Wouldn’t it be nice if all the people we care deeply about agreed with us all of the time. Life would be so much simpler if everyone we had a relationship with always saw things the same way that we do. Imagine! No disagreements, no negotiations and perfect peace and harmony. In truth, this utopia would probably be rather boring but the reality is that in any relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, family member or work colleague, there will be times when you don’t agree.

Happily ever after

Compromise has often been tagged as a bad word. To compromise on your ideals can be perceived as settling, being weak or giving in. No one likes to lose and somehow compromising feels like you’ve been given second place, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When you learn to compromise well it can be your best tool to finding the best solution to those sticky relational problems that come up from time to time. Here are a few tips about compromising that may help you:

Take off the gloves

Going into a disagreement with your boxing gloves on means you’ve already started the fight even before the first bell rings. If you’re on the attack before you begin you probably aren’t thinking about finding a solution, you’re looking for a victory and those two things aren’t always the same. Go into a discussion looking for a conclusion that will accommodate everyone’s needs and desires, make that your goal and you’re already one step closer. To compromise effectively you need to be able to listen and understand all the different viewpoints. If you’re only looking to get your own way, you’re not really considering anyone else but yourself and it’s unlikely that you will achieve anything productive.

Know your limits

Before you even begin to discuss the differences you may have you need to know what you’re willing to let go of and what you consider important. Have an idea about your non-negotiable points and know where you’re happy to be flexible. Thinking on the go works sometimes but having a clear idea of your own boundaries and why they are important to you will help you communicate more clearly and have a better picture of what a win/win scenario could look like.

Work together

If the relationship is important to you both don’t look at your differing opinions as a chance to score points against each other, instead work together as a team to beat the problem, not each other. Look for solutions that make you both happy, makes sure you both feel heard and considered during the process and find a way to put your relationship first, rather than your individual desire to have your own way.

Finding a successful way through disagreements isn’t necessarily easy.  You won’t always find a solution immediately.  Strong, healthy relationships take time and commitment and working out compromises that allow everyone to feel valued and considered may take a while but it’s worth the effort.


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