Negative Nellie

I had an appointment to see a specialist on Tuesday.  It was originally scheduled for September 3rd, but his office called Monday afternoon and said they had a cancellation and would I like to come tomorrow instead?

So I drove across town Tuesday morning and limped through a large medical building to get the records they wanted me to bring.  I thought they’d be grateful that I took their cancellation and made the effort.

But when I checked in Tuesday afternoon, I was greeted by Negative Nellie.  Her name was actually Amanda, but she was definitely a Nellie.  She was young and pretty and ugly.  And her professional personality was off to a snarly start.

I handed her my license and my insurance card.  She looked at it for a minute and then screwed up her face.

“We don’t take this insurance,”  she firmly asserted in a sort of accusing, punishing voice.

“Look at the back of the card,” I suggested,  “I’m pretty sure you do.”

She flipped it over and then handed it to the woman next to her.  That woman looked it up in a binder and said, “Yes, as long as [insurance name 1] and [insurance name 2] are both on the card, we take it.”

[Insurance name 1] is on the front of the card and [insurance name 2] is on the back of the card, so Nellie said, “It doesn’t say [insurance name 2] on the front.”

The nice lady next to her said, “I don’t think it matters as long as both names are on the card.”

I could see in Nellie’s set face that she wasn’t about to concede.

So I spoke up.  I shouldn’t have, but I did.  “I’ve been through this confusion before,” I said with a smile, trying to blame the confusing card and not her, “and I can assure you that the second name does not have to be on the front.  If it makes you feel better, I gave my insurance information over the phone when I initially made the appointment and it was checked then.”

Uh oh.  Now she was determined to prove me wrong.

The nice lady suggested she ask the insurance specialist in the back if she needed additional confirmation.

So off she huffed.

Yep, they take it.

And Nellie was not happy.  She was rude a few minutes later when she handed back my license and card.  She was rude when I handed in my questionnaire.  And she was rude when I said goodbye.

She looked about 21.  Unless she switches professions (I vote for that), her work life is going to be miserable – for her and for countless patients.  How much nicer and more gratifying her days would be if instead she were to cheerfully say things like, “I haven’t seen this type of insurance before (It’s a pretty common one), let me double check with our insurance expert for you.”

For you, not against you, is the operative attitude.

I thought of Nellie this morning when I read John 5.

A man who had been an invalid for 38 years was lying next to a healing pool.

Jesus approached him and asked, “Do you want to get well?”

(Apparently not everyone does.  In fact, I’ve known people like that, you probably have, too.  People who counter every helpful suggestion with an excuse or reason why what you are suggesting is impossible;  people who seem to enjoy wallowing in misery.)

The man did want to get well, but no one would help him into the water when the pool was stirred, and, since he was so slow others would push ahead of him.

Jesus bypassed the pool altogether and said,  “Pick up your mat and walk.”

So he did.

And it was the Sabbath.

So his fellow Jews, rather than being THRILLED that this cripple of 38 years could suddenly walk, jumped right in and said the equivalent of “Awwww, you’re in trouble.”

No rejoicing over the sudden wellness of a fellow human being.  Just, “It’s the Sabbath, the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

What makes punishing people focus in on the infraction and completely ignore the miracle?

‘We don’t take your insurance.”

What makes Negative Nellies so punishing?  What makes them see everyone who comes their way as an adversary to be squashed?  A cheater to be caught? And WHY ON EARTH would they enter a  healing, helping profession?


14 thoughts on “Negative Nellie

  1. Good questions I have asked myself many times. If you are having trouble at home or somewhere else do not bring it too work. sometimes smiling and being nice to negative people doesn’t help but allowing ourselves to mirror their attitude only makes us feel worse. hope appt. went well

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Alma Mater says:

    I don’t know what it’s like in other areas, but here we so often come across negative people as doctor’s receptionists that I actually use that occupation as a stereotype for negative professionals! As in, “that person ought to be a medical secretary, she’s that rude!” But it is so surprisingly sweet when we meet a friendly one! I actually changed obstetricians once because when I visited her vacation-replacement, the office staff were so friendly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s such a shame. When people aren’t feeling well, or are concerned about their health – or the health of a loved one, they need Kindness! I switched veterinarians years ago because the receptionists were so rude.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So young and so bitter! I’m sure there’s something she’s fighting or you remind her of a person she has no regards for or she’s just plain bitter. Either ways, she needs help and more love. Thank you for not giving her what she gave you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not sure what makes people this way, but I have known my fair share. They exist in multiple environments; corporate offices, police administration, medical reception, dispatch centers, customer service.

    Sometimes I think that they have been burned too many times when they have been kind and affectionate, so they look for argument and put up the snarky front to protect themselves. That way, the response they receive is expected. I think you handled it beautifully. All we can do is continue to be loving and considerate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. She sounds like the exact kind of people I work with. Luckily, there’s a couple of positive people. I’m starting to look for something else because life is short. It gets old being around negative people for five years already. Some people thrive on drama and being miserable :/

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m very aware of Negative Nellies and having been one myself many years ago, I can spot the signs quickly. Their rudeness is difficult to deal with and they sure do make life miserable for everyone else. There is usually a deep sense of insecurity and unhappiness underneath though, thus the need to “be right” and control. Good for you for keeping your cool and modeling appropriate behavior with your reaction.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hey Julie. My 98 year old gentleman, who died last year, had a very droll sense of humour. He was v quiet but also observant. He used to say – they enjoy their bad health! In other words, as you said, they don’t want to get better! They love wallowing in their misery. But, sadly, they are exactly the sort of people we avoid!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There could be a slew of reasons why Negative Nellie acted so – but I often find that people are mean, difficult, rude because they’re dealing with some deep pain within. Their attitude may be a way of expressing that pain, though misdirected. That’s no excuse at all to act unprofessionally – but I find it helps me emphasise with unreasonably confrontational behaviour. If someone is confident, secure, content, purposeful – they generally won’t treat others poorly. Sounds like Nellie/Amanda is lacking love and acceptance somewhere in her life. Sorry you had a hard time during a medical appointment! Absolutely unnecessary. But you reacted in the best faith and as always that’s something to model Julie. Hope all is well post appointment.

    Liked by 1 person

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