“We’re working to an and/and solution”

I found a gem in an overheard conversation this morning [which makes a lovely change from the usual conspiracy guy rantings  I tend to catch snippets of! The people who walk past my door are occasionally an entertaining bunch].

The discussion seemed to be running along the lines that there’s a problem, with a number of possible solutions, and pondering which approach would be best.

The gem was in the response, coined as “… we’re working to an and/and solution…”

You know how it is when you hear something so obvious that you wonder why no-one’s come up with it before? I had one of those moments.

Wedding planning is all about compromises – working out ways to accommodate the wishes and requirements of the couple, their families, the guests, and the law. Often it comes down to an and/or option, but in reality, many of the either/or choices can become and/and solutions with a little creative thinking. [Okay, yes, I guess it’s just a re-languaging of win/win, but it still works for me!]

For example, a bride in The Store earlier this week posed me her dilemma: Although neither of them regularly attend church, her groom wants to get married in the cute little church where his parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins [and so on] all had their wedding ceremonies. Great idea! That’s an excellent reason to choose a venue.

But, that cute little church is also the venue for the bride’s older sister’s wedding. And the bride would really, really like not to get married in near identical circumstances so close after her sister’s celebrations.

So, what’s a couple to do? It could be a classic standoff – both parties have good reasons behind their preference. Neither reason is an automatic yes or no, trumping the other. Neither one is particularly passionately holding their stance, but they both feel equally strongly that they’d rather it one way, not the other. Ironically, the biggest problem is not so much  that either side is stubbornly refusing to negotiate, but that they both want the other to be happy with the decision – either side is willing to compromise, but the other is not willing to “get their own way” knowing that the other is unhappy with the outcome!

Here’s where an and/and solution beats an either/or.  Times when it’s not totally black and white, yes or no. when it’s not win/lose because they both want to find a solution that works – it’s lose/lose unless they can find a way to both get what they want –

My and/and suggestion in this instance was that perhaps they could plan to have the ceremony in the grounds of the church [with the chapel as a wet-weather backup]. This gives the bride a fresh canvas to create her wedding backdrop without copying from her sister’s wedding, and keeps the groom’s family connection to the church as well.

I hate trying to come up with win/win solutions. Once we start talking about win/win vs win/lose, it just gets crazy – either the parties get entrenched and intractable regarding their position, or they over compensate so as not to make their loved one come out as ‘the loser’

Semantic quibbling? Yeah, maybe.  But somehow and/and feels like we’re seeking a fair middle path towards getting  solutions that everyone can not just live with, but be happy about. And, it amused me, so I thought I’d pass it on.

Happy solution finding!


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