Don’t poison your relationship

Bribery is bad: it entices people to do something they normally wouldn’t & conditions them to expect and demand gratuity where it isn’t due.

When I ask people whether they pay or receive bribes, their reaction ranges from surprise to indignation. Yet at least 2/3 resort to bribery as a matter of routine. I don’t suppose you believe me?

Let’s take a common problem: you work late, spend the weekend at the office, go on a business trip, etc., and you forget to call home, miss your child’s school pageant, forget it’s your anniversary, etc. You know they are seriously put off. How do you deal with that? Do you:

Plan A

1) sincerely apologise

2) promise it will never happen again

3) keep that promise

Plan B

Go for Plan A

but don’t manage #3

Plan C

Buy a present (or give them money so they buy one themselves) or take them out because you “owe them”.

This is why Plan C is toxic:

1) it says that spending time together, remembering special occasions matters more to them than it does to you

2) you position your presence as a favour that can be traded for another favour, gift or money

3) it tells them to ask for payoff (bribe) next time.


How do you fix that? Ask


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