Uffda. Had one of those conversations with a couple of customer service representatives today that forced me to do some hefty self-talk afterwards. The self-talk of, “Just because I disagreed, doesn’t mean that I’m a conflictual person.” And, “I don’t have anything to feel bad about, even though we didn’t come to a solution.”
It reminded me all over again of the immense power of kindness and empathy. I get that customer service jobs can be largely awful, but a little bit of understanding on their part would have gone a long way for me today. Even just a little validation, can be so helpful. (I, in fact, heard myself say on a few occasions on the call, “I understand your point, however I think that’s beside the issue here.” I was tryingreally hard to maintain diplomacy, even though I thought their response was ludicrous.)
Anyway, lest this become a rant akin to 80% of Yelp, I’ll reign things in.
Basically, I was reminded of how my ideals on kindness mean very little if I can’t put them into practice for a 15 minute phone call with a customer service representative. Or with the employee at the DMV. Or in a conversation with my husband. Or in the comments section of a Facebook post.
I tend to love BIG, WORLD-CHANGING, NOBLE ideas, theologies, and rhetoric.
Which, in my opinion, don’t hold much weight if you don’t treat the stranger on the other end of the phone line like a person.
Recently someone made a fairly cruel comment to me (off-handed, and hopefully unintentional), and I found myself pretty much tuning them out for the remainder of the time I was with them. I felt like their words lost credibility with me, on account of their biting remark towards me. This is perhaps the main reason I don’t give a rat’s patooty what Mr. Trump is saying these days – his words became silent for me long ago, when it was very clear that he didn’t even know how to be kind.
Now, obviously, people make mistakes and we all put our foot in our mouths on occasion, so I’m not advocating for eternally dismissing anyone who has a slip of the tongue. But, I am reflecting on the fact that if I really want to be credible, I should start with words laced in kindness.
So. Deep breathes over here. (Which are good not only for the oxygen that they bring to your vital organs, but also in that they allow me some time to think before I speak, and maybe even send up a prayer of gratitude for all you amazingly patient people working in customer service.)