You Can’t Negotiate With Crazy

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You Can’t Negotiate With Crazy.  This is not referring to someone who is mentally incapacitated or insane.  Contracts with those types of people as well as people under the influence of drugs and alcohol, minors etc are voidable, meaning they cannot be enforced.  More information on that specific topic is included in the FREE Contracts 101 downloadable on the front page of the website.  Just enter your information to receive your free report.

This strategy; You Can’t Negotiate With Crazy; which is the last strategy in my Think Like A Negotiator book, came from a discussion I had with my good friend Alex Van Name of .  I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about but it was something to do with someone’s erratic and crazy behavior.  What came out of that discussion was that you cannot under any circumstances negotiate or reason with someone who is in a high state of emotion about something (aka “crazy”). I am not meaning crazy as a derogatory term.  It is simply a label for that thinking we sometimes get about an issue which brings on a strange reaction.  This reaction makes it impossible to reason with anyone in this state of mind.

The time to walk away is when you have had a disagreement or unclear communication that causes the discussion to take on a crazy path.  Perhaps the person you are communicating with took something you said the wrong way or perhaps they are angry or upset with you about something.  Have you ever had someone say, text or email something to you that accused you of doing something you didn’t do and you wanted to compel them to see your point of view?  You probably wanted to defend your position and prove that you didn’t do what they were accusing you of.

It does no good to attempt to reason with or attempt to convince someone of your point of view when they are so wound up and convinced you have done this horrible thing that nothing you say will even be considered. You have to step away from the crazy until the emotions die down and you are able to have a reasonable discussion about what happened.  It is always important when something like this happens to look at your part in the situation and take responsibility for your part in it.  Doing that often helps diffuse the emotions on your side of the situation.

Often times I communicate something that is taken wrong by the person I communicated it to.  I am sure you have done this as well.  We are human, raised in different cultures, areas, countries etc.  We come from different backgrounds and experiences.  We are all different and have different understanding about things in life.  We may have commonalities with people but we are all unique in our own way.  With so much uniqueness there is bound to be misunderstandings that occur.

Sometimes I don’t take my own advice.  One time I communicated something to someone that they took to mean something totally different than I intended.  They blasted me with accusations and insults.  Instead of taking my own advice and stepping away from the crazy, I jumped in on the “dance floor” as I call it and attempted to compel them to see my point of view.  I was really upset and couldn’t wrap my head around their perception of what I said.  I had some exchanges with them until I realized what I was doing.  I was attempting to negotiate with crazy.  When I realized it, I put a stop to it which put a stop to the highly charged interaction and paved the way to clear up the misunderstanding to a win-win result.

You will save yourself a lot of heartache and headaches if you heed this advice and simply stay away from the crazy and remember the simple strategy of “You Can’t Negotiate With Crazy.”

©2014 Dynamic Vision International Inc.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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