“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
-William Shakespeare

I never understood why it always tweaked my annoyance when someone was late. Obviously, there’s a lot of leeway given to people I don’t know very well, because people are entitled to their own lifestyles and I have no right to judge whether or not they value punctuality.
However, I’m talking about people who are supposedly “good friends” that are chronically late. Time after time, they stretch boundaries until I’m left with an assortment of excuses for the same habit. “I had to finish something”. “There was traffic”. “Something came up”. “I lost track of time”. Sure these are all reasonable excuses, but not when they’re used EVERY single time a meeting is arranged.
To some degree, it may be selfish to expect those around me to value punctuality as much as I do. I totally understand that freak circumstances can prevent people from being on time. On second thought, IS it that unreasonable to expect such a seemingly-simple thing from those you care about?:
“But the excuses only work a few times – and then the raw truth sets in. People learn not to take you seriously because, frankly, they feel that you don’t take them seriously. If you did, you would be there on time. People can see through the excuses, especially if these excuses are part of a repetitive pattern, and they resent being misled. Chronic tardiness affects not only the way others see you, but also the way in which see yourself. It compromises your integrity.”

(quoted excerpt from http://www.drfibus.com/punctuality-article.html ). That article has some other interesting bits on punctuality in the context of North American culture)