Before and After the Gordon Model: A Real Life Example of How NOT to Confront and Stir Up Trouble!

email confrontation dr thomas gordon modelSo I am sure you’ve had many times in your life when you’ve had some pretty heated exchanges with coworkers, friends, partner/spouse and so forth.   And maybe those “discussions” didn’t go too well.  Ever wonder what would happen if you could have a little consultant on your shoulder during those times, coaching you what TO do and what NOT to do? Would be nice wouldn’t it?

What is shared below is a true story—the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

The letter below was written (but not sent) by an individual to her landlord. The writer of the letter asked a highly-trained Gordon Model person to edit it, hence the second letter, which was sent.

Here is the original letter–Before the Gordon Model treatment:

Hey ____,

Thought I would send an email and get everything down in one shot.

I am just stating the facts as I see them. Hopefully nothing is offensive to you. Just stating plainly. You appear to be a fairly busy man. Your doing what you want, moving forward in your business interests. In this process your thoughts are not about me or my business. No thought is taken to inform me of what is going on.

I am not informed when construction is to take place on the building, this is disruptive to my business. The guys show up to remove the awning. They start to unfasten the awning dropping pieces onto one of my client’s car, my client has to go out and move it. With no regard to the operation of my business the workers are about to drop the awning in front of my door, trapping me and my clients inside. No one would be able to go in or out momentarily. I have to ask them to wait until I am finished working before they continue.

I pick up all kinds of little bits and pieces that are left in the parking lot. Stuff left over from the awning removal and removal of lights. I am sweeping lots of sawdust from in front of my door. There is not a trash to put it in. I am never told painting is to be done, fumes are in my studio while my clients are working out. The bathroom is left torn apart until I tell them to put it back together. They cannot paint while I am there and my clients might need it. 3 days later they finish. Without any notice my sign is taken down and damaged. When I ask the contractor whats going on he is fairly rude, telling me he was only hired to redo your side and does not know if or when the sign will be put back up.

After I leave a message requesting you contact me, you leave a message saying you have ideas about my sign.  You haven’t taken the time to talk to me about it.In the mean time the sign is just sitting there on the ground. Are you paying for the new sign, are you going to get the approval from the city. Is this stuff legal, can you just do as you please to me and my business because you bought the building.

I understand that my business is not important to you, why should it be. It appears you would prefer for me to be gone. 

Can’t help the fact that the lack of consideration so far is unsettling to me. With all that being said, make it worth my while to leave you in peace. 

You can do what you want when you want without having to take anyone else into consideration.

I have a little over 2 years left on my lease. Buy out my lease if you want me gone.

If your goal is not to get me out, then please have a bit more consideration concerning me and my business in the future. 



And here it is after the Gordon Model treatment:

“Dear _____:

I know that you’re aware that there are some problems and issues in our relationship. I would like let you know specifically what they are from my point of view and explain what I and my clients have been experiencing as a result of them. Once you have had a chance to read this, I hope that we can have a meeting to talk through this situation and come to some mutually agreeable solutions.

 Several things have happened recently that have been disruptive to my business and therefore very stressful to me. While I understand that this is now your building and you have the right to use/remodel it, still I feel frustrated that I have not been informed that construction was going to take place or on what schedule. A number of times when the construction crew has been here working, problems have occurred: 1) when they unfastened the awning, pieces of it dropped on one of my client’s car and she had to go out and remove it; 2) the crew was about to drop the awning in front of my entrance just as my class was over meaning that my clients would not be able to get in or out of the door so I needed to rush out and ask them to please wait; 3) I have picked up quite a lot of debris out of the parking lot after the removal of the awning and the lights and done a lot of sweeping up. Plus, there is no trash receptacle available to dump it in; 4) painting gets done while I have clients in class and the fumes waft into the studio; 5) the bathroom was left torn apart and painting wasn’t finished for three days; 6) my sign was taken down and damaged and has not been re-hung.

 As you can imagine, having to deal with all of this while trying to run my business in a professional way causes me stress and worry. I have attempted to discuss this situation with you, but that has not happened and now I’m upset. 

I still have a little over two years left on my lease and assuming that I stay that long, I would like to have a good working relationship with you. If you would prefer that I leave, I am open to the possibility of your buying me out.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.



Now which letter do you think would get the most positive response? I am sure you’d agree with the second one. And look at what this person would’ve created if they’d sent the first letter. This is how wars start for cryin’ out loud!

Anyway, perhaps this will help you as you frame your next confrontation whether in person or via email.


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