12 of the best excuses for when you’re running late.

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Sometimes, no matter how hard you plan, your favourite song comes on the radio and you must simply spend the next 4 minutes and 32 seconds in your car harmonising with Beyoncé (or something similar), thus making you late to your next appointment.

Given telling the truth probably won’t fly with the executive management team, here are a number of excuses you might wish to draw inspiration from, to get you out of a “So why are you late?” bind…

1. “I had the weirdest dream the other night…”

Start your explanation off with this and (truth bomb alert) I guarantee anything that follows won’t matter… they’ll have already tuned out.


They've probably already tuned out. Image:

2. Flat tire.

We all know that misfortunes happen from time to time, and while this excuse might seem like the oldest in the book, you’ve just got to update it for 2016: come into the office in full cycling lycra, and explain that your bike had an unfortunate incident with something sharp on the road.

Your colleges will actually congratulate you on getting in some early morning exercise rather than berate you for being late.

3. Daily news.

If you’re late to work, do a Google news search for your industry and come equipped with the latest tidbit (“Sorry, I was just catching up on the latest about _____.”) Running behind to a friend’s catch up – search for news on an admired celebrity. “You’ve got goss on Gabriel Macht? No worries, take your time!”

4. Nits.

If you’ve got kids – this one is yours – “The kids brought home nits, I was just ensuring I didn’t have any after I washed their hair out this morning.” Your colleagues/friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness.


The nits excuse: believable AND considerate. Image: iStock.

5. Naps.

If you’re late to someone who has a toddler – mention “nap time drama” – and all will be understood and forgiven. This obviously only works if you’ve got a child.

6. Toileting Mishaps.

Again – a child is handy for this excuse. It could be a poo explosion (plausible to any fellow parent) or the placing of car keys in the toilet bowl (also plausible). Choose your own adventure.

7. Animal Traffic.

True stories – a friend of mine got stuck in a mustering effort – with a cow refusing to stop head-butting their bumper bar and move on. Another friend was trapped in a sheepherding event (kind of like a weather event), and that same friend has also had to wait for an echidna and a koala (separate incidents – they weren’t friends) to cross the road. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you.


Umm, excuse me. Image: iStock.

8. Cats doing inappropriate things.

A friend’s neighbour’s cat made its way into her car – she realised three quarters of the way to her destination, and had to turn around and go back. Another friend’s sister brought in a stray cat that proceeded to have a surprise litter on his folded clothes pile. Conclusion: cats are weird, so use this to your advantage.

9. Shoe change.

I’ve had days where things have gotten so busy that I’ve left the house in my ugg boots, gotten half-way to work only to realise what’s happened, then had to turn around and put proper shoes on. If your boss is a mum, she’ll understand.

 10. “Coffee line was so long”.

Turn up with your colleague’s/friend’s favourite coffee, explaining the line was “soooooooo long”. Works best if you’re not meeting at a coffee shop.


'They forgot my order. On my way'. Image: Pexels.

11. Navigating device mishap.

I don’t know about you, but my something that rhymes with ‘moogle gaps’ often gets me ‘lost’ and I end up at an ice-cream shop any time I get in the car. If it can make such consistent mistakes with me, I’m sure it could direct you incorrectly also.

12. Honesty.

“Sorry I’m late, I’ve been flat out with work and the baby wasn’t sleeping last night, and today I just dropped the ball. It won’t happen again. Or at least not tomorrow.”

What's your go-to excuse?