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Bel's thoughts

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Quote from Bel on December 6, 2022, 4:04 pm

I believe I finally solved a big professional question mark in my mind:

How to interpret when clients go silent after I send them out-of-court work


Generally "yes" to this.

Updates and status checks only needed when they're needed.

Every time someone asks me for status updates on topics that have either been closed or that are small, I often subconsciously think "time waster".

The worst that I still remember today many years later was one woman I had purchased a laptop on Ebay from.
She chased for I can't remember how many times to "confirm that her postage had arrived".
Since most packages arrive safely, the default there "it's arrived". Confirming the default is the peak of time wasting.
So while I was busy setting up the laptop and moving on with life and work, she pestered me to "confirm the postage had arrived".

So the general rules are:

  • Small stuff, drop it
  • More likely to work well, drop it (and yes to your concept that it's best to assume it went well)
  • Anything you can't fix, drop it ("if you don't have a solution, you don't have an issue to pursue")

And basic power dynamics:

  • Seek to have the client come to your more often than you go to the client
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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Just a few random thoughts here.

And as usual, you were there, and you know better:

Quote from Bel on December 6, 2022, 6:48 pm

Me: Good evening Ms. X,

I hope you are good.

I make reference to ... and ask if you can let me have, if necessary via appointment at your bank, the proceeds from the XWZ bond that expired on ...


I'd go a bit more direct and higher power.

For example:

I'm writing to collect the bond proceeds.

Then say you'd prefer to use email or phone to arrange the transfer and ask her if that's possible.

Me: Good day X, (less formal tone as she did with me above)

I am sorry, I hope everything is ok now. (acknowledge the fact that she was sick for a month)

I could pass by the bank on day x in the morning, would it be ok?

Go positive and definitive, "jumping through the obstacle":

Sorry to hear that, and glad to see you're back (implied: you're good now)

To set the appointment, I'd set the day and tell her to let you if it's not OK.

Quote from Bel on December 6, 2022, 6:48 pm

Her: Only thing, you need to wait in line since you don't have an appointment.

Me: No problem, the important thing is that you meet me...

Too much power for her.

As if you're chasing for a chance to meet her.

A very dominant, very direct, no-BS type and a bit of a grumpy/aggressive style would be to actually tell her "yeah, next time answer your email cause I don't enjoy waiting in line".

Not that I'm necessarily recommending that, but I'd have ignored or said "yeah, (for this time it's OK) (please) next time let's fix the appointment".

Her: (turning the corner) Oh my god Bel, you scared me!

Me: I was just standing here...

I'd have said:

Don't be scared, it's just me

Sub-communication: I have such a huge effect on you.
Plus, it thread-expands on her being scared, which is out of place in a safe environment, and puts the blame on her (rather than you for being at the wrong place or something).

Quote from Bel on December 6, 2022, 6:48 pm

In general, I have noticed all the employees of the bank have been more cordial with me since I started studying and applying PU.

Rock on!

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you so much Lucio,

I agree with all you say, and it’s very helpful for me.

I still couldn’t see these things.

I think I unconsciously fell in her “chase me” frame… from the start.

I’ll implement these immediately in all my future interactions.

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Lucio Buffalmano

The "do not ask for updates" principle has once again been confirmed by a client.

I had sent him a draft contract where I had changed everything, and I mean everything, with respect to what the other party had proposed, and received no update.

I didn't inquire, and assumed all went well.

Now I have just received a request by the same client, with respect to that precise contract which - my client now tells me - "was signed on...".

This now makes me understand why I was getting puzzled about receiving no updates, and had started to inquire.

It was an "unexpected change in outside reactions due to getting better at what I was doing" mechanism.

When I started drafting contracts many years ago, my work product was very different than it is now. Requests for changes, counterproposals, objections to my work were much more common. So this created in my mind an expectation that a response by the counterpart (and consequent update by my client) was coming.

Then I started getting no more answers and updates. This made me think something was amiss.

