Professor Dieter Zapf, a researcher at Frankfurt University, Germany, said fake friendliness led to depression, stress and hit the immune system. According to the German professor, forcing staff to be happy and polite all the time is likely to make them sick. He believes that the people most at risk are receptionists, air flight attendants, salesmen, call centre operators, waiters and other workers in close contact with the public.
This can trigger more serious ailments such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. It has been found that every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings there are negative consequences.
In order to reach the conclusions, for over two years, 4,000 volunteers including shop workers and flight attendants, were put in an imaginary call centre and abused by clients. Some could answer back, while others had to stay polite and friendly. Those allowed to stand up to clients had a rapid heartbeat for a brief period, but those who had to remain friendly found their hearts were still racing long after the client had hung up.
Researchers decided that being friendly against one’s own will causes nothing but stress. Prof Zapf has said that we are all able to rein in our emotions, but it becomes difficult to do this over a protracted period as cabin attendants are forced to on long-haul flights. These people need space away from the passengers where they can be on their own and let feelings run free.