Compromise is one thing I hate to engage in (like pineapple on pizza). Chances are, so do you.
Compromise is hard
Why is it so hard? Simply put, because it means you aren’t getting everything you want. Well hey, self-awareness is the first step, right? Our ancestors survived by being selfish.
Today, however, survival isn’t really what our struggle is about. The struggle revolves around the pursuit of a greater quality of life which requires the very opposite; compromise. We are pre-programmed to implement egotistical actions to achieve survival only to now live in a society that denotes the very notion.
We are still trying to reprogram our fundamentals which is partly why it is such a difficult skill to learn. It is at odds with our ancestral viewpoints, it is our comfort zone. Many social advances were made in spite of our biology.
You know what group of people rarely compromise? Babies. Yes, that was a dig at you.
It is when your mum takes your toy only to pass it to another kid while lecturing you about the importance of sharing i.e. compromise. You didn’t like it then and you don’t like it now. While we are now better at hiding our annoyance about it, because we are trying very hard not to have a temper tantrum, we still do not enjoy the prospect of letting go of some of our desires, but at the very least, we start to understand the necessity of it.
So here are a few things to keep in mind when you are on the verge of compromise:
1) 50/50. A compromise is the act of meeting someone halfway. If the other party is perfectly capable of doing the same but is choosing not to, it is not a compromise. It’s a sacrifice. Don’t do it.
2) Don’t do it for the wrong reasons. Do not compromise simply to avoid conflict; this will lead to long-term tension and grudge-holding. Avoidance should not fuel your decisions. Take the long route and resolve it.
3) Compromise when it’s right, whether you enjoy it or not (because chances are, you won’t). This means you aren’t compromising on your values.
4) Understand and remind yourself of the necessity for it; compromising essentially puts your needs on the same level as the other. It is the acceptance that you are on the same playing field.
5) Listen. An effective compromise can only come from meeting the other’s demands equally. The first step of processing what those are and how to do so fairly takes proper communication, 80% of which is listening.
6) Make it clear. Do not compromise in hopes that the other party will do the same. Verbalise your expectations and clarify your actions. There are no mind readers.
We do it
We don’t like it but we do it. It has now become a fundamental concept to ensure healthy and fair relationships. The good thing about compromise, however, is it allows you to self-analyse.