The Art of Karen-ing: A Self Care Endeavour

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Sometimes it’s nice to Karen it up.

I’ve had some rough phone calls at work in the past…

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

I’m a big fan of character study and understanding how someone would do something if they possessed particular traits. I’m sure the way I would do something would be much different than how an older person would do it.

An example is figuring out how to make an origami swan. My first port of call would be to look up a YouTube video and try to follow the steps of a tutorial. An older person may decide to buy a book with the same information (although it might be more curated and edited) to learn how to make the swan.

Both of these methods are valid, but generational differences may lead us to possibly take different paths to get to the same solution. That’s why character study is amazing. You get to see things from another person’s perspective and understand why they would do particular things.

Who’s Karen? Are They a Friend of Yours?

Now why have I mentioned “Karen”? Well, as you may know, “Karen” is a term for a person who always wants to speak to the manager. They can be quite demanding, incredibly rude and entitled when it comes to customer service and hospitality.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with complaining when something isn’t right, but there is a way to do it politely and with understanding. Karen doesn’t understand this. They think they are right because the customer IS always right, no matter what.

The Difference Between “Character” and “Character Study”

Some people don’t realise they are Karen. I’m not Karen, at least I hope not, but I try my best to be nice to the people on the other end of the phone, email inbox or store counter. But there are times where I want to be someone else or act like someone else, either to joke around with friends and family, or to amuse myself. I always spare the hearts of those in customer service – no need to stress them out more.

Writing a terrible review for a product you will never post online, making silly quips about the quality of a service, or describing delicious home-cooked food as bland are great ways to make light of a bad or odd situation, dependent on who you’re with.

It doesn’t always have to be “Karen”. I sometimes fall into other characters like “Gary the Scaffolder”, “Millicent the Estranged Heiress” or “Martin the Small Business Owner”. I use funny voices too, just to have some fun with reading or chatting. Anything that could be seen as a departure from who I am, is a wonderful adventure to embark on.

Karen seems to be a horrible creature to act like, but knowing that that’s not really who I am is comforting. It makes me feel a little better about the mistakes I’ve made and the people I’ve hurt, because I understand I did something wrong and have subsequently apologised for it.

You may not always get an acceptance for your apology, but learning how to extend grace to yourself; if you truly are sorry, is an art to be mastered. And we all need a bit of healing for issues that have cropped up in the past.

A Fast Food Take-away Message

Acting like someone else can actually help with tough situations, like receiving a package that was completely destroyed and leaking soap everywhere. Let’s just say I’ll definitely think twice about ordering washing-up liquid online in the future.

But the process of putting yourself into a character helps to expel any angry feelings (and words), before you unleash them on an unsuspecting phone operator. So not only is it therapeutic, it saves lives too.

I don’t want to ruin someone’s day, especially someone I care about. Even the people you come into contact with briefly may only have a singular experience of you as a person. So a little “hope you have a nice day”, a “take care” or a “stay safe” can go a long way for those in customer service or anyone you fleetingly encounter.

We’re here for a good time, not a long time, so we might as well have a bit of fun and spread as much kindness and positivity as we can. If not for the sake of human decency, then for the sake of karma.

So yes, be a Karen when you want to, but make sure people are in on the joke and are OK after the fact. And if you’ve done it for real, send an apology and find a way to make it right – because that’s what a customer service agent would have done for you.


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By Ade

An aspiring creator in way too many areas, Ade loves to try something new, as long as it doesn't interfere with the balance of the universe too much. Trying to take each day as it comes, Ade edits videos for YouTube, occasionally records podcasts, and writes with strange mannerisms to entertain the world.