In today’s reading, we catch a glimpse of a fairly common situation when it comes to relationships – one person is focused more on their own wants and needs, unfortunately going against what is best for the relationship as a whole. This person isn’t being completely honest about their feelings, instead choosing to be manipulative to ensure they get their way.
The thing is, we have all been there – on both sides of the situation. We aren’t always fair and mature. It’s human nature for us to want things to go our way – the way we planned and what is easiest for us. Sometimes we think of others while making plans and sometimes we don’t. We all have a right to put ourselves first, to focus on our own needs. The trick is, being that way all of the time doesn’t allow for healthy, stable relationships. At some point, we are going to have to compromise. The question is when and how.
In Why is It So Hard to Compromise, Gattuso (2018) explains that this whole compromise thing isn’t always easy because if we feel strongly about something we won’t be so willing to compromise. Instead, we might be more stubborn and unwilling to bend on something that we see as going against our beliefs. Empathy is what allows us to consider the other person in the situation, allowing us to give a little, at least for their sake. But this doesn’t mean we don’t have boundaries or that we don’t stick to them. It is important to identify things that are non-negotiable and it is even more important to be honest and upfront about those things. That is when we don’t compromise.
White (2011) states in How Much Should You Compromise for Your Relationship, that compromising on the big things that matter most to you can lead to feelings of resentment. If you spend all of your time focused on meeting the needs of another person, without your own needs being met, then you start to resent that other person. The focus should be on making sure everyone’s needs are being met. There is a difference between being selfish and not going against your core beliefs.
So when do we compromise? When our fundamental needs, wants, and desires aren’t impacted by the compromise. Caring about someone so much that you are willing to give up everything for them does not mean that you should. We compromise on the little things. We compromise on the day-to-day things that keep our relationship going. And most importantly of all, we are kind. Manipulation should never be a part of a relationship.