I’m a very impatient person, and standing in a slow-moving line drives me crazy. So, I set out to understand the psychology behind my frustration.
In my quest, I happened to read a paper by David Maister, The Psychology of Waiting Lines (PDF). The piece is aimed at people who operate stores, restaurants, doctors’ offices, and other places where people fuss about being kept waiting.
Of course, most of us are the ones standing in line, not the ones controlling the line. But I was fascinated by the insight this paper provided into my own psychology of waiting.
Maister’s main point is that the actual time we’re waiting may have little to do with how long the wait feels.
Here’s a list of eight factors that make waits seem longer.