“People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable. Actually, all human problems, excepting morals, come into the gray areas. Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
My day today seemed to be all about compromise, from morning to night. I had coffee with a not-quite FOF friend (she’s 48), who told me about her contentious relationship with an older sister. My friend is cool, unemotional, methodical and thoughtful. Her sister is hotter, emotional and often compulsive. They come to odds when older sister perceives younger sister is acting like a know it all and younger perceives that older is self-centered and unthinking.
I’ve learned from my own sisterly relationships that no one wins unless one or both sisters accepts the other, for good and for bad, kind of like we need to do in a marriage. Chances are, my friend is not going to change her sister and vice versa, so it’s best if you each give a little.
Later in the day, Lina and I made a presentation about FOF to a big beauty company. The executives liked our pitch a great deal, but explained why they couldn’t do quite what we proposed. Instead, they asked if we could do take another approach, which they outlined. We said yes, and then they asked us to tweak our presentation and send it back to them. That’s another kind of compromise, not involving any emotional sacrifice, so it’s pretty easy to accept.
When two parties have to settle on the terms of a business contract, their lawyers usually shuttle it back and forth numerous times until they come to terms. Both sides invariably give up something. David, my lawyer husband, says a good settlement is when “both sides feel like they lost.” At first, it seems to be a strange notion, but it makes sense when you think hard about it. “Neither side should be 100 percent happy,” David explains. “That’s what compromise is all about.”