Negotiation Tactic #94 – You’ve Pushed Me Over the Edge

Summary: Giving up all direct communication with a counterpart. This tactic is reserved for the most difficult counterparts, when all other viable strategies have been exhausted.

Once in a lifetime you are “blessed” with a neighbor or business associate who is truly impossible to deal with. In this rare instance, a special tactic is needed.

For two years, Vic puts up with his neighbor’s complaints about his dog, his kids, his trees, his car, his music, etc. Vic has finally had enough, and when his neighbor starts harassing him again, Vic says, “I give up! I will never communicate with you directly again. My next communication with you will be in the form of a letter from my attorney.”


The best counter for this nasty neighbor would be to utilize the tactic of Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned in an attempt to reopen the negotiation. Trying to keep the negotiation open would probably be in the nasty neighbor’s best interests, since whenever attorneys get involved in a situation, the attorneys are usually the only ones who come out ahead. A second, more likely, tactic for a nasty neighbor would be Calling Your Bluff. The neighbor would look at Vic and say, “Great, I look forward to getting your attorney’s letter.” Although in this example, the neighbor seems to be the one who has been the bully for two years, when Vic uses You’ve Pushed Me Over the Edge, he becomes the bully. A third possible counter for the nasty neighbor would be to try to get closer to the bully (Vic) by asking, “We have been working out our own problems for over two years. Why do you see a need to get an attorney involved now?”

Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?

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