Ever have a really bad experience with someone being extremely rude to you, without being provoked? I just did. I work at a clubhouse for a homeowner’s association. People come here to exercise, swim, play pool or cards, etc. There are rules, especially involving guests and children. One rule is that kids under 16 years of age cannot play on the pool table. Its an extremely beautiful pool table, and serious pool players use it regularly. This afternoon, a woman and her grandson were beginning to play pool. This is the part of my job I absolutely hate. I have to remind people of the rules and enforce them. So I politely told the woman that kids under the age of 16 cannot use the pool table. She got very defensive and began to rant about the fact that she pays into this homeowner’s association and should be able to do what she wants. She told her grandson not to touch anything because I might “have a fit.” After a bit more ranting, she left and said, “I hope you have a wonderful day now that you ruined ours.” I was very hurt by this situation. In general, I’m a very sensitive person, but this encounter was uncalled for and unprovoked.
When things like this happen, I try to think of reasons for it. First I think of what I said, what I did, how I reacted and if I was appropriate. In this case, I didn’t do anything wrong. Then I change my perspective and start thinking about what would cause someone to lash out like that. I consider the fact that maybe she’s having a terrible day, maybe something bad just happened to her, maybe she’s been treated badly by someone else here in the past. I’m not naive. I know that some people are just not nice. But for the most part, I assume the good in people and try to put myself in their shoes… It helps!