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Exercise 7

For as long as anyone could remember, Rockland Middle School had great school dances. This year’s

Dance Committee needed all the help it could get to keep up the tradition.

As Committee Chairpersons, Denise Dunlap and Jonah Clark had to make decisions and get everyone working quickly and efficiently. There was certainly no time for disagreements between them. But just one week before the fall Welcome Dance, that is exactly what happened.

Jonah phoned Denise to ask her to help call the people in charge of decorations, refreshments, tickets, and clean‐up. Denise had just finished talking to each of them at school that day, and thought Jonah wanted her to call them again. She didn’t think that was necessary. “They know what to do,” she responded with annoyance.

Jonah felt angry and said, “I was just making a suggestion!” “No, you weren’t,” blurted Denise. “You just like to order everybody around, including me!” “What?!” said Jonah. “Wait a minute‐no, I don’t.

But we’ve got to talk to these people to see if they’re organized for next week. I’ll call them if you can’t.” He hung up the phone in anger.

Denise began to cry. She didn’t want to, but the tears just came. Her older sister Liza came in and asked her what was wrong. She tried to explain. Liza asked, “Did Jonah know you already talked to everyone?” “I think so,” said Denise. “He was right there at lunch when I was talking to everybody.” “Well, maybe he didn’t,” suggested Liza. “Why don’t you call him back?”

Denise decided to take her sister’s suggestion. There was no way she and Jonah could make it through a whole year of planning if they didn’t get along.

Sure enough, Jonah didn’t know she’d talked to everyone, and both of them realized that if they were going to work together, they really needed to be very clear with each other to avoid problems and remain friends.