First of all, “Are you kidding me?”! Wait, wait, “Try not to take it personally.”, excuse me while I roll my eyes a few times. Let’s just look at this and maybe we can reason this out.
A person you don’t know personally, have no contact with has been having a bad day, week, year, existence, whatever. You happen upon this person. The only thing you do is look at this person, and the damn breaks. First it’s a twitch, you see it coming, and then KA-BLAM!! Profanity out of the devil’s own play-book, and then some that you are just sure they made up comes flying out of their mouth.
First you sit there stunned, not sure what to say. Then slowly as it keeps coming, and you realize that they are calling you all those things, one of two things happens. One, you blink to yourself, and say “Oh no, they didn’t!” and then it’s on. Or, you continued sitting in silence while you inwardly hope that they get a hold of themselves and apologize. This might last a few sentences, then all bets are off and you revert to choice one. Unless you are in customer service, then stunned silence is your bedfellow. (yup, I am going there!)
In customer service you get paid to make people happy, give the best possible solution, answer questions, etc, and so on and so forth. You get the idea. I’ve been in this business for a very long time. And, I will tell you something. Don’t take it personally, is a motto. You have to, no matter how inwardly you want to extend your hand and just. . . (insert wonderful happy blissful mental image here). But, you don’t have to take it inside you. If you do then you are the one who might flip out. I’ve flipped out on people and I’ve been the one flipped out on.
My point is this, you are a human being and you are wired to look out for yourself. You are wired to not want to put up with any of this, to not want to stand for it. It’s a perfectly logical reaction. So rather than go with the premise, “Don’t take it personally”, how about, “don’t let someone’s attitude define you”, as the wonderful Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” You have a choice, and you know, you will make bad ones, you will make good ones. Sometimes, you will take the higher path, that’s cool. And, then you sometimes will take the worst path. When you do, as soon as you realize what your doing, hush. take a few breaths, and take it from there.
I still say it’s impossible NOT to take it personally, but you can choose not to react badly to it.