Why do I allow myself to get upset with people that I don't know? I've found that I'm especially prone to doing this on the telephone, unfortunately.
Yesterday I made a call to a woman who basically has the same job that I have, but for a different organization. There was a discrepancy regarding a payment I had sent for my company, and I had left about three messages for her, none of which were ever returned.
By the time I finally connected with her, I was frustrated. I must have been pretty curt with her, because she became defensive almost immediately, and what could have been an easy, unremarkable conversation turned into something so unpleasant that when it was all over I actually (albeit briefly) considered calling the manager of the company to "tattle" on her, telling him that if that was the way they treated customers then I might need to encourage our people to go elsewhere for these particular needs.
Fortunately I cooled off before I did anything that rash or unnecessary, and now I'm just contemplating the whole experience a bit.
Perhaps if I hadn't been so frustrated, she wouldn't have gotten defensive, and the conversation could have been just like one of the other 15-20 conversations that I have with various people every day.
With any luck, I've learned something from the experience though, and the next time I'm tempted to treat someone with rudeness or a lack of courtesy, I'll be able to reign myself in.
Let's hope so!