Updated: Apr 15, 2022
Negotiation is a way we can via discussion and a pragmatic approach attempt to create a conscious agreement that could work well to resolve a disagreement or conflict within a relationship.
Most people are not taught how to negotiate from a place of creating a win win solution in relationships. Contrary to belief, negotiation isn’t about how you can win in a situation and another loses. It's about how you can consciously discuss possibilities, options and create a plan of action that may create a greater outcome for everyone involved.
It’s looking at a way that both parties feel happy with the newly found agreement and recognise that a fair and equal strategy can be trialled for a period of time to see if it works.
A conscious negotiation should always contain an agreement to review the situation after an appropriate number of days, weeks or months to see if the approach is working or not. And if not then an agreement should be made to lovingly review without blame what isn't working or being stuck to and what else might be viable instead?
The 3 most common negotiating mistakes couples make are:
Failure to prepare before the negotiation with a partner
Caving in too quickly to avoid tension or to keep the peace
Stubbornly pushing too hard for your own solution
Conflict is inevitable for growth within relationships although many people would like to avoid this as much as is possible. Most people are afraid of conflict because they lack good negotiation skills. Communication skills tend to really improve when good negotiation skills are deepened and developed and a greater solution can be found and agreed upon. Promises are not the best form of agreement as they tend to be broken easily and can be made out of habit. Whereas a conscious well thought out and discussed negotiation can work to strengthen a relationship for life and deepen and develop love, connection, self-esteem and trust.
Effective negotiations for complex relationship issues will require openness about yourself, curiosity about your partners issues and an element of emotional risk along with good listening skills.
When an agreement is found that ‘feels’ right it will resonate with you. It will feel fair, equal, and move you forward and out of a problem proactively. Sometimes you may need time to consider the options of the conversation and come up with other alternatives that may work in order to find the 'right approach'. Feeling congruent with what you are both proposing to do about reaching a better outcome will often come from the heart and will feel light in nature.
No one ever taught us how to make great negotiations at school or in life, unless we have learnt 'how to negotiate' in relationships. Our parents and caregivers often didn’t know how to effectively negotiate and would make and break promises or at the other end of the scale, carry them out despite their suffering in silence or resentment.
A flexible fair agreement that keeps both parties happy that will be later reviewed for it's effectiveness would be a much better solution than making a promise under pressure that we have no intentions of keeping just to get what we want in the moment. Many couples agree to things just to keep the peace or to end the discussion as quickly as possible often giving up before a negotiation has even barely got underway. This will without doubt cause further conflict and result in feelings of resentment and a reluctance to stick to the agreed arrangement later down the line.
People often enter into a negotiation feeling that they don't have a choice, or that if they don't agree with their partners terms then they cannot have what they desire or they will lose the relationship altogether. This is not always the case, often with greater communication skills, reason, flexibility and equal behaviour both parties can work towards a common goal and continue to review things for its efficacy regularly. What's working can be continued and what's not working would need to be acknowledged without blame and a willingness to practice another alternative approach to meet the desired outcome would need to be chosen.
A non-negotiable for many couples are thing like core values, integrity, religion and trust. You can negotiate on your interests but almost rarely would it work for people to go against their core values or their integrity.
There are times when despite a heart to heart communication that there is a discovery that the two parties wouldn't be being true to themselves if they desperately wanted different outcomes. One or both parties may decide that the original outcome is no longer desired. Or they may discover that the greatest outcome is to cancel previous arrangements and set about creating new ones alone parting ways.
If a couple discover this then a new understanding that all parties involved are now looking for something different can raise a new perspective of why things hadn't been working out in the first place. This often allows for greater kindness and empathy when the truth is discovered after a negotiation has been attempted, rather than concluded and avoided without even trying.
Learning more about negotiation skills in relationships and how you could maximise your negotiation skills could truly change the way you do relationship in all aspects of your life forever!
Never give up without attempting to negotiate for something greater! With Love Haylee x