Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

I'm too busy to help an old friend; what should I do?

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by DID expect that...didn’t you?]

An old friend asked me to compose a few “Dear Abby”-type questions for you, but I’m kind of buried under with work. I’m coaching five students through their dissertations and theses in addition to my regular teaching responsibilities. What should I do? –Saul

Dear Saul:
    Well, you should be very be glad you have old friends...they are critical to your health and happiness. Now, acknowledge in your mind whatever debts, large or small, you may have to that friend...we are waiting....Okay...the debts are NOT large enough to make you stop your work to do a task you feel is less important than your work. (From your phrasing, it seems that “regular teaching” plus “coaching five” is enough to make your work “more than enough.” Those of us who are not in your field bow to your experience.)
    It seems this request is not gonna be acted on, pal or you should politely and sweetly email or orally tell him no, but thanks for asking. No need to offer excuses or explanations…this request was not large. Save the heavy lifting for “I need your kidney.” What is important, is that you consider the request and respond, definitively, saving the other person any undue confusion or waiting.
    Then I suggest you put the task in the back of your brain where you might be surprised to find it sometime—maybe in the summer? Or, do it sometime instead of some yucky or hard "got to" that you prefer to procrastinate over?

[We would really like more questions to answer, so send ’em in….]
Copyright © 2014 by Susan C. Price

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  1. THANK YOU, SUSAN, for advising this old friend of mine who was too busy to help me. Whatever he does, I forgive him and will hold nothing against him.

  2. Susan that was good advise you gave Saul. Now I know when Morris ask me for something I can just write you and forget about it, Morris better hope this doesn't catch on.[smile]

  3. Ed, I love your comment! And I trust that my good & forgiving nature will protect me from being taken advantage of by my friends.

  4. just so we are clear, Ed did send me something and i was confused..until i realized it was the completion of something he had promised you, Morris

    1. Ha, I don't feel any clearer myself <smile>. I think I may have been involved only because Ed at first intended that I would forward for him his private message to you. But I suggested he just send it to you direct, which he did.