When Negotiating With A Friend

Carefully! Why do I say that? Because when negotiating with a friend you are dealing with both the issue and a friendship. The friendship is an overlay that should temper the passions in a benign negotiation but may actually explode many minor altercations into major events. Why? Because a friendship should be more important that most issues that come up between two people.

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How are you supposed to win the argument without impairing the relationship? Tough question!

What's Your Goal?

It is seldom wise to fight with the goal merely to win. When negotiating with a friend that approach will enable you to threaten the friendship as part of you strategy to win. It is especially important when handling an altercation with a friend that you seek to resolve the issue as much or more than make your point. The ultimate goal should to come to a mutually agreeable decision that both of you can live with so things can get back to normal between the two of you.

Define the Issue

If an argument between friends escalates it is usually because it's not about the issue at hand. That is, it is usually an undercurrent of another issue that has found its way into this particular argument and those feelings of hostility or resentment have surfaced unexpectedly.

If you take the time to calmly define what the issues are and stay focused on them it will be easier to resolve the situation without being drawn into a larger battle ground. That said, should you find yourself having to do this a lot then the two of you should find a way to uncover the bigger issue and deal with it.

Body Language Can Trip You Up

Your tone, temperament, choice of words and delivery style all reflect what you are thinking. If you are not speaking with conviction your non-verbal signals may well trip you up and reveal your true intent or feelings. Sitting with your arms crossed makes you look cold, uncaring and closed off. Especially when negotiating with a friend try to establish a feeling of involvement and intimacy and, most important, commitment to resolving this issue amicably.

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You also should be sure not to be so eager to respond that you interrupt other person when he or she is speaking. You should be listening; not trying to come up with your comeback!

Don't Make It Personal

If your argument is weak, resorting to personal attacks and name-calling when negotiating with a friend will just end up hurting the other's feelings, not resolving the issue at hand, and, more likely, the both of you will say things you do not mean and possibly impairing the friendship long term or permanently. Ask yourself, "Is this issue really worth your friendship if it gets out of hand?"

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

When negotiating with a friend don't forget that the person is a friend. This means they should be granted some slack compared to strangers or enemies. But, for some reason, we tend to hold those close to us to a higher standard than strangers. Just because they have not met our expectations in this case does not make them any less a friend...that is unless they have really taken advantage of your friendship. Then, in that case, you need to assess the quality of the person as a friend.