Non-negotiables are the standards each individual has when involved in a relationship, whether it is professional or personal. If a person’s non-negotiables can not be met or exceeded by the other person, they are willing to walk away from both the person and the relationship without looking back or having regrets. Professionally, non-negotiables may include examining a person’s integrity, knowledge, work ethic and character. Business people often choose their business associates in a similar manner that they would choose a mate; by asking questions based on their non-negotiables. Is this person honest? Is this person knowledgeable? Is this person reliable? In a pinch, would this person step up or lose focus? Is this person punctual and respectful of my time? Is this person organized? What does this person bring to this relationship that will benefit me? Can I learn from this person? Consider the last mate or the last business associate you had. If they didn’t meet or exceed your non-negotiables, how long did you continue the relationship?
Non-negotiables should be realistic. They should also reflect who you are as a person and what you can offer to others. You should not expect more from others than you expect from yourself. If you have high expectations of yourself, it is only natural for you to feel the same towards those that you do business with or have personal relationships with as well. Successful people do not surround themselves with people who constantly fail. Ambitious people do not surround themselves with people who lack ambition. It’s not the natural order. Strength attracts strength and success attracts success.
Non-negotiables considered when selecting a mate, may include having children, how to educate and discipline the children, financial goals and security, where to live, how to celebrate family events and holidays (which is especially crucial for blended families), along with other identified topics that you are steadfast about or that could result in arguments if the other person disagrees with your outlook. When entering into a relationship, a person’s non-negotiables are never to be assumed. Communication is vital. You should always ask the other person what their non-negotiables are, and be honest about yours in return. This conversation can take place anytime after the second or third date with the same person. During the conversation, if you want to be married, you should express your desires to find a life spouse early so you can discover if you are potentially wasting your time or not. Likewise, if you are interested in a more casual, noncommittal relationship, you should express this as well. Don’t be afraid of discovering that the other person is not on the same page as you. Everyone you meet isn’t going to have the same desires and goals you have simply because you share a physical attraction for each other. Having this conversation too late can easily result in hurt feelings and resentment.
As a single woman, I know that some men may be seeking a wife, but not right now. Those are the men that I tell to call me when they are ready. If a woman holds on to the dream that he’ll change his mind if she just hangs around long enough, a lot of time could pass. She could potentially miss the opportunity to meet the man for her because she wasted her own time or operated out of desperation or fear. It is true that when two people meet and find themselves attracted to each other, they decide within themselves what their intentions are. However, they don’t always share their intentions with the other person.
Remember when we were kids and the boy would pass a note to the girl? The note usually said something similar to ‘Do you want to be my girlfriend? Circle yes or no’. That’s The Question. Traditionally a man would ask a woman the question when he felt that he wanted to spend time with or exclusively date a woman. Then one day, men stopped asking the question and women started assuming that after a certain ‘reasonable’ amount time had passed, that there was a relationship in place. As a result, there are people who think they don’t have to verbally communicate their desires in order to have a relationship. These are the same people who never discuss their non-negotiables with each other, but expect the other person to “know” as if by osmosis. This creates the potential for dramatic situations to arise, along with misunderstandings, arguments and hurt feelings.
We wouldn’t conduct business in this manner and expect to be successful. We wouldn’t tell our business associates that they should know what we expect when we’ve never concisely communicated our business expectations or goals to them. We wouldn’t expect positive results from others who didn’t understand the way we do business. Your personal relationships are another form of business. How well you handle your business, determines the results you get out of it. Communicate your non-negotiables effectively with others. It will save you time, energy and improve your overall success, both professionally and personally.