Thanks to Ethan for today’s blog
I just got back from a holiday visiting family. One morning I was sitting on the sofa having coffee and a catch up with my sister-in-law when the phone rang. She politely put our conversation on hold and answered the phone. I only gathered her half of the conversation but it sounded as if she had ordered something and they were confirming delivery. It wasn’t until several minutes in that I realised she was speaking to a telemarketer.
Throughout the entire conversation my sister-in-law was polite, attentive, and present. When she got off the call I remarked on how she had treated the caller – I usually hang up as soon as I realise someone is trying to sell me something (if I answer at all). She said – ‘Well I just think what a tough job they have, how many people never bother to listen. So I always try to at least hear them out.’ She had been in sales for a major newspaper for years, so I think she empathised with jobs where you had to cold call potential customers.
Empathy is central to our work at Body & Soul. It seemed a bit of a sign to me when I returned from my trip visiting my sister-in-law to see an article which asked whether empathy is actually just a changing ‘fashion’ of science. Ultimately to me it doesn’t matter. The fact that we can be aware of how we treat others and we can make a conscious decision to treat them with dignity and respect seems incredible. So as we think about what we may change in ourselves, I plan on being nicer to the people who have to call me as part of their job, treating them the way I would want to be treated.