The psychology of waiting is the study of how people perceive and react to waiting. It is a complex topic, with many factors that can influence how we experience waiting.
Some of these factors include:
The length of the wait
The longer the wait, the more likely we are to experience negative emotions such as boredom, frustration, and anger.
The uncertainty of the wait
If we don’t know how long we will have to wait, we are more likely to experience negative emotions.
The perceived fairness of the wait
If we feel that we are being treated unfairly, we are more likely to experience negative emotions.
Our personal preferences
Some people are more patient than others, and some people are more sensitive to waiting than others.
Helping people to wait well
Several things can be done to make waiting more bearable. These include:
Providing information about the length of the wait
This can help to reduce uncertainty and anxiety.
This can help to pass the time and make the wait feel shorter. Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
Making the waiting area comfortable
This can help to reduce stress and make the wait more pleasant.
Treating customers with respect
This can help to reduce frustration and anger.
3 bonus tips to help people wait well
People want to get started, even if this is just looking at a menu while they wait to be served in a restaurant.
The more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait but they won’t wait forever.
Waiting alone feels longer than waiting in a group or having someone to talk to.