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Thread: Talking to the "little people"

  1. #1

    Default Talking to the "little people"

    No, this is not a St. Paddy's day thread.

    Nor, am I talking about those short of stature, or those of "little means."

    I am addressing talking to those who answer the phone at medical offices, who have to deal with all of us "jerks."

    So, is it just me, but when I call a medical office, I invariably get a woman who has some sort of voice inflection that when she speaks, each sentence ends with an "uptick" in register (or something like that). I hate it, but it seems to be the norm, so I try to get past it.

    Hey, despite being a troll, I always try to start with a "chipper and upbeat" Good Morning or Good Afternoon, etal. Sometimes that is enough to kick them out of their "mood." Sometimes not.

    Yesterday, a particularly "unhappy" woman asked me just "which doctor" I was wanting to see. I told her I did not want a "Witch Doctor" and that was enough to get her to mellow and she actually became quite helpful after that.

    Sometimes, no matter what I try, it does not help much.

    Again, despite being a troll, I do try to be extra nice to the folks who answer at medical offices, but are you people seeing the same pattern I am, or is it just my troll luck?

    Any other suggestions on how to snap them into "human mode."?

  2. #2
    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Blog Entries


    ((((((Dave)))))) ~

    The intonation you're hearing in the women, who answer the phones is called "Valley Speak," or "Valley Girl Speak," and it has become pervasive beyond its origination in the San Fernando Valley, California:'

    Recently, I watched a news interview with a panel of very educated professional women, who discussed the societal devaluation of women, who spoke Valley Girl. It's difficult for people to take women seriously, when every statement they make sounds like a question.

    But Valley Speak is a trend, a fad, and we can only hope that it will fade out on its own.

    Meanwhile, you're stuck with it, so try to not let it bother you. I know that can be a challenge. I'm a former English, Speech and Journalism teacher, so it grates on my every nerve to hear it. Like nails on a chalkboard! But I try to see past it to enhance the communication between us.

    When I interact on the phone with the messengers for the doctor's office, I try to remember that they are human. I don't know what's going on in their world. Maybe they've been up all night with a sick child, maybe they're going through a divorce, maybe their parent was just diagnosed with cancer or Alzheimer's. I don't know.

    So, while I'm bringing my problem to them, I try to remember that they have problems too. And I try to remember that they work in a doctor's office, which is a hectic place full of sick people, and more sick people calling in to leave messages, etc. Patience is required sometimes, when I'm on hold for more than 10 minutes, but I understand the dynamics of what is going on in that doctor's office, so I wait.

    Humor, as you've seen in your experience, is a good way to diffuse the tension. I use it in all of my encounters, including ICU. We can't always expect that it will be effective with everyone. There are some Grumpy Guses out there, whose problems we don't know. But if we are cheerful, positive, and patient, we might just change the day for that Grumpy Gus. And for ourselves.

    It's also helpful to say, "Thank you," "Have a nice day or weekend," "I appreciate your help," or anything positive to the person, who assists you. They likely don't hear that often enough. And maybe hearing it is just what they need to lift their spirits.

    And if your attitude and approach to these folks is positive and humorous, with an understanding that they have their own issues, then you and they will feel better after you've ended your conversation.

    Just be yourself. The rest will fall into place.

    Love & Light,

    Mom to Jon, 49, and Michael, 32, who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003. Our Angel Jon received his wings April 2019. April 2020, Jim, the world's most wonderful Dad, joined them. Now, they all watch over me.

  3. #3
    Distinguished Community Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    S. Indiana


    HB Troll, I like your approach to help lift up the person that answers the phone at your doctor's office. I can't say I have any other ideas other than to try and be polite, that is easier here as in a small town I know the women that answer the phone.

    Rose you offer good reminders about why the other person may be less than cheerful when on the phone with us. My pain often causes me to be short with answers and questions so the other person also has to remember all we may be going through.
    1979 spinal issues, 1993 lumbar microdisectomy L3-4, 1996 360 3 level lumbar fusion L2-5, 1999 open thoractomy fusion T8-9,
    2002 C3-7 herniations and T4-7 herniations, 2004 total disability, a new limited life

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