The way you make me feel.

Last week, I rang a business I had never called before, looking to enlist their services. The lady on the phone was a little abrupt and then, straight after she had asked a relevant question and I had begun to answer, it became clear to me that she wasn’t listening. And then it became abundantly clear when she started talking to someone else and I could hear him answering her, you know, like a proper conversation. A bit like the one she should have been having with me.

I stopped talking and waited for her to finish this other conversation that was obviously far more important than procuring my new business. I ended the conversation fairly shortly after that.

Funnily enough, I don’t think I’ll use this particular company.

Now, of course, we could talk about customer service (or lack thereof) but what it made me start to wonder is why? Why did it put me off so quickly? Why does that mean I’ll not be calling this company again for their services?

It’s because of how it made me feel.

It made me feel like I didn’t matter. Like I wasn’t important. Not only as a potential customer but as a person. You ask a question, you listen to the answer. Simple, I would have thought.

I have a fairly healthy self esteem, so my strongest reaction was to decide there and then that I would not give that business my time or money. But it also made me feel small and insignificant. Which isn’t nice.

We all like to feel we matter. I would even go so far as to say that for some that feeling is the difference between life and death. As long as we matter to someone we feel that life is worth it. That we are worth it.

Seemingly little things like being shunned on the phone by a stranger, being ignored in the tea-break room at work, feeling invisible at school or in the school carpark, can all add up to make us feel that we don’t matter.

We need to take care with each other. That one smile that shows you have seen someone, a simple ‘hello’ when passing a stranger in a corridor, really listening to the answer when you ask a question at a party – all these things are small but have enormous ramifications for those around us.

I guess the Bible verse about treating others as you want to be treated has not grown tired with age. If we try to live with an awareness of others, with an awareness of ourselves and what makes us tick, we will start positively feeding into those around us.

And it might just make more difference than you will ever know.

8 thoughts on “The way you make me feel.

  1. Good post! Too many times, when calling or dealing with service people, I am a number, a monthly payment. Too few times am I a person. Feelings – you have absolutely hit that nail on the head. If I don’t feel good after the initial contact, that company is checked OFF my list! Same goes for face-to-face. If you don’t make me feel good, smile at me, say howdy, then I don’t waste much more time on you (unless of course I have to for business purposes!).

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    • That’s right and I know for you, Karen, that you are super aware of that and treat everyone with the respect that you want to be treated with…I can’t imagine you doing what the lady on the phone did!

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  2. I live an hour from a large city (Chicago), and three quarters of our summer population are second-homeowners from the city. The rest of us all know one another. When we see each other walking or passing in the car or on a bike, we wave and/or stop and chat a moment. When the city-dwellers first arrive, they are in urban-mode–they don’t make eye-contact, won’t respond when you say hello or wave. I realized they aren’t being rude, it’s just they’ve been inured to troublesome or potentially dangerous human contact. So I continue to wave and smile. Most who stay awhile finally come around. Being out here allows them to breathe deeply again on the streets. Smiling is great for one’s well-being. 🙂

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    • We notice that here too, even difference in each city. Brisbane, where I live, is like a big ole country town in some ways and everyone is very friendly. Maybe that’s why it’s more noticeable when it doesn’t happen – a bit like where you live.
      Our nine year old makes a point of smiling at everyone who even looks her way. She is always so disappointed if they don’t smile back. And really, you have to be pretty hard hearted to not return the sweet smile of a nine year old, blue-eyed, blonde girl! It costs nothing to smile!

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  3. Excellent post and comments. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. Twelve years ago I moved to a small town after 40+ years in much larger environments. By now, my smiles, waves, and greetings are pretty much automatic, but once in a while I’ll slip back into default mode. I have to hope I don’t offend someone, I don’t mean to be rude.

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    • Thanks Esther 🙂 Yes, I find when I am stressed and/or tired that I slip back into self absorbed mode and don’t take the time to look around at others. Which, in itself, is a good reminder to not be stressed!

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