Trading is a lot like dating. Being a jerk may pay off in the short run, but being a gentleman will get you farther in the end. Part of the reason many fantasy owners are averse to making trades is the fear of being taken advantage of. And it’s true; many of the most active wheelers and dealers aggressively foist offers on other owners, sometimes with no regard for how the deal would affect the trading partner’s team.

“Wait, why would I trade Victor Cruz for Philip Rivers when I have Tom Brady and RGIII?” 

“Does he actually think I’m going to trade my last healthy RB for Brandon Pettigrew?”

A trade is not a raid on another fantasy owner’s roster. It’s not a violent act of taking what you want. The other owner shouldn’t want to call a crisis center after the deal is processed. Even if your victims gave consent and clicked “accept,” they will realize later that you had your way with them.

“Man, if that guy is ever desperate for a quarterback, I’ll loot his whole roster before I give him one.”

On the other hand, a consensual trade opens the door for future consummations. The partner you treated well in the past might soon be eyeing your roster again, reminisce fondly about the deal you once shared, and pick up the phone again. You want people to think another mutually gratifying exchange is in the offing.  Isn’t it nice to get that call, text or email that shows you were first to come to mind when someone’s in the mood?

If you ignore your girlfriend’s needs, she won’t be your girlfriend for long. And if you’re oblivious to what your trading partner is telling you, your offers will be coldly rebuffed. The same goes for counter offers…

Captain Munnerlyn’s Navy Offers Short and Kerley’s:

Alfred Morris

Reggie Wayne 

In Exchange For:

Peyton Hillis

Wes Welker 

The trade is rejected. Then the counter-offer comes in… 

Short and Kerley’s Offers:

Andy Dalton

Roy Helu

Greg Little 

In Exchange For:

Drew Brees

Adrian Peterson

Hakeem Nicks

What the hell? That’s not a counter, it’s another deal entirely, and an insulting one to boot. Don’t take the players your partner is targeting off the table—just name the price you can live with. And frame it that way.

“While I could really use a reliable backup quarterback, to give up Martin, I’ll need Ridley as well.”

When a man approaches a woman in a bar, it’s understood that he has to impress her with his proposition. He wants her attention and has to prove why she should give it to him. Similarly, a trade offer’s recipient has the advantage. Your offer should immediately make sense, fulfill a need, address a weakness and not create a new one. The girl in the bar has had enough jerks in her life. She’s looking for someone who will make her happy. Maybe the fantasy owner needs to fill a hole at running back. Same principle.

But just as the girl in the bar shouldn’t be too stuck up about it, neither should the fantasy owner. If you receive a fair and respectful offer, don’t immediately ask for twice as much in the name of negotiating.

“You really want Julio, huh? Well, you can have him… For Megatron and McCoy.”

When Guy offers to buy Girl a drink, she shouldn’t order the most expensive drink on the menu. Knowing the owner making the offer really wants a player is an opportunity to extract full value for the player, not an invitation for roster pillaging. If you want a second date or future trades, it builds goodwill to graciously accept a clearly worthy offer. If you feel you can sweeten the deal further, ask for a backup as a throw-in. But don’t order the lobster.

Of course, the one-night-stand or “hate trade” is an option if you never want to deal with someone again. But whether it’s dating or fantasy football, long-term relationships are the most rewarding.