Rules are often seen as a bad thing. They establish expectations and scope of responsibility and can sometimes feel like a wet blanket. If you challenge yourself however, I bet you can think back to many instances in which you were elated to have a set of rules. Perhaps the movers damaged your great-grandmother’s antique buffet or left you with a busted bed frame. You got the run-around and had to remind them of specific insurance policy verbiage in order to be made whole.
My mind goes back to when a tree limb towering over my condo building punctured my roof while I was traveling. (This stuff only seems to happen to me!) Inevitably a thunderstorm came, soaking the sheet-rock, carpet and all my clothes. The owner of the building with whom I had a great relationship was apologetic but refused to make the interior repairs. Then, there it was! On page 286 of my building bylaws, I found that landscaping was the expressed responsibility of the building owner, and any negligence was on their dime. Once that was demonstrated, the owner agreed to tap into their insurance policy, the repairs were completed, and I lived harmoniously in that home for another three years without incident. It wasn’t emotional; it was business and those were our mutually agreed upon rules. I learned that day that having a set of clear expectations documented takes the emotion out of a potentially confrontational situation and protects relationships.