Negotiation

Rabbit Rule #6: Use Short Sentences

After the rabbit got his act together, he really only used one sentence. In response to whatever the fox and bear suggested, he simply said: “That will be all right, but whatever you do, please, oh please don’t fling me in the brier patch.” He seemed to be saying a lot. He really wasn’t saying anything. He gave away no information.

Compound and complex sentences are some of the most wonderful things in life. People who care about each other should share feelings, hopes, angers, fears, and dreams. The trouble is that many people get it backwards. They won’t talk to the people they care about, but then when they talk with the enemy, they “really give them a piece of their mind.” Well, save it for the ones you love, and the ones who love you. Your spouse is now in a position adverse to yours. What you say can and usually will be used against you.

If you cannot resist the urge to use long sentences, or if you need to make conversation just to keep the negotiations going, be sure to talk only about the weather, foreign policy, nuclear physics, or some other topic wholly unrelated to your divorce or personal life.

Robin M. Green, Divorce: When It’s the Only Answer (The Ordinary Mortals Guide, Inc., 2005), Chapter 13, p. 196.