Negotiating – Recognizing a “No Win”

While I firmly believe that “everything in life is negotiable”, I would have to admit that there are some situations that are just plain “no win.” To illustrate this point, let me describe a situation that arises in my home periodically, and one that I certainly do not look forward to or enjoy. It just doesn’t seem to follow any rules, or any of the lessons I’ve learned at the negotiating table. In fact, the situation is one, where I hate to admit it, but I am still at a loss to negotiate successfully. This is a negotiation that I refer to as “damned if you do; damned if you don’t!”

I’ve known my wife for almost forty years, and every time she tells me that she is going to a new hair stylist or that she is going to try a new hair style, I feel like running away from home. It is the one situation that I have determined has no correct answer and is non-negotiable.

Here’s what happens. My wife goes out and gets a new hairstyle. She cannot wait to return home and ask me the dreaded question, “Honey, how do you like my new hairdo?”

Think about it for a minute. There is no correct answer to that question. You may or may not take the time to look up from the sports channel you are watching on TV and say something like, “Wow, I really like that” or “You look terrific!” The response you’ll probably get will be something like, “What was wrong with my old hairstyle?” Maybe you’ll even get speech number 23 which goes something like, “Well, if my old hairstyle was so bad, why didn’t you say something before?”

On the other hand, if you take a minute to focus on the new hairstyle before committing to a well thought out compliment, it’s likely to be interpreted as a loss for words. And, that translates to “You really hate it don’t you?”

In my mind, the question, “Honey, how do you like my new hairdo?” is a “no win” negotiation for men. Fortunately for me, it has become somewhat of a joke in our household. Now when my wife goes out to get her hair done, I usually just run in the closet and hide just before she arrives home.

Lesson learned: While everything in life may be negotiable, there are some “no win” situations that you need to recognize before you get in too deep.