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Negotiation techniques as possible shit-tests! (+ social dynamics feedback & exchange)

If you guys both want a feedback on that exchange, let me know.

Sure!

This one followed the other thread, right?

So one should keep that in mind, since it's likely that both were carrying already feelings and attitudes that predisposed them more towards confrontation, than collaboration or clarification.

  • John first reply:

And who answers "No, I'm a real scumbag?"

Judging by this topic only, a fair question that calls into question the usefulness of that shit-test question.

However, delivered without any other sentence that helps put it into perspective, it can be easily misunderstood as criticism. Usually, criticism that does not explain or rectify, can also be misunderstood for a personal attack (in this case, it's even easier to feel that way, given the previous exchange).

  • Ali first reply

John, it feels like you're being sarcastic.

All in all, given the previous exchanges, it's a good message, giving John the opportunity to add more thoughts, and/or clarify his position (which also leaves John the freedom to confirm he was being sarcastic).

  • John 2nd response

John clarifies, albeit I must say it feels slightly on the confrontational end, including this part here:

It seems obvious to me.

Which can feel like an indirect one-up aimed at the OP's intellectual abilities (= "it's obvious to me, if it's not obvious to you, what does that say about you?")

  • Ali 2nd response

It was already going in a bad direction, but this one took it to another level:

You just fell for it mate :).

And killed any chance of a constructive conversation.

It's a power move that says "I laid a trap, and you walked right into it, I win, you lose".

The rest of the message takes a slight step back, but it still paints the frame of a puppeteer/laboratory scientist who lays the traps, and then analyzes the moves.
And of course, nobody wants to be the puppet/laboratory guinea pig that is being put under scrutiny.

It can easily get under people's skin, and it can be a point of no-return that can either break relationships for good, or leave a long-lasting mark (a bit like using meanness during arguments, it was of the early articles here).

Note: I used it once or twice on YB, but that's a very different environment when you're dealing with anonymous mud-slingers and when I wanted to try a few different things. Otherwise, avoid it in almost any other social exchanges. 

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
  • John first reply:
  • Ali first reply
  • John 2nd response

Agree with all points here.

  • Ali 2nd response

Lucio: "It was already going in a bad direction, but this one took it to another level:

'You just fell for it mate :).'

And killed any chance of a constructive conversation."

110% agree with you again.

This next part is probably going to make me sound like an ass. At the time, I was thinking about killing three birds with one stone:

One: I take John off of his high horse since it feels like he's casting negative judgment on a negotiation technique that's not even mine, which makes his abrupt, negative responses feel even more personal.

Two: I avoid getting ostracized by saying this because people will see I'm high-power and don't take shit from anyone. So, they'll respect me for it and want me around.

Three: John will see that I wasn't so wrong about this one after all and maybe he'll backtrack and let this whole thing go.

Once again, the first two were thoughts coming from pure emotion. The third thought was the only one that cared at all about making amends even though apart of me felt like resolution might not be possible given the interaction over in the other thread.

Lucio: "The rest of the message takes a slight step back..."

Yes, after getting that power move out (thinking for some reason that it might shut the whole thing down because I will have "won"), I didn't really want a fight. Deep down, I never actually wanted an argument in the first place.

I was convinced that if I didn't respond in a way that was socially powerful, I would surely be framed as low-power, high-warmth, and slowly get pushed out (ostracized). As a result, I kept the power move while doing my best to focus the rest of the post on being constructive. But, with my emotions where they were, my best wasn't good enough this time around.


Once again, John, I'm very sorry.

We know that TPM aims to make high-quality men and my behavior was in no way high-quality. It was emotional, unconstructive, and, quite frankly, wrong.

If you're open to it, let me send you a gift as a token of my apology that I hope you'll accept. You can email me at info@aliscarlett-author.com.

I'm looking forward to putting this behind us man. Thanks again for your friendliness.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Same here, much respect for your courage and strength to be so open and frank, Ali.
And for the ostracization part, the way I see is that you're a stand-up member of this community, and that isn't going to change any time soon.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Alright, I thought about it and here is my perspective on our exchange. I'll do my best to be as respectful and considerate. Let me know if you feel it's not the case, please. In the following threads I'm going to do political mistakes for the sake of honesty, bear with me. This is my value system.

First, my first mistake was to allow Lucio as a third party judging the interaction (Judge role). I could not find the article again, but I read it this week: you propose to be a mediator as it gives power. That is part of the lesson I learned. I'll write more about it in the other thread. Why did this happen? For two reasons: first, Ali had already accepted so I was nudged into the decision by the circumstance. Second, I have adopted the learner mindset so all I want to do is learn whatever the price. At this moment I did not know how it would unfold.

Here is the situation I found myself in: my exchange with another member is judged AND analyzed by the owner and moderator of the forum. Not much room to maneuver. If I would have refused I would have looked like someone who's dishonest and not open to feed-back (values upheld by the website). So I got cornered in saying yes with me rationalizing it as a learning opportunity. I could have used an assertive "No", however I would have missed the learning opportunity (being baited by knowledge = weakness of the learner identity?) and lost reputation and relationships at the same time.

Our exchange

My first mistake was that I answered with a provocation.

