My dentist’s office is a good illustration of the absolute madness of persistence.
I stopped going to the dentist in 2011 when I lost my health insurance (or…I quit my job so I no longer received health insurance). Last year, I received a birthday email from the dentist, which, while appreciated because I’m a little lame and lonely, was clearly a ploy to get me back.
Since then, I’ve received numerous reminder emails about how it’s time to schedule my next check-up. I never reply. I never call to schedule an appointment. Yet I keep getting these emails.
Clearly the dentist can’t take a hint.
Several times I considered writing back: “Yo, dentist, I never want to see you again–why can’t you understand this simple concept? If I don’t reply, it’s not encouragement to try harder. It means I don’t want to hear from you anymore.”
But I never responded because I didn’t want it to somehow be misconstrued as acknowledgment that this tactic was okay. It’s not. You can’t just pester someone until they give in to what you want. You can’t persuade someone to return to you. You can’t persist until they have no choice but to see you again.
It’s the definition of crazy, right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Persistence is insane, and it never works.
Yesterday I got another birthday email. In unrelated news, I’m about to finally have dental insurance again and am already planning to schedule my next appointment.