Many years ago, I played squash regularly with a young woman who was on our university team. She was an outstanding player: quick and lithe about the court, with plenty of guile but a deceptive power in her strokes. When we first played, she flattered me by complimenting me on my own strokes. But she flattered only to defeat me, again and again, until I was drowning in excuses for why I couldn’t beat her. Until the defeats became monotonous. Until, worse, I could see the respect fading i