How do you feel about this word ‘compromise’? Does it have a positive meaning for you, where you say to yourself “okay great, now we both (or all) will win. I love win-win situations”. Or does the word ‘compromise’ have a negative connotation to you, where you think “oh great, now I have to give up something I really want or something I worked hard for (or otherwise feel entitled to). That is not fair to me. Why can’t the laws of social Darwinism apply, and may the best negotiator win?”
The simple answer is this: When you win, you feel good. When you lose, you feel bad. Now if you have the chance to make another person either feel good or feel bad, what should you do? What is the moral thing to do? Their emotional wellness is in your hands. Be responsible.
You should not willingly cause someone pain, suffering and emotional damage if you can avoid it. That is why I am suggesting you try to preserve people’s dignity and feelings even when negotiating hard.
Notice that I did not say to roll over. It is still quite acceptable to negotiate hard, to use persuasion and influence tactics like NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), and to protect your interests. What I am specifically saying is to not use unfounded aggression, aggravation or bullying to get your way, whatever the cost.
What is the cost? It could be friendship, business contacts, neighbours, or more.
What can we do instead? Negotiate but do not insult. This is the difference between being assertive and aggressive. Assertive people stand up but stay calm. Aggressive people do not remain calm. They let their emotions overtake them, and the results are often painful. Go after what you want but with respect. Speak with respect and your opponent will have no choice but to respect you. Have a discussion, not an argument.
May the best person win – or may you both or all win!