Have you ever been in a situation where you were working on a group project, but you and your group members couldn’t agree on anything? Or maybe you wanted to go to a Mexican restaurant for dinner with some friends, but they wanted Italian? How did you move on? Where did you go from there? Whether you’re in school, at work, or hanging out with your closest friends, we’ve all had moments where it was better to compromise than “stand your ground” and risk ruining a relationship. Similar to those situations, life is filled with moments where compromise is the best option. You see, life is a give and take, and if you don’t plan on being #foreveralone, you’ll need to learn when to put down the metaphorical sword, put your ego aside, and negotiate. Sometimes compromise doesn’t mean that someone is right and someone is wrong, but it simply means finding a middle ground.
First things first: breathe and clear your mind. You certainly can’t make a decision if you’re still only considering your position, right? Take a deep breath and approach the decision-making process with a fresh perspective.
Next: be a good listener. Being a compromiser is similar to being an effective communicator in that listening is of utmost importance. How else are you supposed to find common ground if you don’t listen beforehand? If you find yourself in a situation where all parties aren’t in agreement, hear each other out first.
And finally: consider, consider, consider. Weigh your options and consider the outcome of using bits and pieces of everyone’s suggestions. What makes the most sense and would be the most beneficial for most, if not all, involved? For instance, if you really want Mexican food, but your friends want Italian, perhaps you can have a Mexican entree with an Italian dessert. Better yet, look for a fusion restaurant that will satisfy both appetites!
What happens when compromising goes wrong?
While the aforementioned situations are simple and painless, there might be moments in your life where you’ll face more complex and challenging scenarios that leave you with the possibility of compromising yourself and your fundamental principles. Don’t. Don’t sacrifice who you are or your beliefs for anyone else because, at the end of the day, you’ll have to look at yourself in the mirror…will you like what you see?
When I was in high school, I recall dating a young man who held different beliefs from me, and this was often a point of contention. Young and in love, I found myself compromising my beliefs in order to make him happy, but I soon realized that I was unhappy. I was lying to myself. I was sacrificing bits and pieces of myself for another person. Slowly and surely the woman I saw reflected in the mirror no longer looked or sounded like the person I used to know. That was a problem, a problem I was lucky to recognize, but unfortunately, one that others may struggle with for a longer period of time. When you feel like you’re compromising yourself or your integrity for others, it’s time to replace those people with folks who will love and respect you for you.