How To Negotiate


Once you realize that essentially everything is a negotiation, either and both with self and others, negotiation becomes a lot easier.

Courtesy of Soulful Pizza


You have a relationship with almost everything and everyone you encounter. These might be micro-transactions, or deeply connected interactions over a period of time, but they are relationships, nonetheless.

Negotiation.

Everything then in a sense is a negotiation with self and others, because relationships require negotiation. Spouses negotiate about what restaurant to go to on a Friday night, as well as how to raise children. You might negotiate with salespeople in terms of contracts and payments. You negotiate with yourself, your grocery list, your budget, and the items themselves when you wander the isles of a grocery store.

In weight loss, there is an idea that you have a relationship with food; that it is more than just fuel for your body. I tend to lean this way and approach weight loss from a more abstract, psychological perspective. Food is just food, but it is more than food. Ultimately, pizza just sits there being pizza. And it isn’t until you label it as “bad” or “good” that it becomes something else. But “pizza night” might be a long standing tradition in your home. Pizza night might be rife with childhood memories, laughter, and maybe a rented movie from your local video store.

You’re eating pizza but you are also negotiating with a memory.

Have The Arguments.

Everything is a negotiation, either and both with self and others. But in relationships, both with food and with people, you might be tempted to go along to get along. It might be easier to just eat the pizza than to count the calories.

Not having arguments, however, sometimes allows arguments to compound over time. You pour a little appeasement or passivity into your cup here and there, and eventually your cup is overflowing. You stir up moments where you didn’t speak your mind. There is a realization that you should have had the argument about what color to paint the wall in the bedroom. You should have said something about the incorrect price of the pound of fruit. You should have argued about where to eat dinner, or what to do about little Johnny getting a D in math class.

It is important to discriminate, of course, and decide what is worth arguing about and what can be let go. But too much letting go means you don’t have a grip on anything you find important or valuable. You might begin to resent not the things themselves, but what they represent.

If you fail to negotiate with yourself about the pizza, you might end up feeling some guilt or shame for enjoying one slice too many. Similarly, the purple wall you didn’t argue about represents an argument you didn’t have, which might breed resentment over the course of time. You’re angry that your spouse picked a terrible color, but worse, you’re angry with yourself for not insisting that purple would clash with the rest of the room. And you inevitably project your frustration with yourself outward toward others.

That wall will forever be a reminder and a representation of a host of other arguments you didn’t have.

Strong Relationships.

Strong relationships require negotiation and argument, but arguments should be had with the intent of peace and understanding. These moments in time, these painted walls, these pizzas — they are containers of truth that extend beyond the physical. And it might be dramatic to think of pizza as something metaphysical, but having the negotiation with yourself or others at the forefront of the moment is better than wishing you had spoken up.

If you’d prefer veggie lovers over meat lovers and a Disney movie over Terminator 2, because you’re sticking to a calorie budget and prefer to not have nightmares – don’t be afraid to say so.

So whether you’re making it “a Blockbuster night” and grabbing a pizza, deciding what color to paint walls, or what to do about Jonny’s grades – have the argument. Negotiate. Because once you realize that essentially everything is a negotiation, either and both with self and others, negotiation becomes a lot easier.

And once negotiation becomes easier, it becomes easier to get your needs met in an assertive and proactive way, rather than be reactive and aggressive later in in life about every little moment your needs were not met.