Resolving Disputes When Logic Collides with Emotion (Part III)

Posted by Robyn E. McDonald on April 30, 2011  /   Posted in Business Options, Family Options

(Part III of a Three Part Series)

Return to Part II

So, what can the Achy Breaky (“A/B”) person do to deal with someone who can’t get out of the way of their own calculations?

Cheat Sheet for the Achy/Breaky Person

  • Get your facts straight before wailing and keening. Before diving into conflict (legal/domestic/employment), figure out your best/worst case scenarios. Talk with an attorney, CPA, or investment advisor – get the real story. So when Mr. Facts & Figures (“F&F”) brings his numbers game to the table, you have cards to play; rationally evaluate his proposal based upon your own research.  
  • Take a breath, then make a practical offer. Just like you don’t shop when you’re hungry, don’t make proposals based upon how you feel at a particular moment. If you do, at best, you confirm his opinion that you’re a basket case – at worst, you lose credibility, confirming that F&F is better off taking his already calculated chances in court. He’ll respond more positively to a realistic proposal, but he’ll still question your offer- So what?
  • F& F isn’t rejecting you He’s getting his head around your figures and how you arrived at them. When he offers a counter proposal, (a salary figure, a purchase price, a personal injury settlement offer), ask him to explain how he arrived at the figure, so you know where he’s coming from. Trust, but verify them with your professional.  Let F&F explain his logic – Listen and try to hear what he is saying. Try to repeat back what was said (it may be difficult, so be patient!). “Facts & Figures” people also need to be heard and validated – it’s everything.
  • No Yelling for “Judge Judy.” Give the situation a chance; listen, dialogue, validate the other side’s reasoning, if not his actual proposals. If resolution is impossible, then tell Mr. F&F what you’re going to do – don’t waste emotion on threats – a Facts & Figures guy already knows his chances in court. Besides, threatening to go to court is a “be careful what you wish for” kind of problem for you too – what you may receive from a judge financially, may never make up for what you might lose emotionally (increased hostility, new financial fears, grief over a lost opportunity). Clinging to your emotionally driven offer may ultimately cost you more money, time, and energy. Finally, when a Facts & Figures person threatens to go to court, don’t panic. Use his F&F mentality to your advantage: you know he has already penciled out his chances of winning/losing. So, until he really files, he’s still open to informal resolution. Remember, he deals in numbers – it’s his Woobie security blanket. Inhale….Exhale….Repeat.

So, whether you’re a logic person, or an emotions person; each side needs to be heard, understood and acknowledged in a dispute. Each needs to be a part of the decision making process, even if the ultimate decision is not what he/she envisioned. People who can honestly listen, remain open and respectful to the other side’s concerns and interests, and give good faith effort to mutually resolving a situation – can resolve it in spite of their differences.

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