Background info, I’m an introverted, conflict-averse, type B person. My cc attracts a lot of angry and defensive people. I typically ignore passive aggressive behavior because I’m afraid of escalating the situation, but tonight was different.
Guy calls in super angry about the fee we have (which is stated clearly on the recording but everyone stays on the line to argue about). Upset that I won’t help him, even though I provided plenty of resources I didn’t have to. He disconnects.
Because I’m super lucky, he calls back an hour later and ends up on my line. He’s escalated to aggression and hostility this time and won’t let me string together 3 words. Just extremely rude and belittling. After a long, patronizing tirade and his 3rd f-bomb, I subconsciously stick my fist into my hip and hear myself saying (in a very stern teacher voice),
“Sir, if you continue to swear, I cannot help you”
As soon as the words leave my mouth, I’m internally freaking out because I probably overreacted and now he’s going to yell some more.
But an amazing thing happened.
After 10 seconds of total, dumbfounded silence, the caller speaks again and does (almost) a complete 180. I won’t embellish and pretend he turned into Charlie Buckets, but instantly transformed from hostile aggressor to mildly disgruntled patron. He was still not happy, but addressed me respectfully and answered every single question he had previously refused, while allowing me to speak.
I know that there are assholes out there who will continue to be assholes after being called on their behavior, but tonight was a good reminder that some people will just steamroll others who they perceive as weak. I think this happens to me disproportionately as a woman with a quiet voice and calm demeanor; I tend to get taken advantage of, and my mom has been scolding me my whole life about standing up for myself.
Tomorrow I’ll probably get to deal with more run-of-the-mill jerks. But tonight, I asserted myself and felt like a badass in total control. And I’m going to hold onto that feeling until the start of my next shift.