How to Deal With Frustrating People
How to Cope With Impatient People
Being around an impatient person can make you feel like you are walking in a field of landmines. What’s more, people with little patience often inspire you to lose your own. No matter what you do, you are bound to encounter an impatient person in your work, school, or in a personal relationship. Learn how to react to impatience and not let it get the best of you.
If you're dealing with an impatient person at work, try creating a mutually-agreed-upon schedule so they will get what they need when they need it. To deal with an impatient partner, talk to them about their impatience and create a plan moving forward. No matter who you’re dealing with, use “I” statements and tell them how the impatience affects you. If their impatience is stressing you out, take a walk or talk to a friend so you can let off some steam.For more tips from our reviewer, including how to not get angry in the moment, read on!
Responding to Reoccurring Impatience
Anticipate impatience at work.When you encounter impatience from a boss or coworker it can actually negatively impact your performance.If you know that you are going to be dealing with someone who is impatient, try to prioritize the work so that you can alleviate distress on both accounts.
- How you respond to impatience in everyday life will generally depend on your relationship with the impatient individual. Be proactive about handling impatience based on your relationship with the offending person.
- For example, if you know your boss gets really fussy about reports being turned in at the last minute, push aside other work to have your report turned in early.
- If you are unable to prioritize helping the impatient person, try to work out a schedule with the individual that meets both your needs. Let him or her know that you see the anxiety and would like to find a solution. Once a schedule has been agreed upon, be sure to stick to it to minimize impatience in the future.
Talk to your partner about how impatience affects you.In the case of a romantic relationship, you may have more freedom to express your thoughts and feelings about impatience. "I" statements work well here, also.
- Plan a time to sit down with your partner and discuss the source of impatience. Does your boyfriend get impatient because you take too long to get ready for dates? Does your wife grow impatient when you can't make up your mind on what you want for dinner? Both individuals should try to express the issue to their partners. "I feel anxious when you are impatient with me. What can I do to minimize you feeling this way?"
- Next, try to devise a solution that takes both individuals into account. For example, maybe the boyfriend can arrive a few minutes late to pick up his girlfriend to allow her a few minutes extra to dress. Or, she can get the basics done and finish her makeup or hair in the car.
Develop a system to overcome impatience in children.If you frequently notice impatience in your children or teens, come up with practical ways to manage their impatience while also preventing yourself from becoming irritable or frustrated. Again, this will require a mindful evaluation of the problem or a discussion with the individual to see what strategies may work.
- For a small child that becomes impatient when you are busy or preoccupied, you may be able to provide a toy, activity, or snack to temporarily distract until you are capable of attending to his or her needs.
- For a teen, the solution will depend on the context. Say your teen gets impatient when she has to wait on you to finish a phone call. You can ask her to write down what she needs and prepare her thoughts on the subject while you finish the call. If your teenage son gets impatient because his soccer uniform isn't being washed in a timely fashion, he can give you a head's up when he will need it so you can wash it promptly. Alternatively, you can teach him to do his own laundry. Or, you can purchase two uniforms so that one is always clean.
Reacting in the Moment
Make "I" statements when talking to an impatient person.To alleviate some of his or her impatience, mind your language. Explaining how the impatience affects you should be done with the goal of finding a solution and not just causing trouble or pointing the finger. This is not a time to start a fight, but to build on a supportive relationship and talk about what is really going on. Use an "I" statement to express your feelings without causing blame.
- For example, you might say "I get overwhelmed when you rush me with my work. This project will take a few hours. Can you hold off on checking in until tomorrow?"
- Be sure to comment on the behavior as the issue, not the person. Because you know this person well you want to focus on the short-term behavior while maintaining the positive side of your day-to-day relationship. Don’t stir the pot, instead confront the immediate problem and move on.
Avoid saying “take it easy” or “calm down”.Becoming impatient can be a sign of an underlying issue, so avoid making comments that would minimize what is really going on. An impatient person can be under stress, feeling isolated, reacting to an unexpected delay or a host of other feelings. Dismissing the person's feelings with a “take it easy” or “calm down” may trigger a bigger reaction.
- Focus on words that acknowledge the behavior and does not try to downplay the reaction. For example, if the person appears angry about having to wait, you might start with “You appear angry (or stressed, tired, upset, etc.), what can I do to help?”. This starts a conversation and avoids more conflict.
Ask how you can help the person.Instead of making a bigger problem out of someone being impatient, asking to help in a genuine way gives the person a chance to be heard. This tells the person that you are open to talking about it and that you would like to find a way to address his or her needs.
- Even if you can’t immediately give impatient people what they are asking for, giving them a timeline or an update can often soothe their discomfort for the time being.
Protect yourself from an angry response.Sometimes, another person's impatience can provoke an angry response within you. Know that getting angry in response to another person's anger or irritation will only make matters worse. Try one of these strategies to de-escalate your anger before the situation gets out of hand.
- Practice deep breathing. Inhale air through your mouth for 4 counts. Hold the breath for 7 counts and then slowly exhale for 8 counts. Repeat this until you regain your composure.
