How to Deal With the Impatient

Updated April 17, 2017

People become impatient for a number of valid reasons. Unfortunately there are also some people who seem to make impatience a constant behaviour, just to be aggravating. If you need to interact with someone who is impatient, there are a number of strategies you can employ to improve communications. Impatience often comes with interpersonal misunderstandings that can quickly turn into frustration and even anger.

Paraphrase the behaviours the impatient person is demonstrating. Use the classic formula: State the behaviour, your personal reaction to their behaviour, and a specific request for change. For example: "When you cut me off as I am trying to explain my point of view, it frustrates me and our progress is negatively impacted. Please give me the time I need to explain."

Challenge the selfishness that often comes with impatience. You can address the issue directly by challenging the person's inflexibility or inability to deal with the issue at hand. Request that she take on your perspective before disregarding you.

Determine external sources for the person's impatience. There are often outside sources of frustration driving the person to be impatient. You may simply be the focal point of outside frustration. Ask the person if something is bugging him. Addressing the external frustration can help him snap out of his prickly mood.

Assert yourself. The impatience the other person is feeling is real, whether it is fair or not. Stand up for your perspective and if the person wants to move onto another topic, consistently restate your point. A bit of stubborn assertion will help make your point.

Discuss the issue with trusted friends and/or colleagues. There may be others who have experienced the impatience of this person. They may have additional strategies to improve communications or at the very least can verify your concerns.

Show empathy. It may seem odd to be empathetic to someone who is being impatient, but it may be the trick that relaxes the situation. If the person senses that you understand her frustration, she may ease off a bit.


Everyone gets frustrated, including you. Try to remember the last time you were impatient with someone and how that impacted you. By reversing your perspective, you may gain new insight.


If you choose to discuss solutions for dealing with the impatient person with others, be careful that the conversation is confidential. Impatient people often demonstrate arrogance and anger. If you sense things are escalating, remove yourself from the discussion. You will gain nothing by turning impatience into a yelling match or worse.

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About the Author

Leo Sevigny has been presenting, consulting and writing about personal, career and organizational development since 1998. He is the published coauthor of "The Personal Vision Workbook" (Delmar Learning). Sevigny holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Johnson State College, a Master of Science in education from Syracuse University and is employed as an Employee Development Specialist at a fortune-100 company.