Ask Alignor

Why does the high-low game damage relationships?

The high-low game inherently damages relationships because it erodes trust. This occurs each time a person takes an unreasonable position for the purpose of coercing the other side to cave in. As soon as the positional negotiator changes their position as part of the haggling inherent in the high-low game, they are essentially admitting that their previous position was a “lie.” While both sides may understand that each position taken by the other side is just part of a “game,” that game becomes less and less fun as the sides dig in and try to force concessions from the other side. The high-low game then becomes a high stakes game of “chicken,” in which each side tries to coerce the other side into giving in. Such a competitive, tricky, hostile, “win-lose” dynamic based on lies is pretty much guaranteed to damage relationships!