- Ask the person for a break. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts and calm yourself down. Call a friend or take a quick walk. Then, come back to sort out the issue once you have cooled off.
- Find a mediator. Some people are just hard to work with. Look for a superior or other individual who can mediate a discussion between you and the impatient person. This prevents you from getting wound up. The impartial person can help sort out the problem without being emotionally involved.
Ignore the behavior and continue as you were.Some people are just naturally impatient. It’s part of who they are. If you know the person is often impatient, there may not be much you can do about it beyond ignoring it. If you take it personally instead of just accepting it, you are fighting a losing battle. Recognizing that a boss, co-worker or even an personal acquaintance tends to be a bit impatient in general will help you to understand that you shouldn't take it personal.
- Ignoring is a great approach for people you do not see on a regular basis or only know in passing. If there isn’t an ongoing relationship, it might just be a waste of time to focus too much time on the behavior.
Holding Up the Mirror
Think about how you may have contributed to the impatience.Sometimes, people demonstrate their worst traits around us because we unwittingly provoke them. Are you always turning in assignments late or asking for additional time? Your own “I’ve got all the time in the world”, laid-back attitude could be contributing to this person’s edginess. Do you need to change?
- While your laid-back approach to life may be a part of your charm, it can be frustrating for co-workers or friends who are depending on you.
- It might be time to think about how you can work on being more mindful of their needs as well. This can be as simple as opening up better lines of communication so they know you are open to change.
Consider your own undesirable traits.We all have tendencies that may seem annoying to others. Just as you hope those around you accept you for you, the same is true for accepting the best and worst of those around you.
- You may have to get used to people getting impatient if communication isn’t your strong point. A big part of becoming impatient is often the unknown, so if you find those around you becoming a little short it might be useful to figure out why this is happening to you specifically.
- If you find in the work place or at home there are certain people who are almost always impatient with you, try asking them for feedback about what makes this happen. If they see you as being disorganized for example, ask them for feedback to take small steps to change that. This can go a long way to not only change your behavior but also tells them you are open to doing better.
Strive for empathy.Empathy really means stepping into the other person’s shoes to see how they might view the situation. Instead of having an emotional response about their impatience, stop to think about where it could be coming from and consider the other person’s role in the task or situation.
- A big part of empathy can be tied to clearly understanding how your part of the assignment or task at hand affects others. For example, if your coworkers have to wait for your part of a report to start theirs, it might make sense that they are impatient if they do not know where the report stands.
Refrain from letting impatience affect you.This works best for people that fall into two groups, either you only see them on a rare occasion or you know them well enough to know their impatience is temporary and not tied to your actions. If you have a family member who is going through outside stress, he or she may just be a bit more impatient overall and that can probably be ignored. Picking your battles will allow you to focus on the task that needs to be finished and overall will end the conflict. You can’t focus on the task if you are always fighting a losing battle.
- Count to 100 silently. This forces you to focus on nothing beyond counting and slowing your heart rate to a more relaxed rate.
- Practice regular self-care. Your self-care will depend on what makes you relaxed and centered. Some people enjoy a good, hard workout to rejuvenate while others like the quiet time with a good book or meditation.
Recognize how today’s fast-paced society reinforces impatience.We live in a world that moves at the speed of light and expect almost immediate access to most things on demand. The internet puts so much information at the tips of our fingers we can forget that people need time to work, prepare reports and process information. We are not machines, and building the human factor into life is important.
See the connection between impatience, anger and health.Too much stress and be damaging to your own health and the health of those around you. Strive to find ways to avoid this stress when it is unneeded and not productive.
- Stress can be a cause of impatience. Addressing the overall stress of a given situation can improve the environment for everyone involved and make it safer for your overall health.
- Instead of arguing over the obvious impatience, look at the long term stress as something that can be changed.
Learn from others’ impatience.Impatience is a sign of being caught up in the future rather than the present moment. Witnessing others’ impatience can remind us to be mindful. It can also remind us that our actions affect others, take others impatience as a call to action if needed.
QuestionHow do I treat my impatient father?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRemind him that you are human and sometimes you aren't as quick as he or you would like, but you are doing your best. (Say this really sincerely and sweetly, and it should do the trick.)Thanks!
QuestionI have ADHD and can't read social cues at all. I am also terrible at empathizing and don't know how to deal with my impatient mother. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMothers who are impatient are usually frustrated & stressed out. Perhaps if you could change how you react to her, that will help you to handle her impatience. Don't be so quick to take things personally when your mom is acting this way, she's likely upset about many things that are unresolved in her own mind. In a calm moment, when neither of you are upset, ask her what you can do when she is feeling impatient or stressed. She may not realize she's affecting you this way.Thanks!
- Try to talk in the nicest way; if you don't, it will make them more impatient.
- If the situation is getting tense between you two, then seek a mediator.
- Don't let impatient people ruffle you. Most of it is just show, reflecting pent-up anger or poor planning on their behalf. They don't have the right to boss others around or be rude, just because they can't get their own way by shoving or being in front of everybody else in life.
- The problem lies with them and you have every right to let them know.
Sources and Citations
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