Do You Get Frustrated in Meetings? Maybe There’s a Simple Fix.


Why many of us lose our cool in meetings has less to do with the content brought up, and more to do with the context we brought to the meeting.

 “Yeah, that’s just immaturity.”

For most men, to hear their wife say that about them would be depressing. In my case, it was liberating.

Have you ever had “one of those” meetings at the end of your day? You come home and even though your body left the meeting, your mind never did. The smell of it lingers on you like the coffee bean aroma after leaving Starbucks.

I came home one day with just such a meeting still rattling around in my head. My perceptive wife asked about it. She listened as I described how this otherwise pleasant conversation quickly turned south. It devolved into a back-and-forth exchange that was neither beneficial nor productive.

One of the frustrations I shared with her was my frustration at becoming frustrated! Something said in the meeting irritated me, and I just couldn’t shake it. As the meeting wore on, my frustration showed, and nobody enjoyed the ensuing 20 minutes.

The questions I asked myself, and my wife, included:

  • Why do I let things bother me to the point of frustration?
  • Am I too easily offended?
  • When I become frustrated, why does everyone in the room know it?

My wife thought for a moment, then said, “Yeah, that’s just immaturity.”

She was so friendly and casual. It was how she might’ve said, “Oh honey, tonight we’re having meatloaf.” Pragmatic, to the point, even polite.

At other seasons in our marriage, that statement might’ve sent me to the moon (incidentally, proving her point). But this day, it didn’t. She was dead on.

Now, did the issue raised in the meeting need to be unpacked and resolved? Yes, it did.

However, did my frustration level help accomplish that? No, it did not.

More importantly, had I walked into the meeting, harboring past frustrations that caused me to have a quick trigger. Yes, I had.

Was that a good thing? No, it was not.

This is why many of us lose our cool in meetings. It has less to do with the content brought up in the meeting; and, more to do with the context we brought to the meeting.

And, it’s meetings of all kinds. Whether they’re about the sales forecast, church budget, or where we’ll take our family vacation. We walk into the room with the mental equivalent of a pile of kindling soaked in lighter fluid. All it takes is a spark.

Why do we do this? There can be several reasons. For some individuals, they are burdened with deep issues regarding loss of trust or significant pain inflicted by another person. These situations can justify varying levels of appropriate caution.

However, those are the exceptions. For most of us, in most situations, it’s just immaturity. We need to grow up.

Now, would you please pass the meatloaf?

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