Let’s sandpaper the edges

Life is tough at times, but we do not need to make it harder than it is. More than we should, we scrape someone with our unsanded edges and create splinters. Some expose more unsanded edges than others, but we all have them.

Continuing the thought, we should each carry our mental sandpaper with us to smooth our edges or help someone smooth theirs. This sandpaper can take many forms – it could be a smile or nod at a fellow shopper. It could be a good morning to an elevator rider or cashier. It could be pleasantries to a customer service representative or maybe a calm demeanor or extra dose of patience as they try to serve you.

In my forty years as an adult, I have witnessed that I receive better service the nicer I am to the associate. The calmer and more diplomatic I am with CSRs, the solution or answer can be found.

I chat with folks I don’t know quite often. Far more often than not, it is reciprocated and appreciated. Occasionally, I will find that unsanded edge. Depending on the splinter size, I may cease and desist or try another tack.

We need more civility toward each other. We need to observe what one of our presidential candidates does and not do that. Civil would not be the first word I use to describe that man.

So, let’s keep that sandpaper ready and smooth out our rough edges. We might even learn something.

31 thoughts on “Let’s sandpaper the edges

  1. I’ve always noticed that the negative, crabbiest people are the ones who consistently get poor service or feel that others treat them badly. Being positive and friendly doesn’t guarantee reciprocal treatment, but it helps… and if other people are nasty towards you anyway, it’s easier to shrug it off and move on. Not only is Trump uncivil, he is very thinned-skinned. He could certainly use some sandpaper.

  2. I used to run a call center. I would tell people who had a string of bad calls that its not callers who caused the problem.

    The way we enter a conversation is reflected back at us. Very often we don’t even know we are doing it. We are having a bad day, so we respond listlessly or without attention and this is internalized by the other person as a reflection on them or their needs and they react with some tension in their voice and then we react to their attitude and then it just spirals out of control.

    Putting some energy in your voice when you deal with someone – happy confident energy is one of the easiest ways to make a call go smoothly.
    Its also very hard to do when you are having a bad day to start with.

    I used to tell people that their call skills training was actually life training. This is how to deal with humans, everywhere. In your family, at the store, at a party. This is how we have positive interactions, which leads to positive feedback loops of good things.

    But of course that’s all kinds of blue sky and is not so simple to keep in tune to do. Particularly if you struggle with a mental illness or if you are just having a bad day for some reason or another.

      • I want to expand my reply regarding your last paragraph as it is so very important. People don’t know what others are going through and how some issues can swallow someone whole. Even if it is worry about a child or spouse who has some mental health issues. So, that sandpaper of kindness might be helpful or it might be ignored. Either way, a dose of civility will be far better than rudeness which serves few. It might be a taste of humanity the person needs at this moment.

        Again, terrific comment. Keith

    • I generally agree with your comment. I’ve done customer service and there were situations where I could have ample “happy confident energy”; only to be hit with a tirade of anger/abuse. There are times when the other person wants to vent, yell, and scream at someone. Either out of frustration, in an attempt to finally be heard and validated, or in order to gain/keep/retain a sense of control over a situation in which they have none. Often I was just a surrogate for whom their anger was directed. In my opinion there is absolutely no excuse at all for that type of abuse.

      • Roseylinn, verbally abusing another person is uncalled for. I can and have shared a frustration with poor service without berating anyone. Your voice is heard if civil. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: The next time you are out in a store or places where people gather as they wait, test a theory. The person who looks the most unpleasant may be just the opposite. Try a friendly hello or smile. Or, I have written before about looking for dot connectors – a ball cap or t-shirt that says ACDC or GRITS, which stands for Girls Raised in the South. My wife used to have this catch all bag which had this huge working clock – she said she had more impromptu conversations over this bag than anything else.

    It may get folks out of their comfort zone and it may lead to nice conversation and you might learn something.

  4. So true! You just never know what transpired prior to someone entering your zone. More often than not, that someones grumpiness is just a temporary reaction to something else. They are always happy that they encountered this ray of sunshine … that’s for sure!
    Ps. I’m with Janice and that belt sander! If only it were that easy.

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