Kitten Folly and Costly Aggression

Kittens 400After a parade of problematic renters, Beth finally found excellent renters for her furnished home. The neighbors are delighted. The yard is beautiful with lots of new landscaping. There are no (expletives deleted) coming from the windows. The new renters participate in the community.

Many neighbors found Beth difficult to relate to when she was living in her house, and kept their mouths shut when the new renters spoke of how much they like her.

But all that changed. The new renters got permission to get kittens. Their new kittens ended up needing a good bit of medical care, and that taxed their finances. So they asked Beth, “Can we pay $250 of the pet deposit now and the other $250 in two weeks?”

Beth’s tone turned to ice. Her wording became impersonal and legalistic. She replied, “I expect you to remit the entire deposit payment immediately in accordance with our agreement.”

Her words got the job done; the renters sent payment. The cost of Beth’s victory was goodwill. Suddenly Beth’s new renters began to question the generous way they tend a home that isn’t theirs.

There is so much more to Speaking Strong than getting others to do what you want. Beth might have gotten the same result in a more personal way. But what would she have lost by waiting two weeks for a deposit from people who had already rented from her for a year?

Beth won a victory at a very high price – and she doesn’t even know it. 


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