I’m just gonna come out and say this. Sometimes we get into disagreements that turn into arguments and we don’t know why. Call it selfishness, or pride, or wanting to stand up for yourself or whatever, but sometimes it just feels impossible to understand the other side. I can remember something like this happening with some roommates about a decade ago.
Josh and Eric (Those aren’t their real names) were pretty nice guys. We had all come together through Craigslist and somehow found ourselves in a pretty decent situation. We ended up living in our own spacious rooms in Philly for I think about $450 a month or something like that.
Josh was a lawyer from the city that just got out of law school and Eric was a country boy going to med school in the city. We were all a little different, but we found a way to get along…at first.
We all shared one bathroom and we had come to find out that Eric has less than acceptable hygiene. Mind you, this is the wanna be doctor, so it was ultra nast when we would go in to find the grossest sink and tub in the world every morning.
We were young so unfortunately, we were lacking in problem-solving in the real world. So we did what most other people would probably do in our situation…bad mouth him behind his back.
Josh and I formed a great bond bad mouthing Eric over the months. We’d talk about his funky smells and how we kept running out of dishes because he would just leave his plates in his unusually dark room after he ate. It even got to the point where Josh’s girlfriend got in on the action.
One day, while Josh and I were debating on who should buy the cleaning supplies this time (Eric, of course, never cleaned) we started talking about how we needed to buy dishes again and we got into how dirty Eric was. Josh’s girlfriend was getting in on it too. Then as I was walking down to get the list together, Eric opens up the door and just starts going off.
Oh, sh*t we didn’t even know he was home!
Now it was just weird. We couldn’t do anything to take back what was said. From then on, Eric started acting really weird (wouldn’t you though?) and we all moved out shortly after that.
It doesn’t have to be this way…
Have you ever been in a sitch like that? Where somebody got on your nerves and all you did instead of confronting them was talk about them behind their back. Or maybe you’ve tried to ignore the situation until you were so upset you couldn’t take it anymore?
Either way, whether you’re scared of conflict or just have no idea how to actually deal with it, you are going to have to eventually deal with it if you are trying to live the good life.
The point is that sometimes you are going to run across people who have a different perspective than you. Most see that as a bad thing, but it’s actually the opposite. You see, the more information you have about something the better your decision-making ability will be.
I don’t have time to go into all the techniques, but there are a ton of books out on this subject. Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one that comes to mind as well as another book that I’ve been reading called Crucial Conversations which gets right down to it at says that the most powerful thing in the world is the ability to commit to a dialogue.
If you want to know more about how we can be more effective in our negotiations, I will be chatting about it more here in my daily email throughout the week. And of course, if you have any questions, you can comment below or email me if the question is more personal.
Thanks for reading. Talk soon…
Jerry “the negotiator” Washington