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7 Ways Learning To Compromise Improves All Your Relationships

7 Ways Learning To Compromise Improves All Your Relationships

Compromise is vital in any relationship, whether it’s with coworkers, friends, family members or your partner. It’s important to know when to stand your ground, but also to know which battles are worth fighting. Check out these seven tips on learning to compromise, and how it will help improve any of your relationships.

1. Don’t always try to be right.

The first problem with fights is that everyone involved wants to be right. We all want to win! It’s understandable that you feel that way, but it’s something you need to stop feeling. When you want to win, you’re not listening to the other side of the argument or conversation. Suspend your need to be right and listen to your partner, friend or coworker.

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2. Let things go.

Needing to be right is just the first thing you need to let go of. Don’t hold so tightly to all the past wrongs the person may have done for you. The saying is “Forgive and forget”, not “Forgive but hold a grudge”. Just because you got into a disagreement with your spouse a few weeks ago doesn’t mean it’s relevant to the one you’re having today.

3. Rethink your expectations.

Have you ever kept an argument going just because you were on a roll? But halfway through, found that you weren’t really passionate about what you were fighting for? It’s tough to admit, but it can happen a lot. One way to avoid this is to stay calm when a discussion arises so you’re not pulled into a fight. Keep your emotions in check and think about what you really want, both from your life and from the relationship. Is it important you stand your ground so firmly, or would everything still be ok if you gave in a little bit? This is important in all relationships, whether it’s with your kids, your siblings, your partner or your coworkers.

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4. Be willing to change.

After you rethink your expectations, be willing to act on the changes as you see fit. It’s one thing to say you’re willing to compromise, but another thing entirely to actually act on that change. A major part of compromising is actually following through with the resolution. This will show others that you’re willing to compromise completely, not just make false promises in order to end a fight.

5. Share your beliefs and emotions.

Compromising is about meeting halfway. Don’t forsake yourself and what you believe in in order to be seen as a great compromiser. Make sure that you express your beliefs and emotions about the situation. Everyone involved in the situation needs to be heard, and the easiest way to do this is to clearly and honestly state their parts. Use “me” and “I” statements so it’s clear that this is how you feel, and that you’re not trying to force your feelings or opinions on others. If your issue is at work, make sure you don’t over-share your emotions — stay professional, but make sure you’re heard loud and clear.

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    6. Show appreciation.

    No matter the resolution of the compromise, make sure you show your appreciation to others involved. Being willing to compromise, instead of fighting until the finish, is an admirable trait. Make sure you show how much you appreciate the other person working with you to find the best solution. Take time to evaluate the solution together and express what you like about it. Being appreciative of the positive social interaction and how working together to find the best solution made you feel.

    7. Keep an open mind.

    You made it through a compromise intact! How does it feel? Remember this for next time. It’s important to keep an open mind — not only for future compromises, but also in all future interactions. Keeping an open mind, being willing to change your expectations, and not trying to be right in the first place might help you avoid arguments in the future. But even if you can’t — at least you know how to compromise!

    Featured photo credit: mohd ashek mansor via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

    “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

    Are we speaking the same language?

    My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

    When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

    Am I being lazy?

    When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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    Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

    Early in the relationship:

    “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

    When the relationship is established:

    “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

    Have I actually got anything to say?

    When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

    When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

    Am I painting an accurate picture?

    One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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    How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

    Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

    What words am I using?

    It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

    Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

    Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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    Is the map really the territory?

    Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

    A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

    I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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