Paarth Madan

A medium to iterate on my own thoughts.

Compromise

Posted at — Feb 18, 2021

Compromise is such an interesting concept; one with various intricacies that are worth exploring.

Suppose you’re in a relationship with someone. You don’t like something. It could be anything: how the person closes the door, the way they say this, the way they do that. Ultimately, there’s something that doesn’t agree with you.

So, you’ve determined there’s that thing.

Now, in the realm of compromise, it seems there are two objective, actionable routes to use:

  1. Compromise – ignore it, absorb it, move on, forget about it
  2. Conversation – start a discussion, bring it up, nag, complain

I don’t think there’s a winner. I think these are the objective approaches. In fact, as pictured above, there are many ways you can implement each approach, some perhaps better than others.

You can compromise by absorbing it, which is likely the healthiest option. You can also compromise by trying to ignore it, which likely won’t work.

Similarly, you can converse by starting a healthy discussion. You can also converse by nagging, which likely won’t work.

The key insight: I believe both of these strategies fail in the long-game.


Paarth, why doesn’t compromising work long term?

When someone takes the “compromise” route, they will develop resentment in the long term. Each time they move on, or ignore it, or forget about it, their will is challenged. Each instance is a separate challenge that leads to a pool of resentment being built up.

What’s worse is that the nature of compromising is that they aren’t voicing their efforts.

If they were, it wouldn’t be a compromise after all.

So, in a long-enough period of time, they’ve tried to internalize so much, compounded on the fact that none of their effort is visible. They are perceived to be passive.

This doesn’t sound like a very enticing route. The human will appears to be finite. In the long game, this resentment will spew out, until all of the attempts to ignore it burst into flames. Soon, matters from decades ago will haunt a conversation of the now.

OK. But, Paarth, why doesn’t conversation work long term?

When someone takes the “converse” route, I think it can be effective. Where this route doesn’t work is in the undue strain it can place on the relationship. If this person constantly voices concern, soon the entire relationship becomes a mirror of fault. At every opportunity, someone comes forth with ways to change, things to do, and things that bother them – perhaps to a fault.

We’re human, so saturation is real. On a long enough time scale, requests lose their value. Constant criticism becomes nagging, and soon there isn’t anything productive that’s said.

A new song sounds amazing for the first 100 listens. The 10000th listen perhaps loses it value. The idea is, in large, the same – saturation.

This person is also often mischaracterized. When really they’re taking ownership of the problems and creating strategies to solve them, they’re painted as the bad guy / bad gal.

So what you’re telling me, Paarth, is that both strategies are bad?

Yes.

The inherent nature of the approaches sets them up for failure.

It’s important to note that these strategies fail when they’re repeated constantly – many times in a long-enough period.

I believe they are both amazing strategies, when used appropriately – more on that, below.


Is there an optimal strategy then, Dr. Paarth “Relationship Expert” Madan?

Well yes, but really no.

Work on choosing what can bother you, instead of choosing what to do when you’re bothered.

This becomes a solo-player game, as its on the person to detach, evolve, and grow.

If something is bothering you, then you’ve given control to that particular thing. If something can’t bother you, then you hold power over it.

It’s my hypothesis that a relationship is bound to succeed when both parties involved prioritize working on letting less and less effect them. In this way, the relationship improves when the individuals improve. There’s no one to blame but yourself, and this is very empowering.

Of course, the more this happens, the stronger the relationship is against the adversity it presents.

Relationships cannot be strategized or gamed.

Let me repeat my stance for emphasis.

Relationships cannot be strategized or gamed.

Still, they can be viewed in certain ways. I think this is a critical shift in mindset. Own the individual aspect of the relationship, and then both parties will reap the rewards.

The skills to work on, then, are self-awareness, minimization of ego, and presence of mind. In mastering these traits, you can put forth the best version of yourself in a relationship, ideally one that doesn’t need to make to compromises.

Now, let’s not get too abstract.

Compromise is a necessary reality in relationships.

I think they are beautiful and work extremely effectively when it’s infrequent. Someone who is bothered rarely can choose to handle that in any way, and it will be healthy. They can compromise, or converse, and it can be sustainable.

Then, making a compromise is a gesture of love, instead of an act to tolerate.

When it’s clear both parties work to reduce what bothers them, when something does come up, it’s treated with much more significance.


Hmmmm, I’m not sure I agree with everything you’ve said, Paarth.

That’s okay, I don’t either.

This piece is a way to explore my thoughts on the idea. I re-read it, and already disagree with some of what I’ve said.

I hope the satirical tone makes it clear that I know I don’t have the answers.

This insight is, solely, based on personal experience. When I sit as an objective observer in my parents' relationship, I learn a lot. I’ve also learned a thing or two from my own experiences.

To conclude, this insight is likely spoilt with my own bias, and I realize this. I’m looking forward to exploring this in my life further, forming stronger opinions, and being wrong about it all.

comments powered by Disqus