Ask a House Cleaner, Rude Customer, Savvy Cleaner

Rude Customer – House Cleaner Freaks Out

A rude customer and a house cleaner freaks out. We Ask a House Cleaner why we have rude customers and why they are negative and have a mean resting face.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says the behavior is subjective. You might have a rude customer who wants to make your life miserable. There may be name calling and other problematic customer issues. Or they may be a difficult customer who just doesn’t know how to communicate.

Don’t get disgruntled. Be a savvy cleaner by understanding different types of behavior.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.


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Question: Rude Customer – House Cleaner Freaks Out

Today’s question is about a rude customer. “How am I supposed to deal with a rude customer?” 

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Answer: Rude Customer or Just Mean Resting Face?

Rude Customer, Angry resting face woman

I have to ask, what is rude? Because all behavior is subjective.

There are people that just sit there. They are having a nice afternoon, but their face looks mean. We call this the mean resting face. 

They are not mean, or even in a bad mood. A lifetime of worry and stress and chaos is showing on their faces. Maybe their countenance is just sad and unhappy.

Then they talk to you and on the inside, they’re happy, but this side face is how they present themselves.Rude Customer, Woman with wrinkled face

You think, “Man, this is a disgruntled, angry, sad, unhappy person.”

But maybe they don’t see it that way at all, so their behavior is subject. We think that they’re being unkind or rude, but they think they’re sharing information.

What is Rude?

Rude Customer, Rudeness Scale

So, how are they presenting themselves and how are you interpreting it?

Let’s stop for a second and ask the question: What is rude?

Is there a particular scale that everyone across the universe understands? No, there’s not.

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The Ping Pong Match

One person can say, “I was being just fine,” and the other person is, “Well, you’re being rude.”

When you say that, “You’re being rude,” what you’ve done is put them on the defensive, and now they will be rude.

They’ll come back with some kind of smart-aleck comment to counterbalance your rudeness to them. I see this all the time in forums online. Somebody will snap at somebody and somebody will snap right back. It’s this little ping-pong match of grrrr…!

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Let’s Stop and Think

But why do we do this?

If we would just stop, we would realize this person presented this in a negative light and we took it the wrong way.

You would take responsibility for your feelings instead of projecting anger on other people. You wouldn’t say things like, “He’s rude. She’s rude. She hurt my feelings.”

It’s a challenge, but as a professional, you get to say, “They presented something to me in a negative way. Oh, how sad they don’t know how to present something in a better way that’s more productive.”

What Is the Real Issue Here? Rude Customer, Man Thinking

Of course, you don’t say those exact words. You just think this in your head.

You can smile and listen and ask these questions:

What is the root behind this?

Are they trying to give me more information?

What is it that they’re trying to tell me?

If I remove the rude from their comment, what are they trying to share with me?

Are they trying to have me do something different?

Are they trying to make my business better?

Rude Customer, Woman furiousUse This as Valuable Feedback

If it’s any of those things, this is valuable feedback.

It’s easy to get all huffy and puffy and take an attitude about it. But that’s usually not the most productive way to go about it.

If a customer is being rude to you, what does that mean? It doesn’t mean anything. I know that there are customers that will call people names like house cleaner, or the hired help.

There are house cleaners that get bent out of shape, like, “They called me a name. They called me the hired help.” 

Well, I am sorry to say, but they are correct. You were hired, and you help.  I don’t think they were trying to insult you by calling you the hired help. I think they were just making a reference. They’re just words.

A lot of times it’s our own projection. It’s our own filters that we’re bringing that information through. 

Maybe you learned growing up that hired help is a nasty word. So if someone calls you “hired help,” then it makes sense that you will not like that. 

How Do You Deal With a Rude Customer? Rude Customer, Woman remaining calm

But if you realize that these are just words, then you can realize that words don’t mean anything. These words are correct, but they don’t need to hurt you in any way. 

You can then take a poker face and attitude. Just say, “Huh, I didn’t connect with what they just said but I don’t think the intention of what they said was mean. I don’t think it was mean-spirited.”

The longer you know a person, and the more you understand their nuances, the more you’ll be able to look past that.

The catch is when you get all huffy and puffy in the outcome of the words. That’s where you fall apart because now you can’t think straight. You’re just seeing white, and you’re angry. And you’re all bitter because they called you the hired help.

That’s not rude, it’s correct. It was just mispresented to you.

Rude Customer, sad maid tolerating itTake a Deep Breath

Take a deep breath. And just realize, if you’re in the business long enough, you will take offense to some things. It is inevitable. 

There will be difficult people that you have to work with. There will be people that are hateful and mean and psychotic.

But a person that’s being rude, maybe that’s just their personality. Maybe it’s just their face. Maybe it’s just the way they presented the information, or maybe there was no intention whatsoever of offending you.

Remove Your Emotions From the SituationRude Customer, Crazy old bat customer

Something happens when you remove your emotions from these situations. You might find out that some of the people that you work for are crazy old bats!

“Ah, she’s a crazy old bat. It ain’t a big thing.”

You go about cleaning their house and it’s no big deal.

But if you let every little thing become a chip on your shoulder, you soon will be carrying the weight of the world.


Life is Tough Enough

the pain of a client firing you - angry woman yelling

I don’t recommend that at all because you know what? Life is tough enough.

If you harbor all these things, you will keep replaying them over and over in your head. This is a nasty tape that you are making for yourself. 

Just take it and go, “Whew, weird,” and push it back out to the universe and get rid of it. Don’t harbor it and don’t internalize it.

That’s my two cents for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.  

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

Dealing with Difficult Customers –

Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People: Over 325 Ready-to-Use Words and Phrases for Working with Challenging Personalities –

Coping with Difficult People: The Proven-Effective Battle Plan That Has Helped Millions Deal with the Troublemakers in Their Lives at Home and at Work –

Nasty People –

Take the Bully by the Horns: Stop Unethical, Uncooperative, or Unpleasant People from Running and Ruining Your Life –

Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge –

Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace –

Prisoners of A Hostile Work Environment: How to Take Control of Your Job and Protect Yourself from A Bully Boss –

It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace –

Stand Up for Yourself Without Getting Fired –

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