Is impatience the new patience?

The British have long been admired for their patience, but with the world moving faster and faster everyday, is patience on its way out? 

New research, commissioned by TalkTalk, suggests that the internet is to blame for increasing levels of impatience amongst Brits.  Thanks to the time we spend online, our expectations of speed and convenience are now such that more than 7 in 10 people get angry if they have to wait more than a minute for a webpage to load.

This impatience spreads to the offline world as well.  When waiting on hold on the phone or waiting for the kettle to boil, our patience wears thin just after the five minute mark.  We start checking our watches and looking expectantly towards the kitchen in a restaurant just eight minutes and 38 seconds after ordering food.  We’re only willing to cut our friends about ten minutes of slack if they’re late to meet us and a tradesman can forget the free cuppa if he shows up more than ten minutes and 43 seconds late. 

While it’s a bit disappointing to hear that good, old-fashioned patience may be dying second by second, I can’t say I’d be sorry to see it go in all cases.  After all, expressing a little collective impatience at the post office might get them to open more than two counters at any given time.  And, instead of wasting those five minutes on hold, we could have our query answered immediately and then, in turn, get more, er, work done.  Perhaps that’s just the impatient American in me speaking.  But then again, if this is anything to go by, impatience sure looks like a lot of fun.

What do you think – is impatience the new patience?

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