But what is happening is that sometimes my work product must be so convincing that some counterparts just accept almost all my proposals immediately, as in the case above. Maybe because they have a feeling of "no use negotiating this", or something similar.

In my mind, I had taken this change in outside reactions to mean I had "done something wrong".

But the opposite seems to be true.

I think this idea - that sometimes an unexpected silence, or a change in reactions, means one has actually become better in what he's doing - could be very helpful going forward.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Fading manipulative people

I have seen recently a strong uptick of manipulative behavior by some relatives towards me (mostly gaslighting, projection, blame-shifting and rewriting history).

When I lately had my "aha moment" about what they have been doing (ie continuing to do), I found myself unexpectedly doing this:


I did not call them to tell them what I thought of this, and did not block them again. I then received a text message, and ignored it.

I then mentally struggled for some days on whether I should tell them what I know about their recent behavior, block them, or do anything else like telling them I want nothing more to do with them.

Today I finally solved my dissonance, by remembering this post Lucio wrote to me when I first got here:

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 18, 2022, 7:04 pm

Personally, I would have picked up his calls.
Not necessarily to stay in touch, but because gradual fading is generally a better strategy than suddenly shutting the door.
It's also higher power, because it shows you understood the game -and the nastier side of human nature-, but weren't so crazy affected that you needed a total reset.
More like "oh, you were that type of SOB now I see. Well, good to know, and I have very little time for SOBs".


So if you had faded him, on that last call I'd have picked up and spoken quickly before saying you had to go because you're busy with stuff.

I think I was unconsciously going in the direction of fading these people.

I also realize that I am at a point with them where I already said everything, and fading them will now communicate my message (ie either you stop manipulating or we're done) louder than anything I can ever say to them directly.

Thank you Lucio.

What I couldn't apply at the time is slowly seeping its way in, it seems.

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Lucio Buffalmano


Happy to read that, Bel.

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Providing emotional stability for clients

I am realizing that in the past I somewhat used to manifest my professional insecurities to clients in difficult legal cases.

I now understand that, on the opposite, part of my job is precisely to shoulder the insecurity and not transfer it onto the client. And even to absorb it for him or her.

This makes much sense as to some things that happened with some clients in the past: they wanted their lawyer to project stability and security even when the stakes are difficult.

Not in an over-inflated, arrogant way. I can still say the truth, including that the case is probably not going to go well, in a way that still reassures the client that everything possible will be done and that his matter is in good, working hands.

In a way, being high-power and stable as PU teaches is part and parcel of being a lawyer for good.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Yep, you said it Bel.

Also consider, some people seek legal help for the first time in their life, or sometimes after they're going through a difficult time (a challenge or (legal) threat, a threat to their reputation, or livelihood, etc.)

Losing money or property can also threaten people's livelihoods, and that makes them nervous and scared.

And fighting with a family member, friend, business partner or spouse is always fraught with emotional turmoil as well.
Many of the good people also feel bad for the failure of the relationship, and wonder whether they're fighting for a fair settlement, or if they're not being assholes.

It's a time in life in which many truly need a stabilizing force in their life.

Albeit hired and paid, a lawyer is also an ally and brother in-arm, someone whom you know -and want to know- is on your side, on your camp.
It's also part of the job to walk that line and communicate that "stand by you" feeling (without going overboard and keeping it "professional").

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Just for my reference:

client who we discussed here sending me "tasking emails" answered a Christmas wishes card I sent him by reversing what I had (inadvertently) done in writing on the envelope, ie including his title as sender and not including mine as addressee.

This confirms my prior inner thinking about him being subtly power-focused.

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Lucio Buffalmano

I remember one person formerly in my life asking for my help on a legal matter, and then after hearing my answer commenting to another close person:

Him: I didn’t know this! How is this possible?

I think some of the worst people (including dark triads) don’t update their lawyer because they “resent” their lawyer being able to do something they can’t do themselves.

If this is the case, the “do not ask for updates” guideline is useful also in these cases, as it deprives them of a way to unsettle the lawyer and gain power by not responding, or by faking being busy, and so on.

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Lucio Buffalmano
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