Effective communication skills
Below is a short discussion on the communication strategy of negotiating a compromise. Most couples struggle with this and the below may help. However, whatever kind of relationship you may be in, this skill will be useful.
Negotiating a compromise
Couples do not always agree on everything. You are two individuals and even though you have come together as a couple, you will have different ideas on some things. There will always be things that have to be done, such as going to see your in-laws or parenting your child. It is much better, both for yourselves and for the relationship, to agree on a compromise than feel that you have lost completely and your partner always gets his/her way as this leads to anger and resentment which will come out in the relationship sooner or later.
Follow these steps to negotiate a compromise.
- Use the effective listening steps above
- Realise that your partner does not have to do, say or feel what you want to do, what you say or how you feel
- Be aware of your position on the topic, i.e. what you currently want and what you would like or not from this negotiation
- Tell your partner what your position is in the situation that is under discussion (use non-blaming communication)
- Invite your partner to tell you what they would like in the situation that you are discussing
- Do not criticise them or shoot them down – you have invited their opinion and it is important to have both of your opinions on the table in order to negotiate
- Continue discussions – if necessary ask for clarity if you are not sure of what is meant, etc.
- Begin discussion on how you can meet in the middle (this means that both of you will have a little bit of your desire or want satisfied and both of you will have a little bit of your desire or want unsatisfied – this is a compromise)
- Continue negotiating until you both are satisfied – this means that you continually talk and then invite your partner to tell you how they feel about that and you reassess the position as you go along
- Continue until you make an agreement – an agreement means that you both agree on the outcome
- Make sure that you outline this agreement so that you are both clear on what the agreement is and what it is not
- Thank your partner for the opportunity and for their willingness to negotiate
- You have both won!