Do You Make Agreements or Dis-agreements?
Tips to eliminate confusion, unmet expectations, and anger
Agreements or Dis-agreements At Work
“Will 4:30pm at Starbucks on 170 Street work for you?” George said into his telephone.
“Yes. That works fine for me. I’ll see you at 4:30 at Starbucks.”
That’s a fairly common kind of agreement, isn’t it?
In your profession, I bet you make lots of agreements regularly, don’t you? You agree to:
– start your workday at a certain time.
– meet clients at a specific place and time.
– complete projects by specific dates and times.
Agreements are a required, necessary, and effective way to run a business, keep a job, or participate in family and community activities. They are often an unwritten contract between two parties that ensure clarity and success. When the agreements are kept, the relationship grows stronger. When the agreements are not kept (dis-agreements), the relationship falters and you may choose to refrain from working with that person/company again.
Simple, isn’t it?
Agreements or Dis-agreements At Home
Now, stroll into your home. Do you effectively use agreements with your life-partner?
Most people don’t, and it causes a range of results from resentment and resistance to anger and abuse. Usually, dis-agreements (lack of agreements) are about time, finances, and roles in the relationship.
About a month ago, Carol and I were coaching a couple at our home. They were having major challenges in their relationship.
They had a hard time describing what they both wanted in the relationship, but it was easy for them to describe what they didn’t want. They didn’t want: anger and yelling; silent treatment (ignore-ance); criticism; and other forms of disrespectful behaviour.
At the core of these attack behaviours between them, there was a lack of clear, conscious agreements over simple, basic things in their relationship. Blame and fault were common and there was an abundance of dis-agreements.
Which strategy do you apply most in your relationship with your life-partner, agreements or dis-agreements?
A Solution For You
Regardless of the quality of your relationship, I guarantee that if you consciously and consistently apply this one strategy, it will help you to experience more happiness, contentment, and success in your relationship with your life-partner.
Here are some tips to make clear, conscious agreements and eliminate confusion, unmet expectations, and anger.
1. Honest, open communication. Be willing to talk about any activities, roles, tasks, or items that are current in your lives. Especially be willing to talk about things that cause you to feel resistant, resentful, or uncomfortable in any way.
2. Explore options and possibilities. Share your perspectives respectfully and listen attentively to each other, with a willingness to truly understand the similarities and differences. This means to set your ego aside, refrain from interrupting, and let-go of your need to be right. Discuss, or brainstorm, the many options available to you. Often this process will open up great discussions and lead you to far better solutions than either of you thought possible.
3. Make a clear, conscious agreement that you both feel good about. Include quantifiable specifics that may include time, date, location, activity, quality of work, dollars, etc. Ensure that both of you feel good about it. In other words don’t make an agreement out of duty, guilt, shame, for approval, or as a form of manipulation.
4. Repeat the agreement with all of the specifics and ask for clarification. Ask, “Is this our agreement?” and ensure your partner concurs.
6. Keep your agreement. Invest the necessary time, attention, and intention to ensure you follow through.
7. If something comes up that will not allow you to keep your agreement, immediately connect with your partner and re-negotiate another agreement. Renegotiation requires going through steps 1 to 4 again because you’re making a new agreement.
“So What?” you say.
A failure to keep agreements will quickly destroy trust, which is the most foundational component in your relationship.
One of the reasons many people don’t make agreements in their primary relationship is because they have not been effective in making and keeping agreements with themselves – the most important relationship of all.
This happens as a result of not keeping agreements in the past. For example, how many times have you set a goal for yourself, or made a New Year’s resolution, and then bought-into your own BS excuses and abandoned your goal for yet another year? Over time, this creates a level of dis-trust with yourself. The voice inside your head says, “There’s no sense in making agreements ‘cause there’s not a chance in hell you’ll keep them anyway.”
Consciously making and keeping agreements with yourself and your life-partner will set you free. Trust will grow and you’ll find yourself more focussed, productive, and effective, not only in your primary relationship, but in your profession as well.
Soooo, what are you going to do?