Modern life moves at a fair old pace – and you’d be forgiven for thinking most people have little patience for things that hold them up and get in their way.

We’ve conducted research at 888poker, looking at patience levels in the UK, and have found some fascinating things about what people are prepared to wait for compared to things they are most definitely not.

While 78% of the 2,000 adults surveyed believe they are at least somewhat patient in day-to-day life, it does depend on the situation. Overall, we claim to be a nation of patient people.

So, how does the data match up to that assumption?

How Patient Are People Around the UK? Data vs Assumptions
How Patient Are People Around the UK? Data vs Assumptions

Some key results at a glance:

  • Brits are relatively patient when waiting for food or drink – especially for a cuppa
  • We expect technology to work quickly and lose patience when it doesn’t
  • Drivers often lose their cool when they have to stop or slow down
  • We would rather queue in a shop than wait for someone to come and fix the self-checkout.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry?


We are internationally renowned for our love of a brew, and many Brits claim they can patiently wait when making a cup of tea. Nearly half of adults (49%) reported low impatience when waiting for the kettle to boil.

We can also wait quite calmly for food, with 42% of respondents reporting little to no impatience when waiting for the microwave to ding, and two-fifths staying cool when waiting for rice or pasta to boil.

Sitting around waiting for food to cool can also be a bugbear, yet 35% still report staying calm when their soup is too hot.

However, our tolerance is lower when it comes to getting food delivered. Some 70% of respondents get at least somewhat impatient if their takeaway is late being delivered. Only a fifth of people can wait more than 30 minutes after their expected delivery time before becoming ‘hangry.

A similar proportion can’t wait more than 15 minutes before frustration kicks in. Women are slightly more patient than men when it comes to food deliveries – only 15% of men report being able to wait more than 30 minutes, compared to 21% of women.

The Wonders and Wickedness of Technology


Generally, the British nation's biggest bugbear is technology not working when it’s meant to.

Slow speeds tend to top the list when it comes to impatience. A whopping 83% of people will get frustrated if a computer freezes, while around four-fifths of us report some level of impatience when a webpage is slow to load.

This impatience also carries over to other people using technology. Only 21% of survey respondents say they can stay calm when watching their parents type on their phones!

The younger people are, the more frustrated they can get with the older generation. Just under a third of those aged 25-34 found the slow use of tech by parents annoying, while only a quarter of those aged 45-54 were annoyed by this.

We expect friends and family to respond to a tug via electronic message ASAP. Approximately three-quarters of people reported becoming impatient when others are slow to respond to instant messaging, such as WhatsApp.

28% of us expect a response within no more than 15 minutes, with one out of every 100 respondents getting annoyed if the response isn’t instantaneous!

Road Calm or Road Rage?


There's a mixed picture for UK patience levels when it comes to driving on busy roads. A third of us can keep our cool when driving behind a learner or waiting for a traffic light to change when no one is crossing.

But being stuck on our way somewhere is a definite no-no. 76% of Brits can’t stand being trapped in standstill traffic.

Meanwhile, travelling on foot doesn’t mean that people are happy to wait around either. Four-fifths of people surveyed become annoyed and impatient when stuck walking behind dawdlers.

Going Shopping? Cue the Queue…

As a nation, we love to shop and are also renowned for being excellent at queueing. But how true is that when tested?

Well, true to form, our survey showed that people around the UK can indeed manage a physical queue relatively easily. A third of Brits reported zero impatience when they had to join a queue in a store, so our reputation is relatively intact.

Tallying with our insights on tech woes, the highest frustration when shopping comes from that often-dreaded invention – the self-checkout machine.

Many of us have experienced standing in a busy supermarket, with an electronic voice repeatedly telling us there is an “unexpected item in the bagging area” when we know for a fact that there isn’t!

Less than a fifth of people can stay calm in this type of situation, suggesting that reinventing how we pay for our items isn't necessarily great for our patience levels.

Public Nuisance and Positive Partners


Our survey also examined the people who wind us up the most and the people who help calm us down when our patience is tested.

Nearly a quarter of respondents have their patience tested by customer service, and 21% by the general public. Those close to us can also test our patience—almost a fifth reported feeling impatient with their partner and 12% with their children.

The good news is that most people DON'T get impatient with strangers or their nearest and dearest regularly, so that’s worth bearing in mind.

Partners also redeem themselves at the other end of the scale, with almost a quarter of respondents selecting their partners as the person most likely to calm them down when they’re experiencing stress.

A fifth of us also find ourselves to be the best person to calm ourselves down so at least we can go to another room and take a moment.

What Triggers Us?

Feeling tired or already being in a bad mood about something else were the top triggers for causing impatience (chosen by 44% and 43% of respondents respectively).

Meanwhile, over a quarter of people cite hunger as a factor in whether they can deal with a situation calmly.

Feeling unwell or lacking free time were also common triggers, with close to a third of all respondents blaming moments of impatience on those.

How Patience Pattern Varies – By Age and Place


Younger people consider themselves more tolerant than the older generation, with almost a third of the 25-34 age bracket claiming to be very patient. This statistic compares to just 17% of people aged 45-54.

Meanwhile, no one aged between 18 and 24 said they were not at all patient.

  • Regarding geography, London claims to be the most patient place in the UK, with 33% of people from the capital saying they are very patient.
  • People in the North-West, by contrast, claim to be the least patient, with only 18% stating they were very patient.
  • Wales has a higher-than-average number of people claiming to be very patient, but twice as many people as the national average claim to have no patience, so it depends on who you happen to meet!

Patience is a virtue, so they say. And there are undoubtedly times when it can pay off in the world of poker.

Poker players can be patient while waiting for those pocket aces or the ideal opportunity to bluff their way into a large pot. But they are also happy to adapt and make swift choices depending on the action.

Take a tip from the pros, sit back, relax, and wait for that kettle to boil.

Learn to master patience in your game with our expert guide, and find the rhythm of play that works best for you at 888poker.

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