Yes, No and Maybe ‎

Chayei Sora

Many times there are three possible answers to a given question: yes, no and maybe. Under most ‎circumstances, a negative responsive is the least desirable outcome. Yet, while the third option definitely ‎has advantages over a straight refusal, it too has its downside. ‎

When you receive a “maybe” there is a demonstration of interest from the other party, their lack of ‎affirmation does not constitute a refusal. They are not ready to commit at this juncture and there are a ‎host of reasons why people fail to commit. It is possible that they are embarrassed to say no, or they have ‎not fully considered the implications of saying yes. Therefore after careful consideration they leave the ‎front door open for a later possible agreement. But, at the same time they are leaving the possibility of ‎exit through the back door. There is always that niggling chance they may scupper the deal. ‎

Occasionally being in limbo is more burdensome than a definite answer. The fact that options remain open ‎can actually impede future growth and potential success. When one has received a depressing response, ‎despite the negativity in its wake, the concreteness allows both parties to move forward to new and ‎hopefully better options; however the “maybe” response arrests any further development. This is the ‎simple logic backing the phrase “A fast no is better than a slow maybe”.‎

It is sometimes the responsibility of the effective intermediary to push for a no. Strange as this might ‎seem, a successful pro-active deal maker will from time to time, push for conclusion which is not to your ‎liking. Eliezer, servant of Avrohom is a shining example of a productive negotiator.‎

Eliezer engages his matchmaking skills in trying to secure Rivkah as a match for Yitzchok. To orchestrate ‎the arrangement and convince her family, he presents to her father Besual and brother Lavan the omen he ‎personally prepared for selecting Yitzchak’s mate; an omen which would highlight the right suitor. To be ‎eligible to enter the house of Avrohom, the prospective woman would have to be of a certain caliber, the ‎designated test served to prove that she was appropriately qualified. Eliezer continues to detail how Rivkah ‎satisfied the prerequisite requirements. ‎

In reaching his closing statement Eliezer begs for honesty and compassion “And now, if you will do loving ‎kindness and truth with my master” he says, “tell me and if not, tell me”. This is no redundancy. He is ‎desperate to avoid leaving things hanging, ‘tell me’ if you accept and ‘tell me’ if you reject, Eliezer is fine ‎with a yes or a no, but don’t leave me in limbo.

All of us set off on projects both physical and spiritual, which start to hang. No further progress occurs and ‎more frequently, no further efforts are invested. The time comes to shut down the operation and begin ‎something new. This strategy of certainty will promote growth. ‎

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