I’ll Cooperate But Only On My Terms

Guest post by SusanneĀ Engelhard

So this is the thing about cooperation. You can’t force it.

It’s annoying right? 

There would be so much less sibling fighting…if only they would just cooperate

There is housework to be done and it would get done so quickly…if only the rest of the family would cooperate.

You have ideas that you want out in the world, and it would all be so perfect…if only other people would cooperate with your grand plan. 

Yep, I get it. I find it frustrating too. 

But the problem with this approach is. 

Whose Plan is it? Whose Needs is it meeting? Who really really wants it to happen? 

Mine. Mine. Me. 

As difficult as I find it to do. If I examine my intent, in the above examples, underneath each of these is that “I want other people to do what I want”. 

See the problem here? 

It isn’t cooperation. 

It is Dictatorship. Coercian. Compliance. 


A common definition of cooperation is about working together for the same end goal. But what is lesser understood is that true cooperation only gets off the ground on the foundations of willingness, choice, and a balance of needs being met between everybody involved. 

Is it any wonder then that true cooperation is hard to find, when as a society we have such a low literacy of Needs Awareness?

The desire to have our Needs met drive behaviour. Your behaviour, my behaviour, other people’s behaviour.

So if you want willingness in other people – ie a self directed drive – either achieving the end goal, or the actual process itself has to meet a need within them or they will resist joining in. 

This is so simple to understand. Yet, this is so hard to do. 

The best place to start? 

Increase awareness of your own Needs (there are more than 120 of them) and observe how they drive YOUR behaviour.  Get to know them.  Name them. Value them. Respect them. Treasure them. 

Your Needs are your Life-force. Is it any wonder that you will protect them above all else?If you do not experience your needs being met then you will not cooperate, and it really is as simple and as complicated as that.

This is also why other people do not cooperate when you want them too – it is because they are not experiencing their needs being met by what you are asking of them. 

Having a Needs awareness, and knowing how to communicate around Needs is critical for solving problems; for finding peaceful solutions; and my friends, it is critical if you want to create a life that you love. 

You can make every interaction matter,

šŸ§” Susanne 

SusanneĀ EngelhardĀ is the founder of the Listener’s Way, where she shares her story about how Needs Based Communication has helped her in her life.

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