Lockdowns across Europe and the world, we never thought of being in such a position. thus far, you may have never had to do business with friends or family, but chances are you will have to negotiate, now more than ever. It might be over screen time, or more significant financial, social, business, or investment decisions. These situations present a different set of challenges than standard negotiations.


Preserve the relationship

Primarily, you want to preserve your relationship throughout and after negotiating, so the same rules apply that you might use with a long-term business contact. With friends or family, you may be even more committed to a win-win solution, because you are operating under a sort of “generosity norm.” This can also cause you to act outside of your own best interest.


Romantic couples face a challenge

Studies have shown that a preexisting close relationship, among friends or partners, generally leads to better outcomes than between two complete strangers. This may be due to a greater openness to communication, information sharing, and both sides’ desire to expand the pie rather than divide it. However, romantic couples may avoid conflict and/or make broad concessions, which have a symbolic value that isn’t as present in platonic relationships, and so they often aren’t as successful in overall value creation as negotiations between friends.


Avoid using “You” but use “I feel”

Push the “you” word out of your vocabulary when you are discussing something fundamental or of utmost importance. But what happens when you really really need to?




Change it to “I feel”. In the coming weeks, you might feel very constricted in your movements and freedoms. This is the same for everyone else in the home. Your instinct may finger point and blame others for the interruption. “You’re always interrupting me when I’m reading or working!” Instead, your best move is to switch it around and say, “I feel stressed and agitated when I don’t have my 30-45 minutes of reading time and I don’t want to lash out mistakenly on anybody.”


Be solution oriented


Ultimately, candour will be your best tool in dealing with friends or family members. Discuss what your interests are, heed their positions too, and work toward a mutually-beneficial solution. It may turn out to be a more pleasant negotiation than you’d think!


Since 2005, Giuseppe Conti has been an award-winning Lecturer, recognized for his lively and interactive training workshops across a number of the leading business schools in Europe: Cambridge, EPFL, ESADE, HEC Lausanne, HEC Paris, IESE, IMD, Imperial College, INSEAD, London Business School, Oxford, RSM, SDA Bocconi, UBIS, University of Geneva and University of St Gallen.


More recently, he has become a Professor in Negotiation & Influencing. Giuseppe regularly runs negotiation workshops in four continents. Corporate leaders from multinational corporations and individuals from over 110 different countries have attended his workshops.