When Words Are All You Have to Offer – Make Them Kind Ones
My line of employment is one in which my sole contact with our customers is by means of inbound calls. I work in the financial industry and on any given day I may speak to over eighty people. The calls can range in duration from just a minute to a half hour or more. Most are on the shorter end of that spectrum. As these calls are financial in nature the customers frequently share their personal circumstances with me either because they think that I should know or need to know. I have come to consider a third possible motive in that they simply need someone to know.
I have had people share incredibly intimate details of the tragedy in their lives. The recent death of a loved one, divorce and abandonment, job loss, impending foreclosure, terrible illness and even the customers impending demise due to a terminal illness. I once had someone on the line who literally said: “I am here in the hospital with Mrs. Jones. She is dying of brain cancer- let me put her on the line with you.” And just like that I was speaking with this woman who was quite literally on her death bed. What is one to say at a time like that? What can someone say at a time like that? Business needs are business needs yet Mrs. Jones is a woman whose life is ebbing away and I am very suddenly and personally part of her present circumstance.
I have come to recognize that beyond providing the required business need all that I have to offer beyond that are words. Kind words, sympathetic words and even at that most basic of level- loving words. My experience is that such words are readily received and appreciated by those suffering through this harsh reality that is life. People have an inherent need to know that they are important enough to be cared about even in their darkest hour and even by a complete stranger.
I often find that these calls can be emotionally draining for me. If for no other reason than I wished that I could do more. But I do all that I can by offering simple words. By offering kind words- what other arrow do I have in my quiver but that single one?
I was recently accused of being didactic in my posts and this one likely leaves me guilty as charged. My hope is that by sharing these thoughts you are caused to consider the random personal contacts you have in your daily lives. Not everyone is dying of brain cancer but most are suffering some. When you have contact with a complete stranger and all that you can offer up are words- make them kind ones. You may never know how deeply those simple words may touch someone. In turn you may be surprised at how these words work towards your betterment as well.