Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Yesterday, someone who I needed to listen to me, listened to me.

It felt amazing.

Now this wasn't a personal chat, and it wasn't in my professional capacity either, it was a situation of me, as service user to another person, service provider. I went into the conversation knowing that I needed them to be flexible and to be willing to understand the situation and to respond, not with care or compassion, but with action.

To be honest, I held out little hope.

I'm sorry to say this but I've found that many people who work in human services,or in health care providing, really, really, don't like people much.

Not even a little bit.

I had had to talk to three people.

The woman who answered the phone, she was nice, very nice, her attitude and her voice were welcoming.

My confidence increased.

I was put to the next person, a gatekeeper.

She responded twice in such a way that I knew that she had not heard me. The situation that she spoke about in her response was not the situation I found myself in. I took a breath, calmed myself, and stated again the situation and the need. This time she heard and she said, "Well, I understand, I'm not going to be the person to say 'no' ... let me put you through to someone who may be able to help."

OK, it took a bit but she heard me, and she saw that the situation was a little unique.

I got to the next person.

She head the request, but not the situation and said, "Unfortunately ..." then she paused and said, "tell me why you are asking, I don't think I heard it properly." I told her. She said, "Give me a couple of minutes." She was gone for way longer than 'a couple of minutes' when she picked up the phone she said, "OK, we're going to be able to do that for you."

I was stunned.

She had, just as she was saying 'no,' begun to process the circumstance that prompted the request. Then she asked to hear it again. Then, and I almost can't believe this ... she took action.

I left that situation and the service provider part of my brain took note. It matters to hear requests all the way through, it matters to listen, it matters to take action.

It really matters.

I felt that I mattered, and my unique, individual, life mattered.

And that's why it matters.


Unknown said...

And you DO matter!!

szera said...

Validation victory!
I think of it as an involuntary breath/shock/whoo-hoo!
I do my best to transmute these encounters into learning opportunities...would love to have a higher batting average!
I had a client with a very specific and unpleasant
way of letting someone know when they were not listening, while I never incurred this first hand, when co-workers would ( and be so indignant...considering themselves far too superior for 'such treatment' ), I would ask them what it was they refused to listen to/hear pure and simple.
If you asked this intelligent lovely huge hearted individual why '....' was choice for situation,
the response was consistent, " I gave that worker more chances and respect than I got...I used my words...they refused to listen...so I had to show them how they were making me feel...I matter!"
I don't mean to runaway with your post...or take away from the positive...and Lord knows this is a universal topic with a Titanic boatload of room for improvement.
I validated his self worth...suggested calm ways to let people know when he didn't feel heard or understood...and it was less than respected.
I want my own facility!

ABEhrhardt said...

The details matter - and are none of my business - but you have just been validated as someone who matters to them, and who has asked for something reasonable or doable, and been listened to as a human, and I can feel your pleasure vicariously.

This is good customer service - I'm sure you already thought about how to give them feedback (if we don't praise the good...).

Thanks for sharing, but it shouldn't be a surprise, should it? 'The customer is always right.'