be part of reliability because I'm a generally late person, so I had to do some additional research, of course. Over the years, I have come to realize that even though I can have my day scheduled out perfectly, I always end up being late to dinner and I think that it only takes 10 minutes to get anywhere in Dallas. I live in Dallas, where it can easily take 30 minutes or even 45 minutes to get somewhere that's only a few miles away. Through significant research (thanks, Google), I have found that most people assume that chronically late people are late because they are generally too optimistic about all of the activities that they can fit into their allotted time. YES, 100% yes. I don't think my time is more important than yours, I just think I can actually put on makeup a lot faster than what is reality. I'm literally thinking at this moment that it only takes me 20 minutes to shower and get dressed when in real life it takes me 20 minutes to put on moisturizer alone after a shower. This is a real mental struggle.
So, while writing this post about reliability, I took a left turn into "lateness" and fell deep into the interwebs researching why I'm late and how to stop. Then I found a very informative page about procrastinating, which of course, I stopped to read. Back to "lateness:" I was tempted to write a more in depth post about being late and how to stop, but then I found this article, Why I'm Always Late by Wait But Why, and it explains everything perfectly, with hilarious (hilarious!) graphics, to boot. Seriously go look at it just to see the pictures (does contain some inappropriate language- sorry!). No really, go read that article and then you will understand my brain.
I'll add a few things here...
I do know that things do come up and plans change, yes;
I do know how to give myself and others grace;
I used to let "maybe" RSVPs on Facebook drive me nuts, but now I just count them as a "no" and move on with my life- you should do the same;
if we go to lunch, I'm going to be late, but I'll text you to let you know I'm going to be late, then I'll text you to tell you that I just turned onto the street, and then again to tell you that I'm parking, and then again to tell you that I'm walking in;
we can't be friends if you are not a generally reliable person;
this is a lot of text to read, but hopefully somewhat helpful or informative or entertaining.