The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Staying in Control

One of the kindest words in English is “no”.

It’s also, for many, one of the most frightening words.

I remember a professor to whom I had sent a mail but never could get an answer.

After a while, I tried to call him, and we had a very interesting and kind conversation.

I thought I had learned that he preferred to be called, but when I tried to call him again, he took up the phone to immediately hang it up again. I tried a few times, assuming that I had been calling at the wrong moment. It happened several times.

I went back to sending a mail and got a prompt response.

He had decided that for him it was more convenient to let me continue to interrupt him by ringing him. He also left it up to me to do all the work to understand the situation, that is how to come to the answer I needed.

He wasn’t willing to take up the phone and say that he is busy. He couldn’t say no.

But I’m sure that for him the rationale was that it allowed him to stay in control of his time.

That was more important than being kind.



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