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Splitting the Rent Evenly: A Negotiation Case Study

Question: How can you successfully negotiate with someone who is resistant to your proposal?

I was recently in a negotiation with my roommate about splitting rent evenly. We had been living together for a few months, and I felt like I was shouldering more of the burden financially. I decided to sit down with her and talk about it. After giving my opinion on the issue, I actively listened to her response. Active listening is important in a negotiation because it allows the negotiator to understand the other party’s interests, needs, and positions (Hoppe, 2018). Active listening also allows the negotiator to build rapport and trust with the other party. Initially, my roommate was resistant to the idea of splitting rent evenly. She argued that she didn’t make as much money as I did and that it wasn’t fair to ask her to pay the same amount. I explained that I thought it was only fair since we were both living in the same space and using the same utilities. After a few minutes of discussion, we were able to come to an agreement. We decided that she would pay 50% of the rent, and I would pay the other 50%.

The first key principle is to separate the people from the problem. In order to negotiate effectively, it is important to be able to separate the people involved from the actual problem that needs to be solved. This means that personal attacks and criticisms should be avoided, as they will only serve to further escalate the situation. Another principle is to focus on interests, not positions. When negotiating, it is important to focus on the interests of both parties involved rather than their positions. This is because positions are often inflexible, whereas interests can be more easily compromised. Besides, inventing options for mutual gain serves as another key principle. It is often helpful to brainstorm a variety of potential solutions to the problem at hand in order to find an option that is mutually beneficial for both parties. According to Grayson & Baldwin (2011), Leaders need to be able to negotiate in order to get what they want from others and to find common ground. The last key principle is to use objective criteria. When making decisions during a negotiation, it is important to use objective criteria rather than personal opinions. This will help to ensure that the final decision is fair and equitable.

In this particular negotiation, it is helpful to focus on the interests of both parties rather than their positions. For example, it may be helpful to look at the larger financial picture and consider what is fair and reasonable, given both parties’ incomes. Additionally, it may be helpful to brainstorm possible options for splitting the rent that would be mutually beneficial for both parties. For instance, perhaps one party could pay a slightly higher percentage of the rent while the other party could be responsible for a greater share of the utilities. By keeping the people separate from the problem and focusing on interests, it may be possible to come to an agreement that is fair and mutually beneficial for both parties.

In this negotiation, the key interests of each party are fairness and financial burden. I believe that it is only fair that both of us pay the same amount since we are using the same space and utilities. On the other hand, my roommate argues that it isn’t fair to ask her to pay the same amount since she doesn’t make as much money. In this case, the key position is that I want both parties to pay an equal amount, while my roommate wants to pay a smaller amount based on her income. In a negotiation, interests are responsible for defining the problem, and by looking at our interests as roommates, is when we can come up with a possible solution. Apart from money being involved in our negotiation, we cannot overlook the basic human needs in question, such as economic well-being (Fisher et al., 2011). In our negotiation, we acknowledge our interest in being part of the problem. In the negotiation, I was hard on the problem and not on my roommate.

According to Humphrey (2011), during a negotiation, it is important to be clear and concise when speaking, be aware of your audience and what they want to hear, and be prepared to negotiate based on what you want. Some possible options for mutual gain in this situation could involve the two of us working out a budget together to see where our respective money is going. This could help my roommate, who is resistant to the idea of splitting rent evenly, to see where her money is going and where she could potentially save in order to make ends meet. Another option would be for me to help my roommate look for ways to make more money, whether that be through getting a raise at her job or finding a higher-paying job altogether. Finally, we could also look into getting a third roommate to help split the rent and utilities three ways instead of two. This would lighten the financial burden on both of us and could potentially make a living together more affordable. In coming up with the above-mentioned options, we had to do away with four main obstacles that inhibit the invention of an abundance of options. They include premature judgment, looking for a single answer or solution, the presumption of a fixed pie, and the thought that solving their problem is their problem (Fisher et al., 2011). Besides, we also identified our mutual interests. We devoitaled them in order to come up with various options that were equally acceptable to me and asked my roommate the one she preferred most. I confronted her with the least painful choice rather than making things difficult for her.

When both parties have a clear understanding of what they want, they can begin to look for objective criteria that will help them reach a decision. Objective criteria are those that are based on facts, not opinions. They can include things like market value, cost, safety, or scientific data. By using objective criteria, the parties can avoid getting bogged down in arguments about who is right or wrong. Instead, they can focus on finding a solution that meets their mutual interests. This principle is particularly important when the parties have different opinions about what is fair. By using objective criteria, they can reach a decision that is based on facts, not emotions. In our particular case, the objective criteria that could be used are the percentage of the rent that each one of us should pay.

A win-win solution, in this case, would be for both parties to agree on a fair split of the rent. This could be done by taking into account each person’s income, the size of the apartment, and the cost of utilities. According to (Fisher et al., 2011). a win-win solution is when both parties feel like they have gained something from the negotiation. This could be in the form of a compromise where both parties give up something in order to gain something else. For example, if two people are arguing over who gets to use the car, they may agree that one person can use it in the morning and the other person can use it in the afternoon. This way, both people feel like they have won something.

In order to arrive at a successful conclusion in the negotiation, we employed good communication, cooperation, and compromise in resolving conflict (Scudderet al., 2011). By communicating effectively, we were able to understand each other’s positions and come to an agreement. By cooperating, we were able to work together to find a solution that satisfied both parties. And by compromising, we were able to find a middle ground that everyone could live with. Patterson et al. (2013) also note that communication is crucial for resolving issues. In order for a negotiation to be successful, both parties must be able to communicate effectively. This means being able to express their needs and wants clearly, as well as being able to listen to and understand the other side. If communication breaks down, it will be very difficult to reach an agreement.

In conclusion, it is that it is important to use objective criteria when making decisions during a negotiation. This will help to ensure that the final decision is fair and equitable. Additionally, I would recommend that in order to achieve a win-win situation, the involved parties should focus on their interests rather than their positions and that they brainstorm possible options for mutual before making a decision. Besides, it is important to put into consideration the four principles of negotiation when faced with situations that will require you to negotiate. Moreover, communication, active listening, and corporation are also important during a negotiation.


Fisher, R., Ury, W. L., & Patton, B. (2011). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin.

Grayson, C., & Baldwin, D. (2011). Leadership networking: Connect, collaborate, create (Vol. 125). John Wiley & Sons.

Hoppe, M. H. (2018). Active Listening: Improve Your Ability to Listen and Lead, (French). Center for Creative Leadership.

Humphrey, J. (2011). Speaking As a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak… From Board Rooms to Meeting Rooms, From Town Halls to Phone Calls. John Wiley & Sons.

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., Switzler, A., & Maxfield, D. (2013). Crucial accountability: Tools for resolving violated expectations, broken commitments, and bad behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scudder, T., Patterson, M., & Mitchell, K. (2011). Have a nice conflict: How to find success and satisfaction in the most unlikely places. John Wiley & Sons.


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