Modern technology has helped us stay connected, reduce communication costs, and decreased wait times for responses. In many ways, these are incredible advances that have helped businesses, allowed more women to stay in the workforce while working from home, and facilitated the continuation of many long distance relationships. With all this gain, however, there is some loss, and increasingly what I see is a decreased amount of patience. Everyone seems to have developed an expectation for instant gratification with immediate responses. Unfortunately, life does not always work that way.

In boarding school, there were 16 girls in Junior House, and we all had to share one pay phone. There was no internet– no cell phones– no other way to communicate with the outside world except by taking turns and sharing that one phone or sitting down and writing a letter. For 10 years, the only form of communication I had with my penpal from Spain was letters– until finally technology crept into our relationship, and now we can use Facebook, Skype and email, which is all great, but I have to admit I miss those letters.

It took years to earn my degrees and build my legal career, and as everyone knows it took me 38 years to connect with my dad, and my brother had to wait 27 years to have me in his life. Only now is my son finally appreciating all the work that went into helping him become the person he is today. None of these endeavors were achieved instantly, and that is part of what makes them so special. Yet in this modern era, I definitely worry about our ability to instill this appreciation for delayed gratification in our children. At least when it comes to teaching adults in either your professional or personal life are concerned, you only need to remember one word: boundaries.

While patience may be a dying virtue, it is completely within your control to set a pace that works for you in each relationship. Those into instant gratification tend to have high expectations that are impossible to meet and will only drive you crazy. Avoid the insanity– the earlier the better.