I have an admission to make. I am rude to telemarketers. Very rude. I usually interrupt them and say something like “I am not interested” and hang up without further discussion.

They often ring through on my work land line which is a silent number (for a Government contract) so I get very annoyed that they even have my number let alone know my name.

I can also be rude to people who come to my door during the middle of the working day wanting me to change my electricity provider or to sell me their super duper fresh food package.

So today I want to say sorry to all the people that I am rude to because

  1. You are doing what I consider to be a horrible job; and
  2. You would only be doing that horrible job because you need the money
  3. So that tells me that there is probably a whole backstory I don’t know about and I just dismiss it.

So you might be reading this thinking, yeah we’re all rude to telemarketers – it’s a thing. They’d have to expect it.

So when is it okay to be rude and when is it not?

Why is the rudeness bar so low for telemarketers and so high for other people that we know and like?

Why do we have so little empathy for some people?

I believe that it’s because we don’t know them or because we know them so well.

Who are we rudest to? Often it is strangers doing things we don’t like and our family.

Many of us will say things to our family members and treat them with incredible disrespect because they are family. We have developed some rules around communication and patter that would not be tolerated in any other forum. We tolerate it. We’re family. It’s always been like this.

I challenge you to reconsider how you speak to everyone. The telemarketer, your siblings, parents and children.

Everyone has a story. Everyone is important.

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