The Customer Service Key to Relationship Happiness

Who would think that Time-Warner Cable would give me an important clue to thriving in your relationship? Yet they did.

If you’re thinking their lesson was, “If you’re in a relationship, you should always be giving great customer service to your partner,” nope, it’s not that.

I’m a Time-Warner customer. Stuff happens with their technology, so sometimes I telephone them. Whenever I do this, I get asked some basic questions. “What’s your name? What’s your address?” Great news here—I know the answers to these questions! And I give them.

The customer service rep doesn’t say, “Thank you.” Not any longer. Instead they say, “Wonderful.”

Ah, sweet word! This is more than courtesy. It’s appreciation. It’s applause. And although I know how silly I’m being, I cannot keep a warm glow from pervading my heart when I hear this coming back to me. I didn’t just pass, I got an A+! I did “wonderfully!” An entirely new relationship paradigm’s been created where I’ve been elevated to someone special. I am to Time-Warner’s customers what Navy SEALS are to your usual soldiers, never mind that in Customer Service World, we are all Navy SEALs.

The moral to this story is that the heart warms to applause and appreciation, even if it’s for a total non-reason, as in this case—”Tell me I’m wonderful because I don’t have Alzheimer’s!”

What if you were to take a similarly, um, generous approach to appreciation in your relationship? What if you met every opportunity to say something positive to your partner with an approving comment that just maybe had a touch of hyperbole?

Instead of “thank you,” “great!”

Instead of “you look nice today,” “you look fabulous today.”

Do these things regularly and you’re tending the garden of your relationship with the best fertilizer of all—radical positivity.

You need to be careful when you do this, of course. You can err by being too muted on the one hand, and by being too steeped in bullshit on the other. You need to find your authentic voice when you do this—otherwise, it can come across as irony or sarcasm. You can find this fine line. I know this because the Time-Warner customer reps always sound sincere, probably because they say “wonderful” hundreds of times a day—they get lots of practice.

But hey, who knows what goes on in people’s hearts? Not I, and I don’t really care, not here anyway. I’m not looking for a Conradian glimpse into true emotions here, I’m looking to be bolstered by positive feedback. Very positive feedback.

If you’re in a relationship and would like to hear “Wonderful” from your partner more than you do currently, raise your hand.

I thought so.

Hey—if Time-Warner reps can do it in their cubicles, you can do it in your home.

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