Cultural Clashes and Other Caveats to Making Agreements

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 third of three discussing some Caveats and Assumptions in making Agreements. Read more below about cultural mismatches and agency 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.

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

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentines Day Card with intertwined hearts

Remember, no matter what makes your love special, no matter how long or short that love is, no matter who and how many you love…

Love is always OK.  And so are YOU.

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Remember to check out my Valentine’s coaching specials before they’ve flown away like Cupid!

PPS: See you at the  Academic Poly Conference in Berkeley, CA, this weekend (February 15-17)? I’ll be there!

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Caveats and Assumptions (Part 3 of 3)

General alignment in cultural norms

Occasionally you’ll encounter a situation in which it appears that everyone is attempting to create functional Agreements, but things still aren’t working. Sometimes this can be traced back to a mismatch in cultural norms. There are some cultures (e.g, the Southern United States, or some situations in Japan, among others) where direct requests are often considered rude or gauche. This can make it extremely difficult to create functional Agreements using the patterns outlined in this book.  Especially if you’re dealing with people from two or more different cultures, you may want to get some help from someone who understands both/all cultures, to make sure that some fundamental misunderstanding isn’t occurring, or some unintentional slight being offered.  Other styles of negotiating or making Agreements may need to be employed.

All parties are able to negotiate freely

It’s also important that each person be able to make the Agreements in the first place. This is closely related to “Competency” above, but not quite the same thing. In particular, you’ll want to make sure that there are no pre-existing Agreements that interfere with the ability of each party to make and keep these Agreements, e.g., Agreements with a spouse or Primary partner, M/s Agreements that assign this ability to one party, and the like.  Even Agreements with bosses or other non-romantic relationships might interfere with some Relationship Agreements. You might also want to review the list in “With Whom Might You Make Agreements” at the beginning of the book [p. ___] to make sure you’re negotiating with someone who can negotiate with you.


And if you’re the one in a pre-existing relationship, you’ll want to make sure that you’re clear what you can and cannot negotiate around.  Is there someone else that needs to be brought into the discussion? Is there another relationship that needs to change first? Or if permission or gatekeeping are chafing, and/or your power exchange isn’t completely by choice, then maybe you want to re-examine the structure of all your relationships. Remember that it is always about the Win-Win-Win, and the relationship needs your needs in order to succeed.

[Next up: starting The Five Reasons Agreements Fail (and what to do when they do!)]

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[© 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: Reasons 1 & 2 of the Five Reasons Agreements Fail ]

[Previous Entry: Agreements: Good Faith Efforts (2 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]


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Click here to get personalized help with your own Agreements!

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2 thoughts on “Cultural Clashes and Other Caveats to Making Agreements

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

  2. Pingback: Agreements: Good Faith Efforts — Uncharted Love

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