I am a huge fan of the song “Why Don’t You Just Meet Me in the Middle?” by Zedd and Maren Morris. Whenever it comes up on the radio, I turn it up and sing along. It’s got a catchy tune and I love the tick-tock refrain.
But then I started thinking….meeting in the middle is a compromise solution. The song is actually about a spurned lover pleading to her significant other, “Why don’t you just meet me in the middle?” I got news for you, honey. If all you’re going to do is compromise, then neither of you will be happy.
I am NOT a relationship expert, but I AM a team expert – and many of the principles apply to both.
So here’s what happens when you “meet in the middle” – you have to give up something. Change something. Subtract from. Give in. So that you can meet in the middle.
Likewise, your partner has to give up something. Change something. Subtract from. Give in.
So neither person ends up truly satisfied. Fulfilled. Happy with each other.
If you do this all the time, resentment builds up and it’s a recipe for a failed relationship.
So what’s an unsatisfied person to do?
Aim for a win-win. Go back to the beginning. What do you truly want out of the relationship? What would be a win for you and a win for your partner? It’s typically NOT about what you’re fighting about either. That’s just the tactics about how to get what you both want. Focus on the “common ground” and then brainstorm what that could look like. List the possibilities (there are ALWAYS options if you look hard enough!) and then settle on one or two that will make both of you happy.
In team language, that’s called “collaboration” rather than a compromise. Much better to at least AIM for it, vs. settle for something in the middle.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.