fencing lesson

by vanessagobes

I try so hard to be a cool cucumber when dealing with confrontation, but this morning I was all hot pepper! I called Reliable Fence of Woburn to contest a $250 charge for a 5 minute quick-fix on a gate hinge in my front yard. The guy who answered the phone over-talked me, didn’t listen, acted evasive, and was downright insistent on proving me wrong. He offered no solutions, service, or understanding. I boldly let him know what I thought of his interpersonal and customer service skills and somehow instead of him apologizing for swindling me, I was apologizing to him for raising my voice.

I try to share positive posts on BUBs, so I was hesitant to write about this episode, but isn’t this the sort of crap we deal with every day? Often times when we interact with frustrating service issues, we feel powerless. We’re paying for something and we expect that our payment entitles us to a perfectly balanced transaction. “Here’s our hard-earned money, now you give us what we want.” When perfect balance is not achieved, sometimes we can let it go; other times we become infuriated.

We project our expectations onto people who aren’t capable of or have no interest in fulfilling them. Maybe it’s a professional interaction and we’re the disappointed customer. Or maybe it’s something more personal – we’re the offended friend, the betrayed lover, or the exasperated parent.

All of these contentious feelings are happening because we’ve exposed ourselves to them through human experience, through vulnerability. We voluntarily sign up for these relationships and we trust that we will be valued. When we feel undervalued, like we’ve been taken for granted or been taken advantage of, we can either harden or soften with the blow.

Every time we harden, we make it more difficult for higher thinking to fully express itself. Softness allows more flexibility, more space for consciousness to flow. This morning I hardened. But next time I’ll work on remaining soft. I will not engage. I will maintain composure. I will breathe when I’m ready to blow. I will be patient, and wait to speak to the person who better matches my energy vibration. Good advice for dealing with a bullish fence guy, or a challenging relationship.

There is nothing more frustrating than the feeling unheard or misunderstood. This morning’s tiff was a good lesson for me, and I’m grateful to the guy at Reliable for reminding me that I have no control over the way other people receive me. I have no control over the way other people behave. I have no power to change anyone’s mind. And it’s not his fault I got frustrated; it’s mine, because I allowed him to get under my skin.

Oh, and I can’t forget the most obvious lesson: When multiple online reviewers warn you that a company is sketchy and has sh*tty customer service, believe them.

From mine to yours,