My Trade Partner Won’t Return My Calls, and the Trade Deadline Is on Thursday

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Dear Trade Whisperer,

I’m extremely anxious to make things work, but the problem is that my trade partner isn’t showing any initiative. I’m tired of bidding against myself, so I’ve let them know that it’s up to them to make a counterproposal. Have I made a mistake?

—On a Deadline and Afraid to Brow Out

Dear On a Deadline and Afraid to Brow Out,

If you tried to rip the hydrangeas from someone’s front yard, do you think they would consider you to be a “gardening partner”? Of course not, and you shouldn’t expect them to give you a fresh bouquet when they’re chasing you off the lawn, either. Your approach has been all wrong, which is a shame because you have so much to give.

Well, maybe not that much.

It’s good to be wary of coming on too strong, but that doesn’t mean you should mistake effort for weakness. Somewhere down the line you started to believe that your interest alone was a concession. I’m not sure where this line of thinking came from, but it’s extremely unhealthy. You are going to need to bring more to the table, and you shouldn’t bristle when this “partner” tells you what they want.

They’re the ones communicating, and you should return the favor by telling them directly that they are being unreasonable. They’re not going to listen if you filter your messages through others, and they won’t respect you if you use these public backchannels to accuse them of being uncommunicative.

It’s plainly ridiculous, and it makes me think that you don’t even want to make progress. Perhaps you are being pulled in this direction by someone who recently arrived in your life? Maybe this person seemed like they were going to fix all your problems, but it soon became clear that they have been using you to fix their own issues?

Ask yourself: Did your home environment become toxic on its own, or has someone made it this way?

You could make the trade work if you really wanted to. It’s easy: Just pick up the phone and give the other side what they want. That you haven’t done this and are instead shifting the responsibility to an otherwise uninterested party is telling. Are you projecting your own frustrations onto them?

You’ve spent a week in conversation with yourself, but you still haven’t been honest about what it is you want. Maybe you are afraid to admit it, but, please: Wake up and smell the hydrangeas. You need to trade LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers for picks and move on with your life.