Whether you're trying to come to terms with your partner, a family member, or a co-worker, the process will be similar. Start by knowing each person's position on the issue. Then work together to find different ways to solve the problem. It can also help to avoid some common obstacles that prevent a successful deal, such as being disrespectful or focusing on winning. Adopt some practical communication strategies and you will find that you will resolve disagreements more easily and quickly.
Part 1 of 3: Define Your Posture
Step 1. Put yourself in the other person's shoes
Before you start negotiating, it is important to know where the other person is on the issue. Try to see things from the other person's point of view by putting yourself in their shoes. Imagine what the experience is like for the other person and what might be driving their actions.
Let's say you want to go on vacation for a month during the summer, but your partner prefers to take smaller vacations throughout the year. Take a moment to consider their reasons. Perhaps it is more difficult for her to take time from work to take a month-long vacation, or perhaps she would like to use some of her vacation time to visit family during winter break
Step 2. Actively listen by looking at the person and eliminating distractions
To better understand what the other person's point is, you have to listen effectively. When the other person talks, really listen to them. If you can, make eye contact with her. Don't look at your phone or play with objects.
If you lose track of what the other person told you, ask them to repeat it. You can say something like, “I'm sorry, I was distracted thinking about what you said that I didn't hear the last part. You can repeat it?"
Step 3. Ask open questions
Get an idea of what the other person wants from the agreement. You can figure out her goals and make her feel like you are listening by asking open-ended questions. These questions allow the other person to expand their ideas.
Ask questions like, "why do you feel that way about my suggestion?" and "how do you think we can get to the middle of the matter?"
Step 4. Communicate your needs assertively
The other person cannot read your mind, so you have to express your needs. Stating your needs includes speaking clearly and concisely rather than beating around the bush.
- For example, you can say to your best friend, “I feel like we never spend time together anymore. Can we check our schedules and try to find more time to go out? It would mean a lot to me. "
- Use first-person sentences to help you speak from your perspective or feelings assertively without offending someone. For example, you can say, "When I come home from work, I usually feel stressed every time I see that the kitchen is still dirty."
Step 5. Be clear about non-negotiable matters
There are some aspects of your life that are not subject to negotiation. They are the subjects in which you will not give in at all, such as your religion, your values or even sentimental elements. Use a calm voice and good tact to explain non-negotiable topics so you don't come across as rude or offensive.
- If the other person tries to change your mind on a non-negotiable issue, communicate the limit. Instead of yelling, “I told you I wasn't going to work this weekend!” You could say, “I'm afraid I can't work this weekend. It's my daughter's birthday and I don't miss my children's birthdays”.
- Set boundaries with your boss, your friends, and your family. Enforcing these limits will help you establish what behaviors you will and will not tolerate.
Part 2 of 3: Propose Solutions
Step 1. Find a common ground
Find out what points you both agree on. Doing so helps maintain a sense of cooperation on the matter. It also helps to reach some kind of agreement.
For example, you might say to your spouse, “We both want to move to an area where the kids can go to good schools. It seems that a low crime rate is more important to you, while cultural diversity is more important to me. How about looking for quality schools in reasonably diverse neighborhoods with low crime rates?
Step 2. Take turns
Close relationships often involve more collaboration than those between relatively strangers. If you're trying to come to terms with your partner, a family member, a friend, or a co-worker with whom you have friendship terms, try the turn-taking method.
- For example, if both you and your spouse can't agree on which movie to watch, you can take turns watching both - one person's preference comes first, the other's second.
- If both you and your coworker are trying to decide who will buy lunch, you might say, "I'll go get lunch this time, but it's your turn next."
- If it's just as important (or not important) as who goes first, flip a coin.
Step 3. Offer a trade
Look at the agreement as if it were an exchange of gifts. Basically, this method works with the mentality of "If you give me that, I'll give you this." Offer something of relatively equal or desirable value to the other person in exchange for what they give you.
- For example, if you and your roommate are arguing about who does what to do, you can both decide what your least favorite chore is (for example, mopping, doing laundry, doing dishes, etc.). Then trade: you do his least favorite chore and he does yours.
- Remember to be flexible in the exchange. Let the other person negotiate. Compromising, after all, usually requires both parties to give up something or consider the other's needs.
Step 4. Do a trial period
You may have a suggestion about how something can be done better, but the other person is reluctant to jump on board. If this happens, suggest that they try it your way for a short trial period. If you don't like it, they can change their focus at the end of the test.
Let's say you read an article that suggests disciplining your children in a certain way, but your spouse isn't convinced. You could say, “How about we try it for two weeks? If it works, we will continue to do so; if not, we will test your way. It's okay?"
Part 3 of 3: Make the process more even
Step 1. Stay focused on the solution
Once you know each other's position, there is no reason to look back and focus on the problem itself. Instead, focus on how you can solve it. This minimizes the opportunity for the discussion to get out of control and lead to an unpleasant disagreement.
If either person starts to get mortified by the issue, offer a subtle reminder of the solution. It may help to say something like, “Hey, let's try to focus on solving the problem. It's okay?"
Step 2. Respect the other person
Compromising becomes practically impossible when you are angry or aggressive. To make sure the agreement is successful, try to show respect for the other person and their ideas, even if you don't agree with them.
Don't insult her or use words like "stupid" or "useless" to describe her ideas. Denigrating the other person will only make them stick more firmly to their point of view and hinder your ability to come to an agreement
Step 3. Take a deep breath to keep anger or tension under control
Even if it's only for a few minutes, take time to calm down if you feel irritated or tense. Try to take a deep breath while silently counting to yourself.
- Take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. Then breathe out slowly for a count of 8. Repeat the cycle until you feel like you have more control.
- If you can't do it on your own, try doing a deep breathing exercise when the person speaks. It will help you stay calm and prevent you from interrupting.
Step 4. Be realistic
There are good and bad agreements, so make sure that what you ask of the other person is actually reasonable. Ask yourself some questions about the commitment you want from the other person. Is what you ask feasible for her? Do you ask the other person to change who they are?
Let's say you like absolutely everything in your room to be neat while your partner is comfortable with clutter. You may have to consider that you cannot share the same space, especially if one of you is not willing to alter your expectations
Step 5. Get rid of the expectation of winning or losing
Each of you will have to make compromises to reach an agreement. If you enter the discussion hoping to "win," your behavior will not seem approachable or cooperative. Trying to win the disagreement is not the important thing. What is important is that both meet your individual needs.
Don't look at the situation from a win or lose perspective. Instead, think of the agreement as a positive way for the two of you to come to an agreement
Step 6. Write down the agreement once you are both happy with it
Writing down the agreement will ensure that you both understand it clearly. This can help prevent misunderstandings or mistakes in the future. Both of you should have a copy of the agreement or post it in a place where you can both see it, such as a refrigerator or bulletin board.