The worst part of being late for an appointment, work or date is that you have to come up with an actually credible story to justify your disregard for punctuality and of course, the other person’s carefully planned schedule that you have just messed up. Also, the story has to be concocted in such a manner that detracts from potential sanctions – be them pay cuts or sleeping on the couch for the rest of the week – while emphasizing the idea that you had no control over the circumstances. Either that or you can bite the bullet and present the situation in good humor, it’s basically your call.
However, before we begin, I want to underline on the importance of using a detailed and particular variant of the story, rather than the general lie that most bosses are already accustomed to. You should have plenty of time to invent something while you are busy being late!
1. I got stuck in traffic!
This is probably the simplest, yet least creative excuse for your lack of punctuality, but that does not mean you cannot build up from it. On a side note, before you apply the traffic excuse, be sure that the other person did not reach his/her destination via the same route or you’ll really get in trouble. The variants of the traffic story can include road repairs, accidents that blocked the traffic, unforeseen tailbacks, etc. If you’re going with the accident version, try to make a shocked face while you are depicting horrendously graphic details, it might just make the interlocutor sympathetic with your shock or sufficiently sickened to drop the questioning.
2. The alarm clock didn’t go off, but with a twist!
Sure, sure, the alarm didn’t go off. You turned it off and went back to sleep is more likely! However, we all know that power-outs related to storms have a tendency of resetting electrical appliances. Or even short-circuit them completely. So then, does the other person know how the weather was in your area last night? If not, then this is certainly an effective excuse.
3. Misplaced the car keys
In its generalist form – simply saying I couldn’t find the keys – this story should be utilized sparingly because it makes you appear careless and sloppy. Since that’s not the impression you want to leave on your boss because you’re hunting for a promotion, why not tell him an adorable story about how your 1 year old baby flushed them down the toilet? When you realized what happened, you immediately called an emergency locksmith service because you knew you had to be at work, come hell or high water! Of course, the baby excuse is probably not a good conversation starter on a first date, especially if you don’t want her to know you’re married.
4. Blame the public transportation poorly conceived infrastructure
The delays proprietary to public transportation can be a good explanation for being late, providing that you were not seen parking the car. If you don’t normally travel this way, then you will need a good story about how some reckless, no good punk who didn’t respect the traffic lights crashed into you and now your car is in the shop. Also, you should probably consider leaving by public transportation, as not to arouse suspicions.
5. My high ethical principles demanded I land a helping hand to someone in need
• Helped an old person change a flat tire
• Driven a pregnant woman to the hospital because she went into labor
• Valiantly stopped a thief who stole a woman’s purse