Knowing how to make use of effective compromise generally makes your life and your relationships run more smoothly, even if the concept can sometimes seem very challenging to implement. Here are a few advantages of compromising, as well as some techniques to help you find the “middle ground.”

Good Reasons to Compromise

1. Help advance the greater good. Making reasonable concessions helps you pave the way to finding solutions to difficult conflicts. For example, if you are divorced or separated, and you are the parent who has physical custody of the child, consider being more generous about accommodating your ex’s schedule so that your kids still have the opportunity of growing up with two loving parents; even if they no longer love each other.

2. You can facilitate cooperation. Teamwork flourishes in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. By demonstrating your own commitment to the common good, you make it easier for everyone to work together at your office and at home.

3. Strengthening your relationships. Cultivating our relationships is usually far more valuable than coming out ahead on any particular decision. For instance, build good will by welcoming your mother-in-law’s help in the kitchen even if you think (or know) that it would be faster to do a task by yourself.

4. Feel happier. Our happiness frequently depends much more on the way we view events than on the actual events themselves. As you practice accommodating others, you’ll find that becoming more flexible and generous actually feels good.

Techniques for Making Constructive Compromises

1. Uphold your core values and needs. Always be true to who you are. Be honest with yourself and be certain about when you are compromising and when you are just copping out. Preserve your own integrity and be sure to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Be firm and respectful about communicating your rights and desires.

2. Prioritize issues. Save your energy for the stuff that really matters. Another family example: As long as your son is getting good grades and staying out of trouble, maybe you can live with him coming home from college with an eyebrow piercing, for now.

3. Get the facts. Try bolstering and supporting your position by doing the necessary research to back it up. If your boss tends to resist change, and who has a boss that doesn’t, perhaps he will be more receptive to approving a new employee benefit if you can document how it will save money and improve employee retention.

4. Empathize with the other person’s position. When you’re asking someone to meet you halfway, it is vital that you try to put yourself in their shoes or their side of the situation. You need to understand clearly what you are asking them to give up. Listen closely to their concerns and goals so that you can address them specifically.

5. Consider all your options. We all attach different values to the same things. If you and your partner have different standards for house cleaning, maybe the solution is to hire a cleaning service if you can afford it.

6. Express appreciation. Thank people for being willing to make trade-offs. Acknowledge the concessions they make and their contribution to creating more positive and harmonious outcomes. For example, if your employees work through the weekend to meet a production deadline, be absolutely sure that it gets noted in their annual review to encourage them.

7. Stick to your word. Think carefully before making a serious compromise so that you will feel confident that you can live with it down the road. Proceeding slowly is usually much better than making hasty or rash promises that you may later regret.

8. Take accountability for your decision. Once you spell out the terms that you can and will abide by, assume full responsibility for the choices you’ve made. This will help you avoid becoming resentful later.

9. Wield power wisely. Even if you have the upper hand in an interaction, it’s usually best to seek an agreement that’s acceptable to everyone involved. Future situations are likely to run much more smoothly. And, both parties will have peace of mind that they have not been taken advantage of unfairly.

Learning the art of “give and take” helps everyone succeed in the end. Stay true to yourself while being open to making accommodations that create better solutions in both your private and public lives.


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