The Clearing Process
Often there are relationships in our lives that are toxic and destructive. Sometimes this happens because someone does something to us and we don’t have the ability to confront them. Here’s how I believe this can be handled.
For example, someone you know socially buys something from you and doesn’t pay for it.
The outcome you want is to be able to be in a room with this guy and be nonplussed, perhaps a little annoyed, as if at a child who cheated you out of $5.00. You don’t like him, you don’t like what he did, but he didn’t take anything of particular value to you and he hurts his own reputation far more than any damage done to you. He’s the fool. Anybody he tries to ‘brag’ to would think less of him. “Why would be proud of cheating a nice, honest guy like you?” If people he is ‘bragging to’ respect him for cheating you, then you don’t give a damn about those people anyway. Your success is such that you can handle the loss of the money he stole, although not without a fight…
Therefore, let your lawyers do the heavy fighting – make sure they’re after him as diligently as possible. Instruct your lawyers to go after him with a vengeance – then you let it go.
The clearing process I outlined is a way of saying everything you need to say then letting it go. The very best way of doing it would be that you and a few friends sit down with him and a few friends. It’s good to have a few other people there for support, although they don’t have a role.
Data: State what happened. Be concise and 100% accurate. These need to be inarguable facts. There is nothing here that can be disputed or questioned by him. Example: On Jan 1 you bought something which you have not yet paid for. Note that a statement like – “and It appears you don’t intend to pay for it” does NOT belong here. That’s a judgment of yours, not an indisputable fact.
Judgment: This is what you have ‘made up’ around what happened. It may or may not be true – although you think it is. Be clear that this is your judgments. Example: I believe you do not intend to pay me and that you planned to stiff me from the start. I believe you set out to cheat me.
Feeling: How does this make you feel. Example: Sad – you were a friend – betrayed. Embarassed. Humiliated…
Action: What you would like to happen. Example: I would like to have nothing to do you in a business or social setting.
The key here is there is nothing for him to say. You haven’t asked him any question, accused him of anything, or made any statement that suggests a response. You’ve said what you need to and, ideally, you’re done with it. Speak your piece then leave. If he starts to respond, listen but don’t argue – if there is a possible resolution here to be gained by arguing it, the lawyers will find it. Let your hired guns do the gunfighting.
The alternative; brooding, being angry, avoiding reunions because he’s there, crossing the street when you see him coming – start on that path and you’ve let him take something FAR more valuable than money.
Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery. They were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water. She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.
In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women. But one monk was filled with compassion for the bride. Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream–assisting her journey and saving her gown. She smiled and bowed with gratitude as he noisily splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.
The second monk was livid. “How could you do that?” he scolded. “You know we are forbidden even to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around!”
The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to the monastery. His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds. After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for a few hours. He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk. “How could you carry that woman?” his agitated friend cried out. “Someone else could have helped her across the stream. You were a bad monk!”
“What woman?” the tired monk inquired groggily.
“Don’t you even remember? That woman you carried across the stream,” his colleague snapped.
“Oh, her,” laughed the sleepy monk. “I only carried her across the stream. You carried her all the way back to the monastery.”
The learning point is simple: Leave it at the stream.