Dealing with rude people can be extremely stressful, especially when unprovoked. Often there is a reason for the offender’s outburst, but without explanation, it can leave the offendee – well, offended.
Almost all jobs require a certain level of customer service, whether it be internal or external customers. At my previous place of employment I found myself often dealing with customers who were upset due to unkept promises or just outright poor service. I worked in the corporate office and actual business took place at the branch, and even though the problem wasn’t generated by me, as a representative of the company – all problems that came across my desk became MY problem.
What I learned without ever having to be taught, is that the first thing you do when some has a problem is listen. Then you repeat their problem back to them so that both of you understand the problem, then you apologize for the problem. THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID APOLOGIZE.
But wait you say, I didn’t create the problem, so why should I apologize? Well it’s called empathy. When your child falls down and hurts themselves on their bike, and they come running to tell you their problem, do you say “So what, I didn’t cause the problem, what do I care?” Well, do you? No, you say (assuming you aren’t some monster) “Oh, I’m sorry honey. Where did you hurt yourself? Let me see your ooowwweee – will a kiss make it feel better?” Why? Because you feel bad that they are unhappy.
The same message that applies to customer service also applies to plain old human interaction.
I have noticed a seriously disturbing trend in the world – and this is especially true of electronic communication. It’s perversely easy to misinterpret someone through the written word. Especially if you don’t know them outside of the pixel realm. Intimation, inference and the nuance of voice and body language are difficult to convey in writing – even for the best writers.
Are some people rude, or are they being blunt? Can you identify the “rude” statement from the “blunt” statement below?
Can you help me with this problem I am having?
“Actually, I have a deadline right now and I won’t be able to help you until tomorrow, can it wait?”
“You clearly aren’t doing something right. I guess I will stop what I am doing to help you with your problem.”
Could you tell the difference? Was it truly subtle? I don’t think it’s subtle, rudeness is crystal clear, but some people don’t have the capacity to see how their behavior affects others. Their EQ is really low.
Maybe our inroads in technology are leading us further and further away from truly communicating with one another. Could this explain why when someone bumps me from behind with their grocery cart they scowl, rather than saying “excuse me”? I find myself growing ever more reluctant to make new friends and create new relationships with people because I can’t deal with their inability to just plain be polite.
If you have a problem, should I respond with “Them’s the breaks buddy, now take your effing problem to someone who gives a crap?” Or should I say, “Awww, what’s the problem honey? Would a kiss make it all better?”
Well, you get my point.
Now go out and be polite to someone before I flip you the bird.