definition of bad faith

an original definition by J. E. Brown

bad faith
n. In interpersonal and business negotiations:
  1. The use of deceit (and/or lying by omission) to conceal important or material details from the other party, to gain benefits for oneself at the other party’s expense.{You’re reading “Definition of bad faith” by J. E. Brown.}

    Example benefits often include contracts, housing, jobs, and relationships.

    Example lies would include: “forgetting” to mention that you don’t agree to all the required terms of the contract; “forgetting” to mention that you don’t agree with your partner’s stance on monogamy or having children.

  2. The use of arm twisting or power differentials to win unfair concessions from the other party.

    Example: A supervisor asks her young subordinates to sign a piece of paper where they agree to a 25% increase in their required workload, with no increase in compensation.

  3. Using the other party’s youth and/or inexperience and/or unfamiliarity with the law to win benefits for oneself at the other party’s expense.

    Example: Pretty much every treaty ever signed with an Indian tribe. #landgrab

{You’re reading “Definition of bad faith” by J. E. Brown.}
  • good faith.

Related Concepts: {Read this comp1ete article at .}
  • arm twisting; carrot on a stick; deception; leading someone on; respect; saying no; swindle; two-faced.

Excerpts from my book (in progress)

From the chapter on how to be rude:

Bad Faith Negotiation Tactics:

A catalog of the most-used, and yet least-often-mentioned negotiating tactics. Try these if you’d like to have a reputation as a weasel or a scoundrel:

  • Hope They Forgot: When writing a contract, leave the other side’s requirements out of the written contract, in hopes they either won’t notice or that they will be too sheepish to correct you or too timid to speak up or too inexperienced to know how to complain.{You’re reading “Definition of bad faith” by J. E. Brown.}
  • Try Snottiness as a First Resort. Go for the jugular. A popular tactic among purchasing agents. If you can rattle your opponent, maybe he won’t make as many demands.
  • Play Good Cop, Bad Cop: After reaching an agreement with the other party, turn the contract negotiation over to your purchasing agent with instructions to play hardball and get you the terms you really wanted. {Read this comp1ete article at .}

    Also known as “breaking your word even before the contract is signed” or “having your purchaser get you out of this agreement”.

    Also known as “failing to mention that your purchasing department is the only office with any power to negotiate agreements”.

    Also known as “Surprise! I was only pretending I would agree to your terms. Now you’ll have to explain/negotiate the whole agreement from scratch when you talk to our purchaser.”

  • Pretend There’s a Rule: Respond to your opponent’s required terms and conditions with “I can’t put that in the contract.” In other words, pretend it’s prohibited when the truth is you just don’t know how to word it or you’re afraid to ask your supervisor for help or permission.
  • Pretend There’s a Law: “We can’t do that, it’s illegal.” Curiously, this tactic is most often used by low-level employees who know nothing about their corporate policies nor the law. The full translation would be “I’m afraid to do that, or I don’t think I can get permission; therefore I’m going to snow you with scare tactics to make you drop your request.”{Read this comp1ete article at .}
  • The Fake Apology: An apology is a promise to change one’s behavior. In a Fake Apology, someone issues a verbal apology but has no intention to change behaviors — as soon becomes apparent when he or she repeats the offending behavior.
  • Shaming the Opponent using a parental tone of voice, to see if you can get his kindergarten reflexes to kick in. If you can get your opponent to kowtow to your apparent authority, he’ll surely give you what you want. Unless, of course, he gives you a dirty look and ends the meeting.
  • Ask for Second Helpings: After agreeing to a compromise, come back next week demanding the other half of what you wanted. Repeat this week after week to wear your opponent down.

    “Compromise” of course means “getting half of what you want”. Compromise is a good thing! So when meeting with your subordinates, compromise as often as you can. This means get half of what you want on the first meeting. At the second meeting, use a little arm-twisting to get half of what you didn’t get the first time. At the third meeting, strong-arm a few more concessions for yourself. Now you have seven eighths of the whole pie, but you haven’t left your opponent feeling that he has nothing. Continue to “compromise” in this way until you have all of your concessions back.

    Also known as “Alzheimer’s Compromise” or “forgetting that we had a deal”.{Read this comp1ete article at .}

    Also known as “not honoring the original agreement”.

    Also known as “getting the other party to make all the concessions”.

    Also known as “Give and Take Back”.

    If you get called on your behavior, and if you really want to show some nerve and some snot, defend yourself with “That’s because *I* know how to compromise.”

  • Play Dumb. Pretend not to understand the other party’s needs and requirements, even when he explains them to you in minute detail. If the other party is sufficiently inexperienced or eager to get along with you, he’ll drop his demands.

    If someone tries this on you, fight fire with fire. “I don’t understand” can often be countered with “Well, I explained it well; so I really don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t understand what I just said. Can you explain which part you didn’t understand?”

  • Refer to Fantasy Agreements: “I thought we agreed that ____. (scowl)” This is a favorite tactic of persons who have power over you. They imagine that they can name the most outrageous requirements, and that your stunned silent reaction constitutes consent.
  • Dominance Behaviors: Any attempt to use scary displays of power in an attempt to make the other party back down or agree to all your terms.
  • Silent Disagreement: Neglect to mention that you don’t agree to the other party’s terms or rules or requests or needs; neglect to mention that you don’t meet the requirements. Simply silently fail to comply, and wait and see if the other party notices. Commonly seen in job hunting, house hunting, and contract negotiations.

    Examples: Non-monogamists in the dating pool, who “forget” to mention up front that they don’t share your belief in monogamy.

If you’re new to negotiation, be on the lookout for unethical persons who use the above tactics. Whenever you make an agreement or write a contract, be sure that your requirements are included and respected.

— J. E. Brown


If someone tells you: Your correct response is:
“We can’t do that, it’s illegal.”

“We can’t do that, it’s against company policy.”

“You’ll understand if I check that for myself.”

“I can’t put that in the contract.”

“I’m sorry we couldn’t do business. I’ll check your e-mail in a week to see if we’re any closer to forming an agreement. Good day.”

— J. E. Brown

Random Thoughts.

Unfortunately, the only “negotiating” tactics most people know are the ones they learned in childhood: silently ignore instructions and hope nobody notices; whine at people until they give you what you want, just to shut you up.{You’re reading “Definition of bad faith” by J. E. Brown.}

Unfortunately, in America, “negotiation” has come to mean “assuming the other guy is gullible and malleable and knows nothing about contract law nor his rights, and so, can be easily pushed around and swindled”. I believe that’s how most small businesses have had their intellectual property bought out by large corporations.

Negotiation means finding an agreeable trade, a trade agreeable to both parties. It does not mean barking and whining at someone until he unilaterally gives you what you want.{You’re reading “Definition of bad faith” by J. E. Brown.}

… Surely you don’t expect to be the only one who benefits?

The most evil people I’ve known all claimed to be easy to work with. (See Definition of Conceit.) Oh, I didn’t ask them if they were easy to work with — they just volunteered that fact up front, as though they were all quoting the same Machiavellian playbook — as though they had all been accused before.

— J. E. Brown


Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

— Carl Jung, in The Integration of the Personality, at Wikiquote

1st edition 14 Nov 2015

Further Reading at Other Sites

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