Asking vs. telling, performance anxiety, and gender

Today, our studio teacher asked if M would be available for a short lesson with a new guitar  teacher MacPhail is considering hiring. I was inclined to say yes, but I gave myself time to think about it.

I decided to ask M what she thought. She said no pretty emphatically. And I realized that I probably shouldn’t have phrased it as a question, because (as it turned out) I didn’t really want to give M the freedom to say no. I wanted to insist that she do it.

Why did I ask instead of tell? Because (I think) although I wanted to insist, I felt conflicted about it. M already has long days on Saturday, with a group lesson in the morning and a private one at lunchtime (and swimming in between), and this proposed new lesson would happen close to her normal rest time. And at the end of the long day, M’s not likely to have a great time in a lesson with a new teacher.

Still, I didn’t immediately accept or reject M’s “no.” Instead, I asked about why she didn’t want to do it.
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