Shall I stress or enjoy waiting?

Student
July 5, 2023
Student
July 5, 2023

By Merle Smulders 

You are waiting for the bus, but suddenly the bus doesn’t show up. In fact, the next bus is also delayed by 15 minutes. I’m slowly starting to panic a bit and getting annoyed. When I look around, all I see are people who don’t care if the bus is delayed. In the Netherlands, everyone would immediately be angry with the driver and probably have sighed or cursed several times, but these people are still just as relaxed as before they saw this message appear on the board. I’m thinking; maybe this is just an unlucky day… Well, now I can say; it wasn’t. I’ve been here for almost a month now and I can say that I’ve experienced this several times. 

There had to be a reason why this difference in behavior could be so big between Dutch and Irish people. After looking at Hofstede’s dimensions and comparing the Netherlands and Ireland, I understood why those people around me cared less. This had to do with the Uncertainty Avoidance dimension. This dimension is about the extent to which people in a certain society feel threatened by uncertain/unknown situations and to what extent people try to avoid these situations. Uncertainty Avoidance is lower in Ireland (35) than in the Netherlands (53). This means that people in Ireland feel less threatened by uncertain/unfamiliar situations and try to avoid them less. This will also make the Irish people less stressed about these situations. 

I know about myself that I am someone who can get stressed quickly in uncertain/unknown situations. If I compare this with, for example, my friends, I know that there is a good chance that I will get stressed faster than other people. That’s why I think that I would score higher than the average Dutch person on this dimension (53). You can imagine that, especially during the first 2 weeks in Ireland, the ‘caring less thing’ was a big change for me and I really had to get used to this. 

We are now a while further and I can even say that those several ‘bus delayed experiences’ had a positive influence on me; I’m starting to see that stressing so quickly in an unfamiliar situation isn’t necessary, because I’ve experienced several times that it will work out in the end. As a result, I can even enjoy the time I spend here in Dublin even more, because I live life more with the motto: ‘It will be fine’. I think I’m even starting to enjoy living like the Irish . 

Now that I’m writing this blog, it sounds kind of weird, but who would have thought that the buses that didn’t show up or were way too late could somehow still have a positive influence on me? Believe it or not, they have. Advise from me to you to survive the Irish transport; let that delayed bus come to you without stressing, as the Irish do daily