Working any length of time in customer service, it’s disarming to note how people tend to pounce on the negative. A balmy, Southern sun gracing its way along a palm tree-lined beach is not enough to distract the most hardened individual. The holiday season is far worse! The old adage rings true: if in one hand all the complaints and the other hand all the spoken niceties, which one fills up first? How depressing that we all know the answer to that question.
Why is it that consumers; people in general, achieve more satisfaction from the complaint vs. the compliment? Where does the dire need to “vent” originate? Reasoning could suggest it stems from not enough motherly love, too little coffee, bad weather, “time of the month”, family issues, lack of sex, ill-fitting underwear and so on, though it doesn’t justify such undignified behavior.
Should we blame society’s addiction to depressants and stimulants, where even children are prescribed drugs to be “normal”. What is the current definition of normal? Are we so inundated with the impersonality of technology that we have to “Google” smile just to remember what one is?
Why is it so painful for a compliment to roll off our tongues? Are we afraid to choke on the word should it escape our lips? Has it become a forgotten art of communication? Although frowning uses more muscles in the human face, it seems to be quite effortless for most individuals to wear one; yet such a struggle to embrace that opposite, elusive expression.
There will always be a percentage of the population consistently miserable with their lives and so, the urge to exert such negativity on an innocent someone as soon as the opportunity presents itself is a pleasant release. It’s a rush for some: the louder the bark, the more crass the insult – wrap it up in BIG BOLD LETTERS and deliver it with threats to call a lawyer! All this exhibition to obtain some wretched, fleeting satisfaction.
It’s the undeserved that reap the havoc! Minimum wage, front desk, retail customer service, fast food restaurant cashiers, waiters, coffee baristas, all those who work quite hard and lengthy hours for little pay. Like pawns on a chess board. Dealing with ingrates all day or night and having to smile through it all and just brace themselves against a verbal onslaught.
Now occasionally the planets do align and things will actually tend to run smoothly. You will know this is happening because you will hear…nothing. No compliments, no courtesy. Just the sound of a pin drop. Happiness is not interesting enough to comment on. It actually conjures the opposite effect. See someone spirited and bubbly and you’re curious what drug they’re experimenting with. It’s not “normal”. It’s weird and strangely annoying to have someone always smiling at you. Or, is it because we are so accustomed to the negative that any shadow of the positive is no longer recognizable?
Make it a habit! Smile at least once a day for someone, “just because”. Even if you don’t feel like it, don’t care, don’t want to, don’t mean it…do it anyway. Practice it. Try it. It may hurt at first, but don’t be scared. This pure, simple gesture will make someone feel good. It will make you feel good, I promise. It will spread like wildfire. More compliments, more smiles.
But beware…someone might actually smile back!