Near the middle

This is the tenth day of the Love Blog Challenge
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita
Prompt for 2/14: Compromise

footballI have more of a tendency to pick my battles, giving in entirely when I really don’t care, but standing my ground pretty aggressively when it matters to me. When compromise is unavoidable, though, I am likely to start on the 50 yard line. It’s like this:

Let’s say I’m on a committee that supports refugees in a variety of ways. We are planning a big celebration because we have just successfully helped our 50th person land a really good job. He will be able to afford housing on his own and pay for public transportation while he saves up for a car and insurance. Awesome.

We’ve done a really good job of stewarding our money and this is a whopper of a celebration, so we want to do something extra special. We are expecting about 85 refugees, including men, women and children. Again, so awesome.

My perfect event would include a home-cooked hot and healthy meal, plated and served by volunteers. We would set round tables with nice flatware, table cloths and fresh flowers, candles, and a little take home gift, like a gift card or jam or box of chocolates for each person. We would also ask local businesses to donate gift baskets for a drawing.

But there are others on the committee who are much more, let’s say, thrifty than me. I’m relatively sure that one particularly tight-fisted member will suggest sub sandwiches, chips, and a cookie in a bag for each person. As they come in, they can choose a bottle of water or a soft drink. We can set up long tables and use that white bulletin board paper that comes on a roll. She’ll continue to suggest that we ask around to see who could play piano for a sing-along and, as everyone is leaving, we give them a little sandwich baggie of Hershey’s kisses, which we can buy in bulk at Costco.

Ugh.

So, aha! I’ll show her. Instead of starting in my own end zone, with the plated dinner, beautiful table, wait-staff, entertainment and parting gifts, I move cleverly up to the 50 yard line and begin the conversation: How about a buffet of cold cuts, a variety of bakery bread and cheeses, fresh fruit, potato salad (from Costco) and homemade pies and cakes for dessert? The long tables could be covered with colorful plastic cloths and we can place a row of candles and ribbon down the middle. Our church worship team could play some crossover tunes and we could give each person a gift bag with maybe a travel mug, Dove Dots or Ghirardelli hot chocolate mixes, and a $5 Dunkin’ gift card or a coloring book with crayons for the children.

Yeah, look at me all willing to make compromises.

The trouble is, from where Ms. Tight-Fist is standing, in her own end zone, she sees that I’m far away, under the impression that I’m way at the opposite end of the field. She has absolutely no idea that I’ve already come almost half way toward what I think she would want.

The trouble is I never said what I really want. And I never asked what she really wants. I simply designed what I believed a compromise could be if I correctly anticipated her suggestions. And I then offered it in the spirit of good faith and happiness.

But again, she thinks that’s my ideal – and that, because compromise is the name of the game, I should be willing to meet in the middle. Which, because I’m already at the 50 yard line, will mean I have to “give up” another half of what I’ve already trimmed down and meet at her 25 yard line.

Good golly, Miss Molly! I’m frustrated and annoyed. I can’t believe that my perfect – and generous – plan is meeting resistance.

But, my lovelies, in truth, mine is not a compromise at all. Not really. And it’s absolutely no one’s fault but mine.

You see, when it comes to true compromise, I’ve learned it’s only fair that I speak my mind and tell the truth about what is important to me. And then listen. Whether planning a party or making important decisions about the future, the only way compromises work is if everyone starts in their own end zone and we all end up somewhere near the 50 yard line.

 

7 comments

  1. What a wonderful metaphor! I agree entirely. You have to 1) share your absolute want, honestly and 2) not assume you know someone else’s absolute want. Only then can you even begin to compromise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “You see, when it comes to true compromise, I’ve learned it’s only fair that I speak my mind and tell the truth about what is important to me. And then listen.” Exactly! We won’t get anywhere if we don’t clearly communicate what we really want. I love your end zone/50 yard line analogy. Perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AMEN!
    “The trouble is I never said what I really want. And I never asked what she really wants. I simply designed what I believed a compromise could be if I correctly anticipated her suggestions. And I then offered it in the spirit of good faith and happiness.”
    100% accurate for me too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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