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Domestic Negotiation


Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation Styles > Domestic Negotiation

Little things writ large | Love and hate | Persistence and creativity | See also


Domestic negotiation includes all the exchanges that you have in the home environment, whether with your partner, children or other residents or neighbors.

Little things writ large

In the grand scheme of things, domestic negotiations are seldom the most critical things for humanity. Yet they happen and include many significant decisions.

When your time at home is a big part of your life, then what may appear small to others becomes larger for you. When others at home do things about which you disapprove, then this can be remarkably annoying. I, for example, hate it when people leave lights switched on everywhere. My wife is not very keen on the way I leave piles of books in assorted corners.

And so we negotiate at home most of the time, whether it is to answer the phone or to decide where to go on holiday.

Love and hate

It is difficult to exclude emotions from domestic negotiations. In fact, other than such traumatic circumstances as hostage negotiations, few negotiations can raise the emotional temperature so far and so fast. Love and hate can change places in seconds and domestic disputes lead to physical or psychological harm on too many occasions.

Almost by definition, you have an emotional relationship with others in your household, whether they are your children or house guests. This relationship is easily dragged into the negotiation and can quickly become a weapon ('if you love me, you'll do what I want').

Persistence and creativity

Domestic negotiators are, by definition, amateurs. They lack the subtly of industrial sellers and buyers or international negotiators, yet they can be remarkably effective.

Children, in particular, are an arch-example of how lack of training does not mean lack of skill. They famously and frequently run rings around their exhausted parents, playing mom and dad against one another or just nagging and whining until they get their way. They may not have subtlety, but they do have persistence and creativity, two of the key attributes that make for successful negotiation.

See also

Counseling, Sociology

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