4. Be sincere about cooperating. Before you try gentle persistence be sure that you really are willing to negotiate and that you honestly want the other person to be satisfied, too, so that your invitation to the other person to participate is genuine. If you really desire a cooperative, equal relationship, and the other person doesn't understand the value of that, it's up to you to lead the way. To succeed, you must accept the responsibility of being cooperative whether or not the other person agrees to participate.
5. Try to understand the other person's resistance. His or her inexperience, mistrust, need to control, or reluctance to be direct can be in the way. Encourage the other person to talk about his or her reluctance, and listen carefully. What you learn will make the difference for your success.
6. Be as objective as possible. When you express what you feel, use I messages, and don't expect the other person to agree. Instead, try to see both sides: why you want to negotiate, as well as why the other person doesn't. The better you understand the other person's attitude and concerns, the more effective you will be at reassuring and convincing him or her that the discussion will benefit him or her, too. Seek to explain the benefits of working together as the other person would perceive them, through reassurance and active listening.
7. Address the other person's fear. You may need to reassure the other person many times while you are gently persisting, because you are changing the rules for how you deal with each other, and change is unsettling and produces anxiety. Unwillingness to negotiate almost always indicates fear of the outcome. It can be very reassuring to remind the other person: I don't want to discomfort or embarrass you. Or our old standby, I want both of us to be satisfied. I won't consider this negotiation successful or complete unless you get what you want, too.
8. Remind the other person of your good will. Love and respect usually reduce defensiveness and make cooperation easier. Take some time to remind yourself of all the good and valuable aspects of your relationship, and then share them with the other person. Tell the other person you believe that together, you can solve the problem.
These steps are not necessarily easy, and learning to use them may require overcoming old, bad habits that lead to struggle. Take your time, and keep practicing. Familiarity with this technique can change every important relationship you have.
Adapted from: How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free