And who answers "No, I'm a real scumbag?

which, really is an attack. I did not intend to do so but I did. In my mind, the sentences below  (Voss and the comment) were a stupid statement. I know it's not nice to write "stupid" on a public forum, but that is what I thought and I'm talking ONLY about the statement.So that was all I could come up with. It was a mistake. It's at this point that I should have chosen not to interact at all. Option 2: if it's not stupid, it's manipulative and that was my critic also in the other thread. I maintain my opinion: saying to somebody "you seem like..." as a device to see what they're going to say manipulative to me. That's my opinion and I think these forums to exchange opinions if formed respectfully.

Voss: (label) "You seem like a really loyal person."

Based on their answer, Voss can pick up on whether or not this person is someone he wants to be friends with or even collaborate with in the future.

Then I did my best to continue this conversation with honesty as I thought I had not been nice in the first exchange. It not only failed but I felt taken advantage of after having put myself in a . Then, Ali, you took a very submissive stance with me. That, too me was a bit too much. I won't accuse you of anything as I don't know your intentions. But to me this was not a fair move:

If you're open to it, let me send you a gift as a token of my apology that I hope you'll accept. You can email me at info@aliscarlett-author.com.

Who goes out of their way to send me a gift? He sends me his address with author in it: his e-book? That would make for a strange gift in this situation. So once again, it fell off, inauthentic and manipulative to me. To me there was red flags all along and this is one more of them. I had to take some distance as I know in these situations I got caught and I need to see more clearly what is at stakes.

And it finishes with:

Same here, much respect for your courage and strength to be so open and frank, Ali.
And for the ostracization part, the way I see is that you're a stand-up member of this community, and that isn't going to change any time soon.

So here, the (neutral) mediator looks like he's taking sides.

All in all, what happened? I was not sure to welcome Lucio's feed-back as I thought that if we were 3 people, we would enter the perpretrator-victim-savior cycle. And we did. I thought we could avoid it but we did not.

Everybody knows that self-expression is limited on a forum as you can be banned if you don't behave as expected. Ali, Lucio and I know that. So I understand about the "ostracization fear". I also feel like this kind of post could get me banned.

@Ali: As I already told you it's all good. I made mistakes, maybe you also made mistakes. Let's put this behind us, I agree.

Thank you for weighing in, John.

I agree with a good chunk of what you say.

These are the two bits where I want to comment on:

John: So here, the (neutral) mediator looks like he's taking sides.

Only robots can truly say "I'm 100% neutral", so I won't even go down that road.

What I can say is that I felt, tried, and even believe, I was being fair in the feedback.
But none of those three are guarantees of full neutrality, so it's fully possible that I've done a poor job in giving neutral feedback.

What I told Ali there was a specific answer to Ali saying he was worried about ostracization after the feedback had already taken place.

And what I told Ali, is true for you as well, by the way: you're a stand-up guy of this community, contributed hugely to it (not just me saying it, the numbers are also there to confirm it: just look at how many "thumbs up" you have), and that isn't going to change any time soon.

John: Everybody knows that self-expression is limited on a forum as you can be banned if you don't behave as expected. Ali, Lucio and I know that. So I understand about the "ostracization fear". I also feel like this kind of post could get me banned.

True, there are some set of rules/expectations.

The question is how limited -or how un-limited, to state it in the positive-.

I think it's very free and open here, and judging from your last line, probably more open than you might think right now.

Ostracization is a group-level thing, so I can't speak for everyone. But the way I see it, both you and Ali are at the opposite end of it.

The ban function is more of an admin thing, yes, and so far I'm the only admin (that might change in the future).
But even there, the same, I don't see anyone on this forum even remotely approaching anything that could make me think of using that function (since the registration-only change, only and exclusively spammers have been banned. And if it ever came to pondering a ban for a long-standing member, which seems highly unlikely so far, I'd probably ask for other members' input as well).

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you for your clear answer. For clarification: I was talking about being banned not ostracization. I don't know what Ali was thinking about when talking about ostracization.

I don't have any pre-conception of what is allowed or not allowed on this forum. During this episode, I discovered that you were both a participant and had power over those you were exchanging with. So that put people who are in a conversation with you in a different position that if you were another forum member with equal powers. That is all that I meant.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

And what I told Ali, is true for you as well, by the way: you're a stand-up guy of this community, contributed hugely to it (not just me saying it, the numbers are also there to confirm it: just look at how many "thumbs up" you have), and that isn't going to change any time soon.

Thank you very much! (I'm taking the compliment 😉 real wink no power play). I don't know how many thumbs up I have but I'm happy for the recognition as a contributor. As you might know contribution is one of my top values. As you know I value hugely what you did and are doing, both in the intention and in the execution, so to me it's an honor to be part of this community.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from John Freeman on December 20, 2020, 7:53 pm

I don't know how many thumbs up I have but I'm happy for the recognition as a contributor. As you might know contribution is one of my top values.

304 :).

A very high ratio compared to the number of messages:

Public info, too, I think.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Ok, thanks I kind of knew it's somewhere in the profile but I don't look at it (anymore). Not power move but my philosophy. However, it makes me feel valuated. So thanks! However now I think it also might be that a group with a common approach to Life and we kind of "resonate" with one another, in different ways, colors and tones of course.

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Matthew Whitewood
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