Indifferent - an Interesting Word

In everyday speaking, when we say we're indifferent to something, it generally means "we don't care" - we're not really interested. If the weather or a movie, or the performance of our football team was indifferent, we found it mediocre and not interesting for us.

However, this rather overlooks the real definition of indifferent. This means that we're equally satisfied by two or more choices, or combinations of choices. It's not that "we don't care", just that "we don't mind".

This becomes quite important in negotiations, as we seek to find common ground, make trade-offs and achieve a "win-win" result for all sides. The idea behind it is that what's important and valuable for one party may not be for another, and vice versa. So we may be quite happy to get what someone else is ready to give away.

However, to make all this work we do need to be very aware of our preferences, focus on what we really want (and don't want) and then apply this to a particular situation. Engaged indifference - who would have thought it?


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