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Why letting go of your “Big Love” is okay.

Why letting go of your “Big Love” is okay.

So you ended things with that one person you loved more than life itself? It’s okay. You thought you two were going to be together forever? It’s okay. You were loving the fact that you were never going to have to live through another awful first date? We promise you, it is okay.

There are people out there who meet their true love at an extremely young age (high school sweethearts. How cute, right?). However, there are also those who have to kiss quite a few frogs before they are willing to settle down with someone til’ death do them part. Below you will find several reasons as to why it is completely okay that you did not end up with your Big Love, may they be your first or your seventh.

You’re probably not the same person you were when you got together

You will not remain the same person you are now throughout the duration of your life. You and your significant other are going to change tremendously. Especially during the age of adolescence and young adulthood. The idea of ending up with your high school sweetheart is extremely romanticized; while that possibility is beautiful for those that can accomplish it, it is most certainly not for everyone.

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High School and College are the times in your life when you are really figuring out who you are and what you want to accomplish for yourself. If it turns out that you two are becoming less compatible or heading in different directions, it is completely okay to say goodbye. You take what you learned from that relationship, utilize the good and discard the bad.

If the relationship is not benefiting you, you need to let it go

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have thought this, and spoken it out loud. Relationships are work, yes, I get that; but relationships are also meant to be your breath of fresh air in the craziness that is life. When you’re having an awful day at work or your best friend is driving you bonkers, your significant other is supposed to be the person that is there to give you a hug a.

They are not meant to add additional stress to your already stressful life. They are supposed to be the ones who make you laugh when you’re pissed off and who will take the weight off your shoulders by helping out around the house when you just can’t handle it that day. When all else fails, your significant other is supposed to be your salvation, not an additional burden.

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Nothing irks me more than when I hear someone say “We’ve been together so long, I have to make it work.” No. You don’t. When you’re married or have kids, that’s a different story. But when you’re young and unencumbered by that legal tie, you are free to do whatever the hell you want. Spend that time being happy, not constantly being dragged down by someone who supposedly loves you.

They are all about themselves

Compromise. Give and take. There are a million ways to say it, but the meaning is the same. If you are in a relationship (or friendship, for that matter) where the person only cares about themselves and their needs, run. Run fast. If they are all about themselves now, imagine how they’ll be when shit hits the fan and you have a mortgage, two cars, three babies, and a golden retriever that all depend on you.

In a successful relationship there will be times when they are the focus, there will be times when you are the focus, and there will be times when the focus is split evenly. There is a delicate ebb and flow to relationships that are supposed to benefit both sides. You are each others rock, but one person can only remain the rock for so long before the weight ultimately ends up crushing you; rendering you useless to them and to yourself.

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Someone different, and probably better, is waiting for you

Seriously. I promise. Don’t ever stay with someone simply because you don’t think anyone else would want you. Or, say it was they who made the decision that you were no longer the right person for them; grieve, and then move on. Even if it feels like they were the best thing that would ever happen to you and you will never find anyone better; you will. End of story.

That seems so impossible, I know, but it’s the truth. Take as long as you need. Sit in your pajamas and watch Sex and the City on repeat and blast some Taylor Swift for as long as you need to before you can realize your worth and emerge from this break up better off then you ever thought possible.

And last but not least;

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You are allowed more than one Big Love

Isn’t that amazing? You are more than welcome to have as many Big Loves as it takes for you to find the perfect one; as I like to call it, your Soulmate. Big Loves are rare, beautiful, and have an incredible impact on who a person eventually becomes. But nowhere in the manual of life does it say that every person only gets one Big Love.

In a society where people are living to be over 100 years old, it would be soul-crushing to believe that you only get one shot. So go out there, live, love, and say goodbye when you need to. Life is simultaneously too long and too short to spend it with anyone who doesn’t bring the best out of you, and love you in as Big of a way as you love them.

Featured photo credit: gratisography via gratisography.com

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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