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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 19-Jun-06

 


Monday 19-Jun-06

Breakfast negotiations

My wife and I have an agreed exchange at the weekend. One of us makes breakfast on Saturday whilst the other does it on Sunday. The question on a tired Saturday morning is one of jam today or jam tomorrow: do I seek immediate gratification of my need to doze or do I get up now so I can lie in tomorrow.

The situation is typical of many domestic negotiations: it is nothing earth-shaking and the need to sustain their relationship is significant. This leads to concessionary banter with a gentle negotiative edge.

For example, I will say (phrased carefully, of course), "Do you want to lie in tomorrow or shall I get up today."

Or my wife will ask directly, "Could you get breakfast today, I'm rather sleepy."

There is little argument, but it is fun playing games of changing minds, for example asking about breakfast when the other person has got up to go to the bathroom. We are both changing-minds professionals and are keenly aware of language, which makes for good-hearted games of 'spot the subtle influence'.

Domestic negotiations are not always so harmonious and we are lucky that we don't argue too much. One of the Big Five personality characteristics is 'agreeableness' which I guess we have enough of between us.
The ability and desire to agree does not necessarily mean a person is a weak negotiator: far from it, it sends signals of care and trust that leads others to agreement too. Which, in turn, leads to a better life. We have been happily married for nearly thirty years whilst friends have struggled from relationship to relationship.

So. Who makes breakfast today?


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