Even though I understand the importance of making concessions in healthy relationships, I am someone who has a difficult time with compromise.
For example, last Friday my girlfriend Irina and I had made a commitment to have dinner with a few business associates of hers. The plans had been forged two days before after a few glasses of wine with these people. When she reminded me of our commitment the next day, I had totally forgotten about it and replied “No way, I can’t go”.
The truth was, I had already committed to a few other activities that weekend which were causing me stress—I had a lot of work to do and just did not see the time available. In my mind, Friday was the night to get a lot done and some flimsy commitment made with people I barely knew was not going to stop me!
But she was upset, and my response caused an argument. I could see this dinner was important to
her, and so I made a deal with her (and more importantly with myself) to compromise my position and go through with it.
Although this was hard for me to do, and would usually argue my way out if it, I decided to use this situation as a way to learn how to compromise more effectively! I am glad I did, and would like to share a few excellent tips to keep in mind when put in these situations:
Do NOT Go Back on Your Word
As much as it pained me to sacrifice my free night, I figured it was more important to stick by the words that came out of my mouth and the commitment I had made. Start looking at your language in this manner, and try your hardest to follow through with action whatever commitments you make with your words. How you deal with the smaller events (like a Friday night dinner) often reflects how you will handle the larger ones and for this reason it is important to make a habit of NOT going back on your word!
Once You Make a Compromise, Do It Happily
After you agree to a concession, immediately let go of any negative feelings you might have associated with it. If I would have complained during dinner how I never have enough time to get work done, or just sat there in a dull and annoyed mood, I would have made everyone else miserable (especially Irina). This would not have been a very successful compromise. Once you agree to a concession, it is important to enjoy the experience the best you can. In my situation, how bad was it going out with some nice people and eating great food? Not bad at all.
Expect Nothing in Return
I could have easily parlayed my concession on Friday as having “one coming to me” from my Irina, but I made a deal with myself to not look at it this way. This was perhaps the hardest part for me to ingratiate, and I began to realize how entrained I was to expect something in return for making compromises like these! When you are in a similar situation, make a firm and conscious decision to give your compromise unconditionally. If not, you will be in a constant give and take situation with the people in your life. The truth is, you will receive much more when you give in an unreserved fashion.
Figure Out Which Areas You Are Least Likely To Compromise…
And start making compromises! This is a wonderful activity for personal growth and an excellent way to experience the power of unconditional giving. Perhaps you never compromise your time when it comes to your job, or maybe you never compromise your sleep on the weekends. Purposefully appease someone in your life by making a concession, and experience the benefits this mindset can provide! If you want, physically write out a list of areas in your life that you know you never compromise, and next to each item write a few ways you can begin making concessions.
Learning how to integrate compromise in your life can do wonderful things for your relationships with co-workers, friends and loved ones. Try some of these suggestions out, and let me know what you think!
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