So, It was late in the evening on a breezy winter day and I was on a date. She was quite impeccably dressed, wearing a cocktail dress and stilettos. I, on the other hand, was confidently flaunting my ‘out of the bed’ look with torn denim, a tee, and messy hair. Once I saw her, I felt that maybe Starbucks isn’t the right place. There was a good bar nearby, we decided to go there instead.

We were conversing, and being a lawyer, she had quirky replies for almost everything. I don’t know whether it was the company or the view, but the time actually flew away. She had some time restrictions at her place which she had way extended, so finally had to leave. But I just didn’t want the date to end.

Anyway, coming to the MBA concept of ‘BATNA‘ (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). At IIM Ahmedabad, we had a course on the introductory concepts of law. There was a section on how to get the best outcome out of arbitration (negotiation). BATNA basically means if you go into a negotiation with any party, what is your alternative in case the deal doesn’t go through. This is one of the reasons why it isn’t advised to leave your previous job till you get the next offer letter as on the negotiation table with the next firm, your BATNA is strong.


In the case of casual encounters, you need to hedge your risks. Also, you need to build a high perception of your BATNA, and market value in the other person’s mind, your filtered happening life on social media can be a big help. Most importantly, hit the iron when it’s hot and close the deal as soon as possible but at the same time not show impatience.

In the case, you are looking for something more serious and long-term out of the date, you need to seem exquisite. It doesn’t matter whether you are single or seeing someone, your perceived BATNA should be quite high. Although, you need to be quite honest with your date about any facts. This is not a one-time kind of deal so honesty is important. There should be no impatience or any sort of hurry visible at all.  Also, there is no best deal that is running away so take your time or move out, don’t move into something, and then end up saying to your friends a couple of months down the line, “I don’t know where we are headed”. BATNA doesn’t mean another person who’ll date you in case this one doesn’t. More importantly, it is about self-love and self-esteem which indicates the strongest BATNA as highlighted in cooperative game theory.

That brings me back to the lawyer. So is this it? Have I finally been sentenced for a ‘happily ever after’? Well, she is in a relationship with a fellow lawyer, and they were having some quarrels. She came on a date with me to portray her BATNA to her guy. In fact, she even took the photo with me to show it and make him envious. I was feeling unusually happy, despite being just eye candy.



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