The Downfall of Compromise

How does one compromise? When is it right to compromise? When is it wrong to compromise? Why do people compromise? Why can’t some people compromise? What do you do when the person you love won’t compromise?

Compromise is defined as:

an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions
“an ability to listen to two sides in a dispute, and devise a compromise acceptable to both”
Google

How does one compromise?

What is it like to compromise in 2017? I feel like those around me (especially those amongst my generation) just do not understand what it means to compromise. Look at Congress for example. They cannot compromise! There is no empathy to understand what each side needs and how to come to a middle ground.

From my general understanding of life, compromise is a process of giving and taking from a situation to reach a mutual vision. Sometimes it means I give up something or do something extra to meet someone’s needs. Sometimes it means someone else gives something up or does something extra to meet my needs. I’ve dealt with this both professionally and personally. The most frustrating situations are those in which I am interacting with someone who is unwilling to compromise when we do not see eye-to-eye.

Compromise is about knowing what you want, and knowing what the other person or party wants. It’s about having empathy for both sides’ needs, and prioritizing a set of needs on each side of the table. It’s about sometimes giving something extra or making a sacrifice, and other times taking something or not making a sacrifice.

When is it right to compromise? And when is it wrong to compromise?

Compromise is essential in life. If you aren’t making compromises, then you either lead a ridiculously charmed life, or you are not getting anywhere because you are surrounded by people extremely frustrated by you.

When is it right to compromise?

From my experience, I see that it is right to compromise when you and another party have an end goal you are trying to reach. Sometimes it is the same goal with different perspectives on how to get there. Other times it is 2 different goals that have brought the 2 parties to a crossroad in which compromise is necessary for each party to reach its goals. When there is an instance in which there is a net positive goal that requires compromise, I believe it is worth doing.

When is it wrong to compromise?

I have learned the hard way that there are times in which it is wrong to compromise. One instance of this is when 1 of the parties is unwilling to compromise in a situation. It is unfair for only 1 side of the table to compromise. There might be extenuating circumstances in which someone has leverage or less to lose, and is not needing to compromise. Generally speaking though, in an ideal world, it seems wrong to make a compromise when it is one-sided.

Another example of when it is wrong to compromise is when it cuts away at integrity or character. Making a compromise that devalues you or someone else for the sake of greed or selfish gains is rarely acceptable. There are times in which a compromise must be made at the expense of you or someone else, but I see this as only being acceptable if it is for the greater good of a cause or situation. These can be tricky and extremely gray areas. In general, I stand by not making compromises that negatively affect integrity or values.

Why do people compromise?

People compromise because life isn’t easy and straightforward. There is rarely a time where you can get exactly what you want, the way you want to get it. No one with any amount of personal or professional success got there without any sort of obstacles. Compromise is generally needed to oversome obstacles.

People compromise to achieve goals. People compromise in order to live life. People compromise because life isn’t black and white, it’s different shades of gray.

Why can’t some people compromise?

I see myself as someone who can compromise and as someone with a strong sense of empathy, and when I look at people who struggle to compromise, I see a lesser sense of empathy.

Compromise involves understanding the other party’s needs and desires in order to orchestrate the best middle ground for a path forward. Someone who can’t compromise is generally wrapped up in his or her goals or needs, and not able to fully understand the other person’s goals or needs in order to meet in the middle.

What do you do when the person you love won’t compromise?

I honestly don’t know. It’s so wildy frustrating. It’s like hitting a brick wall and continuing to try to push through it to no avail.

Is it a lack of understanding? Or a lack of caring?

For my personal experiences, I find it is a lack of understanding, a lack of empathy.

There are definitely situations that I have seen transpire for others in which there is a lack of compromise because one person just does not care enough to make the compromise.


In the end, I see compromise as a vital tool to making it through life. It requires concessions, and it requires empathy. Reaching the middle ground isn’t always easy, but hell, life isn’t easy either.