Let’s Talk About: Negotiation

boat in the ocean

Remember when we talked about Sticky Sweet Negotiation?  And seven steps to radical self-awareness?  Well, I talked to some of my ladies about how they find compromise with their misters.  For piles of good advice – read on!

Negotiation is my least favorite word. Obviously I’d rather just have things my way but in order to co-habitate nicely with a male I’ve had to develop a respect for the nasty n-word. Here’s a few negotiation tactics that I use…
* Choose your battles. Don’t lose it over dirty dishes when it’s general respect that’s the issue.
* Realize that it goes both ways and that you will have to compromise also.
* Use deadlines. Give each other a time frame in which improve on the situation and then reassess.
* Be rational. You can’t demand weekly roses and candle lit dinners.
Carly Jacobs: writer, jewelry designer, owner/editor Smaggle.com.

If a relationship is completely free of compromise, it’s an absolute certainty that one party is miserable. But compromise doesn’t always mean sacrifice; It just means learning to negotiate with your partner so that you both feel as comfortable, rewarded, and valued as possible.

I’ve known for two years that blogging and consulting should be my full-time career, but until recently my husband was convinced that I needed to continue working my day job. He’d mentioned socking away 6 months’ salary before quitting, earning nearly as much from freelance as I do from my office gig, and other things that made me feel my goal was impossible. Recently, I told him we needed to consider the matter again. I said that I knew it was scary, that I knew we’d have to make budgetary adjustments, but that it was extremely important to my overall happiness to take this chance. I asked him to trust me, and to consider this an adventure that we’d have together. We discussed how he would need to bear the brunt of our financial burden, and how I – while working from home – could pick up more errand and chore duties to create balance. Not an arrangement that would suit all couples, but it suits us. I leave my day job September 2, and as time has worn on my husband’s doubts and trepidation have all but evaporated. Now, he is nearly as excited as I am about our new adventure.
Sally McGraw: writer, stylist, owner/editor of  Already Pretty

Not only is my husband a master at negotiation (read: charm), but he did graduate work on the subject. The number one rule that he’s taught me: Know your limitations before going into the negotiation, and stick to them. Otherwise, you’ll wind up disappointed by the outcome, or worse—resentful of the other person. Rule number two: Remove emotion from the equation. In other words, fight fairly. Nowhere do we put these rules to the test more frequently than in a relationship. Whether you’re negotiating who’s taking out the trash or how much time to spend with the in-laws, it’s imperative to remain respectful of your partner and your own desires to ensure a positive outcome.
Elizabeth Dehn: writer, editor/owner BeautyBets.com

For me, it’s about avoiding unnecessary conflict.  My motto is “go with the flow.”  That’s not to say that I never get upset – I do – but I really try to let most things go.  Most of the time, I try to leave emotion out of things and not take things too personally.  It’s not always easy, but it’s much easier than getting into arguments all the time.  I’m really a peace and stability lover.  I like things happy!  Luckily, my fiancé is exactly the same.  We rarely argue.

Also, I think the important thing is to be in a relationship with someone who understands you.  If you’re very compatible with your significant other, things just tend to work out. There aren’t a lot of negotiations that need to take place.  Many times, you’re both on the same page.  Almost all of our arguments are about misunderstandings, not about a difference in opinion.

If we do have to negotiate on something (which usually has to do with what movie we’re going to see), we compromise.  I get to pick the restaurant and he picks the movie or I agree to see his movie if he agrees to see mine.  (As for me seeing a movie I really don’t want to see, see paragraph 1 J)  We also sometimes disagree about restaurants or other small things.  We simply talk about it and come up with a (typically fun) compromise.
Angie Rupert: owner of Lucky Marketing Firm

1) Your needs are important but not more important than the other party’s. Compromise and negotiation start with a willingness to see the other perspective then explore creative ways to have their needs match yours.

2) Rush decisions are not always the best decisions. It’s ok to take a step back from the negotiating seat and sleep on a scenario. Perhaps when you re-evaluate the terms the next day, you’ll find a better way to satisfy both sides.

3) Know when to walk away. Sometimes, the winning solution is to walk away without burning a bridge or escalating the scenario. Chances are, if two parties aren’t able to compromise, someone’s losing in the deal, which never establishes a relationship built on positive framework.

It’s not hard to win by negotiating if you’re willing to compromise.
–  Jaclyn Mullen, branding and social media expert


I’m a Los Angeles based relationship + life coach. I offer a sharp combination of keen insight, know-how + intuition.   Want more life + dating advice?  Jump on my newsletter.   Interested in laser focused one-on-one treatment?   Hire me.  You won’t regret it.

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© 2011 Danielle Dowling