How To Confront And Win A New Friend

Happy businessman holding smartphone and celebrating his success over gray background.jpegI moved into a new apartment.  The parking spaces are tiny. Not only is my neighbor parked right on the line, I need them to actually move to the other side as far as possible to make extra room for me because I drive a salsa red pearl Toyota 4-runner and there is no way I want anything to happen to that sexy paint-job…(see at the end of this post about my negotiation for that sexy thing!)

My neighbor is within his/her rights and doesn’t actually have to move a millimeter.  I don’t just want them in the middle of their space, I want them to actually park on the far side of their space.  

They’ve never even met me & I am the new kid.

I call the landlord to ask for a name & phone number.  “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”

Great.  That’s really what my neighbor needs – they haven’t even met me & already I’m complaining.  

On top of that, what’s the landlord thinking?  “New tenant. Already creating waves.  No way I’m going to let him call directly.”

What do I do?  I type up this note & leave it on the windshield.


My name is Chris Voss.  This is probably going to seem like a horrible way to meet your new parking space “neighbor” (space #3 for apartment xxxx).

I’m sure it’s been pretty nice having the space next to you vacant.  These spaces are ridiculously small as it is.  

Plus, on top of that you’ve got a vehicle on the smaller side (probably qualifies as a compact) & I’ve got a Toyota SUV (the larger side) – and my girlfriend drives a white BMW 4-door. (I’m sure both of those are annoying vehicles in and of themselves.

Here’s my ask (and I know it’s an ask because as long as you’re within the lines – you’re within your rights to your space):

I’m sorry, but is it offensive to ask you to please make it a point to center up in your space – even consider cheating a little toward the left (away from the #3 space next to you)?

My cell is  xxx-xxx-xxxx  I and my girlfriend Dena are moving into xxxx.  I hope we get to meet you in person and we become good friends and neighbors.


Cell xxx-xxx-xxxx”

The response?  A text.

“Hi Chris! This is Courtney. I drive the grey honda (in spot#2) and my boyfriend drives the white scion. Thank you for the kind note! We know these parking spots are a pain and we will definitely make a conscious effort to leave you more space. ☺ Hope to meet you and Dena soon!”

When I wrote the note I actually felt like I was laying it on a little thick. Here’s a good rule for both Assertives and Analysts:

“If you don’t feel like you’re laying it on thick, you’re not laying it on thick enough.”

An Assertive such as myself tends to be a little emotionally tone-deaf.  

What’s the difference between a “straight-shooter” and a jerk?  The straight-shooter tells you the truth in an emotionally intelligent way and the jerk just tells the truth with no regard for the emotional impact.

Ducking confrontations / problems doesn’t fix anything and in fact you miss opportunities.  Being “direct and honest” in confrontations makes things worse.  

Be emotionally intelligent (EQ) in “confrontations” and things will turn out surprisingly well!

Look at confrontations as gateways.  With the EQ of tactical empathy you can take your life to new levels.

Good luck!

For more on my Salsa Red Pearl Toyota, check out My NPR interview entitled “An FBI Hostage Negotiator Buys a Car” – all 16 minutes are great! My portion starts at about 8 minutes in and goes to the end.

Learn how to deliver bad news while maintaining a relationship and more at our upcoming 1-day seminar. Limited seats left. Register now!

August 18, Washington DC, Negotiation Seminar