Giving and Taking: The Win/Win or No Deal Philosophy of Relationships

This is the last part of a series that I have been doing about the different paradigms of human interaction and relationships.

These paradigms are based on Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Here are the other parts of the series.

Win/Win
Win/Lose
Lose/Win
Lose/Lose
Win
Win/Win or No Deal

We are going to end with the Win/Win or No Deal philosophy.

“I only want to go for Win/Win. I want to win, and I want you to win. I wouldn’t want to get my way and have you not feel good about it, because downstream it would eventually surface and create a withdrawal. On the other hand, I don’t think you would feel good if you got your way and I gave in. So let’s work for a Win/Win. Let’s really hammer it out. And if we can’t find it, then let’s agree that we won’t make a deal at all. It would be better not to deal than to live with a decision that wasn’t right for us both. Then maybe another time we might be able to get together.”

The whole concept of Win/Win or No Deal is usually best applied to business relationships but in the kind of reality you’d like to create, anything less than Win/Win is not going to be beneficial to long-term relationships. What is hard in relationships is being able to accept the No Deal, because we confuse that as Lose/Lose. Being able to have this mentality requires a very high level of maturity, understanding and a great deal of listening and communication skills.

If you get a grasp on this, you will achieve such a level of emotional freedom and avoid so many conflicts down the road. This mentality also can be applied to the beginning stages of any relationship to give you the same emotional freedom and make you no longer needy.

Using the elements of Win/Win, if you can’t come to a good resolution, you should be able to accept No Deal and find an alternative. While great at the beginning of a relationship, it becomes harder and harder to accept a No Deal, especially when more feelings and emotional investment are involved. This is where compromise comes in. While compromise – which can be considered a secondary level of Win/Win – may appear to be Win/Win, it tends to end up being Win/Lose or Lose/Win in reality.

Of course, there will be times in a relationship when No Deal cannot work. For example, if she REALLY needs you for something and it could be very inconvenient for you but you know what? You have to do it, because you care for her and want her to be happy. Instead of thinking about how inconvenient it is and how that negative thinking makes you unhappy, reframe it and think about how happy she’ll be, how much fun you MAY have and how she’ll reward you down the road. Keeping that frame of mind will not make situations seem terrible, because in hindsight, it’s not.

Plus, you care about her, right? Part of that is being able to do selfless acts for the greater good.

If you haven’t realized by now, obviously all of these philosophies are not set in stone and there is some leeway, as many other things in life – but it requires maturity, integrity and self-control to acknowledge the give some things have.



In the end, this whole Giving & Taking series is all about knowing how the pieces fit in a relationship. You have to know what and how much you are willing to give to your significant other and what you are ready to accept from her. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about understanding. It’s about making time. It’s about giving yourself. It’s about learning. It’s about growing together. It’s about disagreements. It’s about resolution. It’s about…everything.

I write those things and I think of my girlfriend. She embodies everything that I want in a woman and the best part is that I feel more like myself at this time more than any time in the past few years. She is growing to become more than just something to me. She’s becoming everything to me. And as I wrote this series, she was always in the back of my mind, wondering about how well we do together. She’s amazing and although it’s still early, I hope you guys (and girls) can read this, possibly learn something (I’ve learned a lot writing this) and you can find something even remotely close to what I have now because let me tell you something.

It’s incredible.

This caps the Giving & Taking series here at Project Infinity. I would love to hear feedback, questions and comments you may have. If you’d like to contact me, feel free to send me an email.

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