How to Reach Win-Win Compromises


Source: Johnhain/Pixabay

Ana and Josh are both thinking about going on vacation. Ana says to herself: “I would like to go to the beach – just relax, sun, sand. Oh wait, Josh hates the beach. He finds it boring. Ok, we can go to the mountains – Josh likes the mountains. Meanwhile, Josh thinks, “I’d love to go to NYC – see some shows, good restaurants. Wait, Ana hates big cities – too crowded, expensive and noisy. Okay, skip the city… we can go to the mountains.”

They meet to talk about the vacation: “What do you want to go on vacation?”

“I was thinking of going to the mountains!”

“I also!”

So let’s go. Along the way, they’ll check in with each other—”Did you have a good time?”—because they’re essentially doing this for the other person. “Yes.”

“And what about you, are you having a good time?”

“Yes I’m fine.”

While they’re both saying they’re good, they probably genuinely feel it’s “okay.” This type of decision-making, which I call “preparatory compromises”—automatically diluting what you really want to accommodate what you think the other person wants—is easy to accomplish, especially if you, and often both of you, are attuned to it are to avoid conflict. While the end results might end up being okay, the greater danger is that if you do this over and over again for a long period of time, it can eventually backfire. You never get what you really want; Your life is starting to feel watered down; Resentment and weariness can build up.

Read  How to make working from home a success| THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect

If you feel that okay isn’t good enough anymore, or find yourself slipping into adjustment mode all too quickly, maybe it’s time to break the pattern. That’s how it’s done:

1. Find out what you want

Some people are so sensitive to others that they automatically think, “What do I need to do to make the other person happy and avoid confrontation?” that they never developed that strong feeling of desire at the gut level. These are old childhood coping skills that worked when you were a kid but not now. It’s time to update the software, get out of your anxious toddler brain and into your rational adult brain.

Instead, resist the autopilot and ask yourself, “What do I want?” Bypass thoughts of what you should be doing, what makes the other person happy, and what avoids conflict. Resist the temptation to water down your desire because you think it’s too expensive, impractical, that you don’t deserve it, that they’ll get upset. Instead, check your tummy; let your fantasies unfold; think ideal.

2. Take the risk: put whatever you want on the table

The challenge to stand up and speak up is less about the issue—the vacation, the restaurant to go to, the color the wall is painted—and more about you: you resist it old fears, stop to walk on eggshells and learn to be brave. If you’re too afraid to say it, write it and send it to your partner.

Read  Saudi Grand Prix: How to Watch and What to Know

3. Encourage your partner to do the same

Now you want to invite your partner to do the same – be honest. Ask, “What would you ideally like?” Hear what they say. If they feel embarrassed, say, “No pressure, think about it and let me know.”

4. Negotiate now

You two are now on an even playing field. The goal now is to move towards win-win compromises. Here Ana says I want to go to the beach and Josh says he’s willing but also wants to fit in a trip to town. Or they get creative: Ana goes to the beach with her best friend, Josh goes to town with his brother, and then as a couple they take this trip to the mountains together. Or, to save money, skip the vacation this year but save for the big fantasy trip they both want.

5. Practice, practice

The longer-term challenge and goal here is approaching rather than avoiding things that make you anxious. Anything you do to get out of your comfort zone—it feels a bit risky, but you do it anyway, no matter how small the step—is one step closer to being less afraid of the world. A step to feeling stronger and more confident in living the life you truly want and deserve.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button