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A Dutiful Deal

Telling the truth is a critical part of negotiating a deal or coming to an agreement. In legal wording, everyone should be able to have “good faith” that no one is trying to cheat anyone else out of anything. All people who are part of the negotiation are coming to bargain what they are truly willing to give and stating what they need or want in return in as clear terms as possible.

In a more formal deal, we may need to think carefully about what “clear terms” are. We may take for granted that people understand the situation the same way we do. This can lead to problems with an agreement that fails to call out details where we may differ from the person we are making an agreement with. We won’t notice it if our differences never show up in a problem while we have an agreement. However, if there is a problem, and often times when we have different expectations there is at least one problem, it is only when it appears that we start arguing about what those expectations are. This isn’t a problem with truth, since everyone spoke within their expectations. This is a problem with assumption, which is another hurdle to overcome when we are interested in truth.

In many ways, this example applies to relationships. We tend to find interest in people based on instinctive encounters when we notice something appealing or inviting about them. From there, the relationship evolves into each moment when we discover more and more that we enjoy another person’s company. This gives the relationship an initial momentum. However, we often assume such people are exactly what we expect based on our experiences in life so far. It is only when we find out through experience that they may be different in one way or another that we realize they aren’t exactly who we thought they might be. Our expectations or assumptions got in the way of the truth of who that person is.

It is important to realize how much our expectations and assumptions hide the truth from us. Being who we are, we tend to speak briefly and often incompletely. We try to let what we think is “normal” speak for itself. However, we should learn to stop taking anything expectations for granted. That doesn’t mean there aren’t cultural standards and in that sense some expectations that are set at a group level. However, if we are interested in the truth, we should also keep in mind that it is our responsibility to overcome assumption if we want to avoid problems with an agreement or deal. It may be discomforting at times to call certain details into question, but it may also be necessary. If our goal is to make sure the deal or agreement works for everyone, then we can challenge assumptions in the spirit of mutual happiness.

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