Agreements Tip #1: Begin With Brainstorming

Two stylized hands clasping, forming a heart. Copyright-free symbol designed by Ravi Poovaiah, Professor, IDC, IIT Bombay.This entry in the Agreements Workbook series begins the Ten Tips for Making Empowering Agreements with a review of the Ten Tips, and then moves on to Tip #1, which is about brainstorming and keeping an open mind in the beginning stages of making a new Agreement.

Please feel free to make comments or ask questions, either here, or on my FB Page, Love Outside The Box.

 ~♥ Dawn

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

Ten Tips for Making Empowering Agreements

Now that you’ve done the background work—e.g., considered whether an Agreement is appropriate, made sure that your Agreement is based on a clear request, identified your needs and hopefully your partner/s’—it’s finally time to get down to the process of making the Agreements. In the next ten sections, I’ll cover Ten Tips for Making Empowering Agreements. To review, here are the Ten Tips [the order is still subject to revision!]:

1) Begin with brainstorming
2) Use time-limited agreements where necessary
3) Have clear standards and consequences
4) Additive agreements: New models for old situations
5) Cost-Benefit Ratio (was “Wonderfulness Points”)
6) Keep emotional and safety needs distinct
7) KISS: Keep It Simple, Silly!
8 ) Create clear ownership of the Agreements
9) Check in periodically; renegotiate if needed
10) Write it down

Agreements Tip #1: Begin With Brainstorming

To make an Agreement, you must be willing to be open to new ideas. Otherwise, you’ll just be rehashing old tired arguments, with everyone stuck in their accustomed positions. The best way that I’ve found to break out of that is to start by “brainstorming,” where everyone involved just blurts out ideas without much conscious filtering. It’s important to remember a few things when brainstorming:
• Remember that no idea is bad. All ideas, however silly, should be put on the table. Not only might a silly idea give everyone a good laugh and reduce tension, but it might also lead someone else (or you!) to come up with an even better idea.
• Everyone involved must be willing to be vulnerable. Be willing to know what your needs are (see the section “Agreements Are About Meeting Needs,” p. ___), and to discuss those needs and feelings about them with your partner/s. Be open to hearing the needs of your partner/s as well.
• As discussed on p. __, keep your needs and your strategies separate. In other words, be attached to addressing your ultimate goal/need, rather than your specific idea for how to get there. If I think I have “the answer,” I’ll get attached to that particular way of meeting the needs. When I give up that attachment, I open the door to other possibilities that might be even better.

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

[Worksheet] DO Try This At Home! — Brainstorm!

Brainstorm some possible approaches to getting a couple of your more important needs met.

[NOTE: It’s not mandatory that you have seven different possibilities for every need. You may only have a couple. But you may find that once you get started, you can see a lot of different options to get your needs met!]

Need:
Strategies or possible Agreements to make:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

Need:
Strategies or possible Agreements to make:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

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

[© 2011 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: Appendix B, pt 1: Relationship Agreements example]

[Previous Entry: Appendix A: A Model of Polyamorous Relationship Dynamics]

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

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

One thought on “Agreements Tip #1: Begin With Brainstorming

  1. Pingback: Agreements Tip #2b: Measurable and Verifiable Standards — Uncharted Love

Leave a Reply

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