When is teasing the right thing to do?
October 3, 2017

Maybe you’ve heard stories of people who tease other people until they cry. This isn’t one of those.

Teasing’s also a method of getting an answer from someone who wasn’t planning on giving you one. You just…tease it out.

The other day I had a second appointment with someone I hope to be working with for a long time. She was an hour late. Her apology made it sound like I’d been waiting ten or fifteen minutes. This is not how I like to work. I didn’t tell her it made me wonder if we should be working together after all. I asked if it was the kind of thing that would likely happen again. That way I can plan for it, maybe bring other work to do in the lobby, whatever. I was gentle and careful.

Can you guess what happened? It was like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine. The woman told me what had gone wrong in such detail I couldn’t help but ache for her. Not only that, but she made me feel like the way I’d asked was a work of art.

As to why she hadn’t offered it to begin with? “I didn’t want to bash one client to another.”

Wow.

It reminded me all over again that having a good reason for wondering something doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t have a good reason for hesitating to share. Conversation is a delicate dance. It’s hard work and reason enough to give thanks for another day on the planet -- for the chance to get it right.