When I was working in a phone company in France, I sometimes had to deal with difficult clients, sometimes with difficult colleagues too. We all have story about it, don’t we?

One day, a client called the service where I was working. He was extremely displeased and wanted badly to let us know what he had on his mind against us. One of my colleagues took the phone call. She was a nice woman who had a big heart and wanted to help people get the best phone service. She was one of those friendly, skillful and fun colleagues you want to have on your team.  The client started yelling without letting her say a word. He was screaming against the company with all his worst vocabulary, the kind you find only in bad detective movies. He continued by shouting at my colleague. He blamed her for all the trouble his business was going through; how she was stupid, and had no idea how to run a business. My colleague listened, said, “I understand” a few times, and after the third cuss word she put the phone on her desk and let the guy blow off his steam.  Unfortunately, we heard these types of comments often. Some people tended to think that we were responsible for all the company’s decisions. The phone buzzed on the table for a while and when it stopped, she picked up the phone again and asked the client:

— “How can I help you?
— I want you to check my F@# bill!
— No problem, can you give me your client number, please?
— Why can’t you find it by yourself? You fat lazy! It’s xxxxxxx!
Her smile became even larger.
— Well Mister, I am very sorry, but you have yelled at the wrong office. We are the phone company not the electric company…

The man hanged up the phone furiously without the slightest apology.

After that, we all started laughing aloud. Even with all his cursing and screaming, he could not touch us. Our humor was our armor. We gave the man the honor spot on our wall of fame of emotionally disturbed clients, and master of offensive phone calls!

We all know people like this who scream, pull us down, and criticize us without wanting to know whom they are speaking with.

These people’s words are like the numerous leaves that cover our lawn every fall. They are all over us piling criticizing, crushing remarks, and disapproving looks. Often, these people want us to be miserable, because they are not happy with their own lives. We tend to think that we just need to get use to them, because they are just the way they are, and we can do nothing about it. Leaves fall every Autumn. Mean people are mean people. We have to remember that if we cannot avoid ill-tempered people, their words can hurt us only if we let them. By giving these words too much importance, we give them the power to hurt us. Like the leaves that we blow out of our backyards each fall, we can blow those hurtful words out of our life, and take them for what they are: dying leaves.