Tell me your problem. I will not help you.

Tell me your problem. I will not help you.

Perhaps an experiment can be interesting or important and still not mean anything. Perhaps not. In any case, I do not know what this experiment means.

I will tell you what I did in my experiment and some things that happened, from my perspective.

I will make you the same promise that I make on my sign: this essay will not help you. If you think that reading this essay will help you, you will be disappointed.

I’m sorry. I love you. Thank you.

 


 

A woman sat down. She told me how frustrated she was with her job as a Scrum Master. She cried a little. She said, “I hate people who cry in public.” Then she left.

 


 

My sign says, “Tell me your problem.” One problem is sufficient.

My sign says, “I will not help you.” This promise is paramount.  If either you or I expect me to help you, then we will both be plunged into a state of sin.

The tape is over my mouth so I can hear you.

 


 

A man sat down. He appointed himself my co-presenter. When people walked up to us, he explained to them what he thought I was doing and why I was doing it. Then he left.

 


 

I listened to their problem as if I loved them. I responded naturally as they spoke, but without using my voice.

 


 

A woman sat down. She told me how angry she was with the people at her last job and how foolishly and unfairly she had been treated. She told me about something she did at the conference that she was proud of. Then she left.

 


 

When I gestured at the chair next to me, inviting people to sit down, several people told me, “I don’t have any problems.”

 


 

A woman said, “So… how does this work?” I pointed to “Tell me your problem.” She said, “And then what happens?” I pointed to “I will not help you.” She sat down and told me her problem. Then she left.

 


 

Many people asked if they could take my picture. That was OK with me.

 


 

A man sat down. He told me that when he read the conference’s code of conduct, he saw himself in there. He seemed sad about this. He said he loved what I was doing.  Then he left.

 


 

I listened to their problem. When I wanted to speak, I imagined saying one of three things, whichever was appropriate: “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, and “Thank you”.  Then I kept listening.

 


 

A man sat down. He listened to the sounds in the hallway for a few minutes, occasionally describing what he heard. Then he left.

 


 

Many people smiled at me. I smiled back.

 

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