How to Make the World a Better Place? Make Friends

I have a new friend. I met him on the phone when I was having a computer issue and called in for support. As I’m sure you know, these things can take a long time, and I know the techs get a lot of grief from people calling in. Customer service folks really bear the brunt of disgruntled persons’ anger because of some issue with their phone, computer, or cable TV.

I had to ask myself, why do we do this? If you think about it, this service person is trying to help you/us, and even though you may be having communication issues with the support person, as well as problems with the device, you have to realize that projecting your unresolved anger (just being generally pissed off) is not going to help you get answers.

There’s an old story about a guy at the lost luggage counter at the airport at 1:00 a.m. trying to find his bag and being pretty ugly about it. As the story goes, the baggage person turns to him and says, “Sir, it is 1:00 a.m. There are only two people who care about your lost luggage, and one of them is rapidly losing interest.” The guy’s attitude quickly changed for the better.

That same rule applies when you are seeking help from anyone. If you are a jerk, your chances of success are limited. Yes, I know that more often than not these days, getting telephone support is challenging—and chat support is also slow and unappealing to any of us who aren’t Gen-Y or younger. Most Boomers hate it. But you can speed things up just by being a nice person and telling a joke.

Here is exactly what happened to me. The support person was on speakerphone, and I was at my desk in the kitchen, and my wife was cooking. I made a comment about the potato soup smelling really good on this rainy afternoon, and the support guy said, “Yeah! That sounds really good.” And we all laughed, and he and I started talking a little. I asked about his life, and he asked about mine, and he got very excited about my new book.

He is now following me on social media and has offered to help me in the future if I have a computer issue. I have gotten to know someone who knows things I do not—always a plus in life—and made a new friend in the process. It didn’t take much—we just chose to be nice to each other and keep the energy light, even though I could have been grumpy, and he could have been lazy and transferred me. Instead, we worked together, and now we can play together.

So the moral of this tale is simple. If you are in need and are nice about asking someone for help, you will probably get a positive response. By just being your kind self, instead of that two-year-old who isn’t getting their way, you’ll come away happier and make someone else’s day a little brighter on the other end of the line. The best way to make the world a better place is by being nice to one person at a time.V