Agreements: Good Faith Efforts

Two stylized hands clasping, forming a heart. Copyright-free symbol designed by Ravi Poovaiah, Professor, IDC, IIT Bombay.This entry in my Agreements Workbook Series (aka “KISSable Agreements) series, is the second of three discussing some Caveats and Assumptions in making Agreements. Read more below about Good Faith Efforts and why they’re so important in making mutual Agreements.

And remember, I’ll be giving a short presentation on the topic of Agreements at the upcoming Academic Poly Conference in Berkeley, CA, this weekend (February 15-17). My presentation is currently scheduled for mid-afternoon on Saturday in the parallel non-academic track. (You can still register here!)

Questions or comments?  As always, feel free to comment below, contact me here, or on my FB Page, Love Outside The Box!

~♥ Dawn

LoveOTB_DkPurp_72px_ClipPS:  It’s not too late to take advantage of my Valentine’s coaching specials! Want to know more? You can find out what other people have to say about my work here. 🙂

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

Caveats and Assumptions (Part 2 of 3)

Good Faith Efforts Are Necessary

Back in Tip #2 (Clear Standards and Consequences), we talked about respect, and a little about negotiating in “good faith.”  What does that mean?  It means that for Agreements to work, all parties must be respecting themselves and each other, and being honest with themselves and each other (and by extension, the world.)  Yes, “stuff happens,” and Agreements aren’t always able to be kept. However, if one or more parties enter into the Agreement in “bad faith,” i.e., never intending that it be kept, or knowingly choosing a path that will hurt the other/s, then the Agreement was untenable from the first. No amount of writing and re-writing Agreements will ever produce one that will work for everyone.

“In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract.

Wikipedia article on “Good Faith (law),” Feb. 11, 2013 (emphasis added)


Conversely, it’s generally important to assume good faith, in absence of evidence to the contrary. Suspicion breeds mistrust, and that generally leads to a downward spiral. This is because mistrust is usually met with defensiveness, which most people interpret (rightly or wrongly) as slightly hostile, which leads to more defensiveness and hostility, ad nauseum. Starting from a place of neutrality, or if possible, assuming good faith, will lead to the most positive benefits to be gained from the situation.

How can you tell if someone is negotiating in good faith?  One way that serves me well, is neatly encapsulated here by my friend (and curator of the Polyamory Archive Collection at the Kinsey Institute):

 “Listen Carefully to What People Do”  —Ken Haslam

In other words, in single dealings, it can be hard to tell, but in multiple encounters, a pattern of behavior will probably emerge.  Ultimately the most important thing, in my opinion, is that all parties are honest with themselves and each other. With that in place, the rest can be dealt with over time.

[Up next in the Agreements Workbook series: The 3rd of 3 entries on Caveats and Assumptions.]

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Note that these entries are all rough drafts, and thus are probably missing things like references. If you know the perfect reference to add, feel free to suggest it! I always like to add to my resource collection.


[Next Entry: Culture Clash and Other Caveats to Agreements (3 of 3 on Caveats and Assumptions)]

[Related Entry: Is It Over? (Agreements Appendix C) ]

[Previous Entry: When Agreements Fail: Competency (1 of 3 on Caveats and Assumptions)]

[Return to the Table of Contents for the Agreements Workbook Series]

[Return to the first text entry in the Agreements Workbook series]


∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

Click here to get personalized help with your own Agreements!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

5 thoughts on “Agreements: Good Faith Efforts

  1. Dasha

    Do you have a sample agreement? specifically im looking for what to put in their when we break our agreement. thanks!

    1. Uncharted Love / Love Outside the Box Post author

      Hi Dasha: Yes, sample agreements are available in my book.

      You may also want to look at the entries on The 5 Reasons Agreements Fail:, and

      Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you want to do a free (30 min) or half price (60 min) discovery session around your agreements-making activities. Right now I’m running a summer special, if you want a series of sessions:

  2. Pingback: Dawn Davidson's Five Reasons Agreements Fail - Loving More Nonprofit

  3. Pingback: Cultural Clashes and Other Caveats to Making Agreements — Uncharted Love

  4. Pingback: When Agreements Fail: Competency — Uncharted Love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *