If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you will know well by now that I love trash TV; particularly the garden variety dating shows, and as a consequence even the trappings of the Bachelor or Married at First Sight couldn’t pull me away from Patty’s sharp tongue and quick wit. It’s reality TV at the end of the day, so most of it has no real baring on reality and honestly is trash, but Patty’s teachings featured in her show Millionaire Matchmaker certainly aren’t. Yes, it may be ‘bigged up’ for entertainment, but the idea is that in a relationship, certain dynamics are good to establish. Whether you dislike the show (or her) or not, Patty is an undeniably formidable business woman, and her teachings and gusto we could all benefit from taking stock in. When finding a partner, be that in business or pleasure, a small but purposefully made checklist won’t lead you astray.
What are Non Negotiables?
Patty’s non negotiables are 5 things that you have figured out you need in a partner; no ifs, no buts, it’s a criteria that you can develop over time, but cannot alter for that one special someone who you think you can ‘change’ or who promises they will. Circumstances change absolutely, so these shouldn’t be things like ‘must have a car’, or ‘must look a certain way’. Finances and appearances are always in a state of flux, but what isn’t is attitude, how well you click, and how realistically you can picture yourselves having a future together. In business terms compromising is a must when working on a team, but not at the early stage when it means negotiating what you have already established you need, making an exception on the conditions which you are comfortable and know you can perform your best at is a guaranteed disaster from the get go…
Why Do We Need Non Negotiables?
This is a brutal but early phase; a way of quite literally phasing people out who aren’t likely to be your knight in shining armour or princess with a strong work ethic. Moreover, they are just as equally going to end up being frogs with no get up and go or clients that drag their feet when it comes to paying you! If you can characterise what you absolutely cannot face from a partnership again then you will be more aware of the red flags flying glaringly right in front of your face from the first meeting. This isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy if you are one to forgive or second guess yourself disproportionally in a partnership. Curating a shortlist of things which you cannot backtrack helps to protect yourself and stop wasting both of your precious time and finding the person that you do click with undeniably better.
How to Establish Non Negotiables
To do this, think about where you would like to be in the future, and what sort of practicalities your partner would have to be in possession of for your lifestyle now and then to work with yours. It’s sometimes easier to establish what you did and didn’t want from past relationships that ended badly. Look at what your deal breakers were and flip them to be a positive. For instance, if you had an ex that put down your dreams, a non-negotiable for you might be one that is supportive of your dreams so on and so forth. If you had a client or employer who was scatty and inconsiderate about your working hours, then they too would be requirements that can be in the back of your mind. The fact that you will only be ‘on call’ during working hours or will make xyz number of revisions with adequate warning could be your non negotiables, and can perhaps even be written up in a contract prior to you taking the new client on, to ensure that both parties are aware and happy with the arrangements.
After all, these are more than just the ‘turn offs’ in a person, they are a practical way of assessing whether or not you have found ‘your lobster’, or if you’re just going to be wasting time with someone who you are convincing yourself is the one. All of the while, your actual alleged soulmate or perfect working relationship is still aimlessly swiping on tinder or scrolling through Indeed, while you are left feeling very much the same way. I may be in a long-term relationship with courteous clients now, but I had to go through my fair share of horror stories to get there. I for one know that by instating non-negotiables sooner rather than later I would’ve been much more assertive in finding what I needed from a partner in crime. Take your time and figure out what is right for you.
My 5 Non Negotiables
In the same way that yours might state polyamorous, it is important to me to have monogamy with all relationships (though not friendships…that is the obvious exception!). For instance, if a client is working with another marketer or agency it can be very hard to create an integrated plan without having direct contact with everyone involved. It is nothing short of a headache drumming up interest in the launch of a new product only for a social media manager elsewhere, usually made unaware by the client of my presence, to reveal the product online prior to launch. Having the client become the middle-man between myself and the other marketers they are in contact with, sometimes unbeknown to me too, is a murky water I no longer want to tread. Asides from stressful for those working with them, the client is not getting the optimum service by outsourcing to different individuals without adequate communication or prior warning that we would be working as a team.
2. Not Family Orientated
It wasn’t until I looked at what had been the number one deal breaker in other relationships with people, from colleagues and friendships and most certainly relationships, did I realise how crucial this was. In a society geared towards a nuclear family archetype that, to add insult to injury, doesn’t acknowledge that this isn’t a universal experience nor offer sympathies for its absence, I have consistently been grilled on why I don’t want kids. And yet, I never find myself bitterly asking others why they dare to engage in this dynamic. Answers to such personal questions are intimate and complex and frankly not ones that they want to hear let alone do I want to answer. This is something that happens most frequently in workplace offices, where you feel unable to respond as openly, or perhaps firmly assert that this is an inappropriate discussion in a professional setting without some sort of a social backlash. Knowing that my partner or work colleague is choosing not to understand and is actually attempting to make me feel uncomfortable will only inevitably highlight all of the differences between our personal lives, which have invariably shaped our views of the world, which brings me to my next non negotiable…
3. Team Mentality – the idea that we are an (absolute) unit!
Communication is of course key, not just because of misunderstandings and an illustration of trust, but the fact that we are all working towards the same cause. If someone is on an entirely different page from you or you misunderstands what the end goal is for each other then you are going to be working towards and prioritising the ‘wrong’ thing according to each other (see non negotiable number 1!). If you are all in this together as a team, then it saves wasted time, prolonged discussions, and in the long term any disagreements.
4. Has Drive
No, not can drive, but HAS it, oodles of it, whether it be for an artsy hobby or to own the stock market, either way my other half has to have their own respective passions and goals, that we may or may not even share. Just so long as we both know we are content in our down time, out of each other’s hair, sharing a hobby or hustling towards the same end goal, if you’re slowing down in life while I am not then we most certainly are in for a bumpy ride. Very much the same can be said of building a positive working relationship. If I cannot ascertain what a client wants to achieve then it can be difficult to meet their expectations, just as it would be impossible to create a marketing plan for someone with no budget in mind. How long is a piece of string? I would hate to exceed their financial capabilities, time constraints or desires. For instance, if someone wants to target their locality or a new demographic then I should be working hard towards customer acquisition, and there’s no need for me to propose an international campaign, or vice versa.
5. Is Funny
This is an utterly ridiculous one. Also, because it is entirely unquantifiable and subjective. For the purposes of this it might not even make the most sense; not given how you can convince yourself someone is funnier than they are when you’re getting to know and like them, or you do not get to see the ‘real’ person in a formal work setting. I would be lying to myself though, if I thought that having absolutely no banter whatever that may be, wasn’t a deal breaker, professionally or otherwise.
Do you have any non negotiables in dating or the workplace? Please let me know in the comments below,
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