About being on time


 Better three hours too soon than a minute too late. (William Shakespeare)

Here in Mexico people tend to be late, and it is usually not a big deal. It is part of our culture. But in the United States, people place a high value on punctuality. In this article, we will tell you why you should make an extra effort to be on time every time.

relojShowing up earlier

When you make plan with someone, be there at the time you said you would, and if you could arrive 3-5 minutes earlier, that would be even better. Arriving earlier shows the other person that you are actually looking forward to spending time with him/her.

How much time is acceptable to be late?

You can be 5-10 minutes late, but more that that will be considered very rude. If you do not show up at all, it is called “standing someone up”, and the person you are standing up might never want to arrange another plan with you again.

Why is punctuality so important?

Americans will do everything on their hands to be on time and show commitment. That is why you would be rude if you showed up late. For example, if someone called them on the phone, they would tell that person that they can only talk for a few minutes because they have an arrangement. The other person would totally understand and would agree to call them later.

Valid and invalid excuses

Transportation problems are part of the valid excuses: your car breaking down, being stuck in traffic, missing the bus, not being able to get a cab, etc. Some other reason would include: death of a family member, an accident, being ill or not having child care. Invalid excuses include reasons such as: you were doing another thing, you were talking on the phone, you did not wake up on time, you were watching TV, etc.

What to do if you are running late?

You should call the other person as soon as you know you are going to be late. Let them know why (and have actually a good reason that you could not have foreseen), apologize as much as you can, and then ask if they are willing to meet later or do something else some other time. This will help you to not be as rude as you would be if you did not show up at all, or showed up late.

You can try the following lines to initiate the conversation:

“I am really sorry. I feel terrible about this. I really apologize and I hope you can forgive me. This is what happened…”

If you are used to being late constantly…

Being late constantly is a serious issue for Americans. If you are one of those people who is usually late, you will eventually get a bad reputation as someone who does not keep his/her word. You will be considered as someone who cannot be trusted, and this will affect your relationships with people; they might not want to be your friend, or do business with you.

So, always remember: be on time! Even if you are Mexican and being late is part of our culture, do everything you can to be on time and leave behind that bad habit of being late. Americans will appreciate it.

Have you had any bad experiences with being late? How do manage to be on time? Let us know in the comments and may you always be on time.

Greetings and body language

We have all been involved in an awkward greeting situation at least once. You were going to give a handshake, and the other person was ready to hug you; then your hand got stuck between both of you during the hug. Sure, it was uncomfortable. But it does not always have to be like that.

In this entry we are going to talk about greetings and body language. When we greet someone, the greeting usually comes accompanied by some gesture such as a handshake or a hug. This article will help you avoid future awkward greetings.

Greetings in the United States tend to be informal. This does not mean there is a lack of respect, but it is rather done to show that everyone is equal.

The handshake

The handshake is expected to happen in business situations. At social events, Americans will often just greet with a simple “Hey” or “Hello”, or any other greeting. Also, when you introduce yourself to someone, you should stand up and start by saying your name followed by a handshake. The handshake must be short and have a firm grip.

Cheek kissing

Greeting with a kiss is very common in Mexico. It is appropriate among family members and friends, but in the United States cheek kissing is not as widespread. When it does occur, it is more of a romantic gesture, or it happens between adults and young children who are relatives. It might also occur between a man and a woman who are close friends. This type of kiss is short.


As well as kissing, hugging in the United States is less common, and it usually occurs between people who already know each other and share a close relationship. It is not required, but it happens.

Eye contact

Eye contact is very important. In some cultures, for example the Japanese, eye contact is considered rude, but in the United States, it is used to convey interest and attention. It is also common to smile to each other during the greeting. When someone smiles at you, make sure you return the smile back.

We recommend you try to experiment with the different greeting and be open to any greeting you might encounter. Do not be afraid and remember to be always polite.

Have you had any awkward greeting experiences? Have you been successful at greeting people? Let us know in the comments.