When two people’s needs are in direct conflict, and negotiation that will completely satisfy both individuals is difficult to achieve. Instead, you can look for a compromise that you both can live with, at least for a period of time. Here are some examples of compromise:
- Some of what I need with some of what you need
- If you do X for me, I’ll do Y for you.
- My way when I do it, your way when you do it.
- My way this time, your way next time.
- We’ll try my way this time; and if you don’t like it, you get to choose next time.
Although compromise can spontaneously result from your discussion, you will sometimes need a brainstorming session to come up with one. Brainstorming a relationship compromise involves four steps:
- List all the alternative solutions you can think of. Let your creative juices flow while generating as many solutions to the problem is possible. Don’t judge any of the options at this stage of brainstorming. Just list as many possible solutions as you can, even if some are silly.
- Eliminate the solutions that are not mutually acceptable.
- Identify a relationship compromise that you can both live with.
- Agree to evaluate the relationship compromise after a period of time. If you aren’t both adequately satisfied at this time, you can renegotiate. If your compromise seems to have sufficiently resolved the conflict, celebrate your effectiveness in working together.
An alternative method to reaching a relationship compromise involves having others counter your proposal. If you find the counter proposal to be unacceptable, make sure that you understand the other’s thoughts, feelings, and needs regarding the problem situation, and think of yet another proposal. Continue until a mutually acceptable proposal is found. A helpful question to ask if you’re both having difficulty arriving at a relationship compromise is, “What do you need from me to feel okay about doing this my way?” The answer to this question may serve as the basis for a workable compromise.