As much as in a prefect world we would be doing what we want to 100% of the time in life it’s not really possible. Especially in a well functioning relationship one needs to say “yes” to things that don’t seem too exciting and “no” to others that seem amazing because of prior arrangements. Even as a single person one needs to compromise to accommodate friends and dates. So how to know when too much is too much?
I actually do know someone who refuses to compromise almost entirely. I have this friend who for years has been upgrading her selfishness levels. She did have a serious relationship in her university years but since then she kept fighting for her absolute independence. She doesn’t like to commit, full stop. Not even to meetings with friends and is famous for last minute cancelations even with bigger things like holidays. If you dare to be upset she replies that “she didn’t promise you anything” and that “you should stop trying to limit her”. The me, Me, ME attitude is certainly alienating. One cannot have a healthy, deep relationship, including a friendship if he or she never compromises. However, if ultimate freedom is one’s highest goal then a busy life devoid of things we need the most during the time of trial is the result. After all, the people we have never compromised for are unlikely to be there for us when things go downhill and the absolute freedom won’t help us when we just feel sad and lonely.
This is precisely the reason why we have to learn to sometimes put others before ourselves. On the other hand, one has to be careful not to overdo it because then we can find ourselves living a life we never wanted in the first place. That someone asks you, doesn’t mean your default answer should be “yes”. One’s lifetime is limited and precious. I guess it’s up to each and every one of us to establish what works best. I don’t think you should say “yes” every third time to a thing that doesn’t particularly excite you. Maybe a better technique is to always agree to things that you feel lukewarm about and save your vetos for the times you REALLY don’t want to do something. That applies to plans with partners, dates and friends but the rule also works for bigger decisions. The every-third-time-yes rule doesn’t work well, for instance, if let’s say, your partner suggests you get a kid as his third question 😉 A strongly felt “no” should always be a “no”. If there are too many disagreements with a partner (or even a close friend to be honest) about big things than it may be a compatibility issue as you ignored these red flags and weren’t firm enough about your non-negotiables. After all, you guys are just into different things, what’s the point of compromising on everything when you could rather find someone with more compatible interests, views and ideas about spending free time. A break up or a degradation to a coffee friend, depending on the situation, may be a good idea.
This leads me to my last point which is never (NEVER!) let anyone make you feel like your passions, interests or goals are stupid. These are the things that should matter to you and people around you are there to nurture them. Sure, they should tell you when your shit stinks but you know who’s worth listening to as an advisor and who you should steer clear of. If your partner or friend ridicules the things that you find important, do not compromise on them. Be it a passion for computer games or your secret collection of My Little Pony, you have the right to your weirdness and this is precisely what makes us all unique. While finding people with the same weirdnesses may be challenging, it is possible and necessary to find those who give you space to cultivate your quirks. Do not compromise on being yourself for anyone, even if they’re the prettiest girlfriend you’ve ever had and you think you can’t do any better… Everyone deserves to be loved and liked for who they are and if they’re not it’s not really love or true friendship.
What do you think, Dear Rinser? Can we live without ever compromising? Do we sometimes compromise too much? What’s the “middle way” of compromise for you?