Express Yourself

About anything and everything on the planet

February 22, 2010

Attention Rude People!

My parents brought me up with many values, but who stick out in my mind the most: there’s no need to be rude to people, and treat other people the way you’d like to be treated. I grew up learning to be polite (not to be confused with being a doormat; I stick up for myself but I’m not rude about it) and being mindful of the feelings of others. It wasn’t always easy, but it taught me about manners, empathy, and thinking before you speak. Nothing complicated there.

These days, however, I find myself constantly bombarded with people’s ill-manners and inability to be decent human beings. The receptionist at my doctor’s office, Lucy*, is an example of this. Background information: I have been going to the same doctor for 10 years, and Lucy has always seemed to have it in for me. I go for B12 injections every two weeks – no appointment necessary, just walk in and wait; the doctor does shots between patients. I always call ahead to make sure it’s an ok time, after one time I showed up while she was doing an annual physical and I wanted over 30 minutes. Here’s the phone conversation I had with Lucy today:

Lucy: Doctor’s office.

Me: Hi, I was wondering if Doctor Awesome was in today? I’d like to come get my shot.

Lucy: Doctor Awesome is always in on Wednesdays.

Me: *pause* Ok, well is she in the middle of a bunch of long appointments or is it an ok time to come? If she’s busy I’ll come another day instead.

Lucy: She’s always busy – you should know that by now.

Me: *pause* Er – ok. Thank you.

Lucy: *click*

Wow. I felt like I’d been slapped in the face, over the phone, for no real reason. Yes, maybe Lucy was busy, and annoyed that I’d asked her what I did. News flash: If you don’t want to answer questions, don’t work in reception.

I used to work reception too, and I Had my fair share (and then some) of tough customers. However, I was getting paid to deal with them in a professional manner, so I smiled (even when answering the phone – they can hear it in your voice) and treated everyone with respect, no matter what the question or problem. The only time I was ever even slightly rude to a caller whas when a woman unleashed a screaming string of profanity at me because the person she needed tot alk to was out of the office. I simply told her that I wasn’t able to help her due to her verbal assault, and invited her to call back when she was feeling calm, and hung up. I didn’t call her names, get in an argument, or treat her badly.

I’m not just picking on receptionists, though; Lucy and her perpetual attitude are just an example. We’ve come to live in a “me-me-me” society, where people are unable or unwilling to take a moment to look around them, maybe notice that other people exist too. They push their way onto the subway, or through the doors at the mall. They order using “I want” instead of “may I have” in restaurants, and don’t say “thank you” when the food arrives. They talk loudly on their cell phones in waiting rooms, movie theatres and line-ups at the store. They swear freely for all to hear. They bump and grab and shove and interrupt and walk with blinders on. They overtake the elderly on the escalators, not apologising when they hit them with their backpacks. They walk around with blinders on their eyes and a sense of entitlement written on their smirky faces.

I’m sick of it; it’s time for changes! Try to spread some joy and friendliness to those around you. Sharing an elevator with a stranger? Wish them a good day as you get off, or make a small comment about the weather. Hold the door open for the person behind you; hopefully they will say “thank you,” and you can then say “you’re welcome.” Smile when you talk with people, whether a coworkers, a client, or your morning barista. We spread hatred so easily; let’s try happiness instead.

To those who are guilty of rude behaviours: I feel sorry for you, that your life is so boring/depressing/empty/disappointing that you have to take it out on those around you. I think it’s very sad that you either can’t or won’t take a moment to be polite; do you really think you’re that important? Treat others as you’d like to be treated in return: with dignity, respect, and grace. There’s no need to be rude.

Similar Posts:

Post a Comment