Considering the incalculable number of our personal interactions, it is predictable that differences and disputed issues will at times, arise. Interestingly, an insight to emotional maturity and character may be acquired by observing one’s response to the uncomfortable presence of controversy.

Inarguably, compromise is the preferred vehicle for the peaceable (and face-saving) resolution of disputed matters. In this interactive conception, functionally known as the process of “give and take,” the negotiating participants have agreed in advance to abide by the ultimate resolution known as the compromise.

Occasionally, certain issues may arise which appear to be of demonstrably greater importance to party A, as compared with B , when a concession by B would be generous and appropriate. Such acts of concession, under like circumstances, are especially appropriate and beneficial regarding disputed issues between spouses, members of the family and close friends. It is not necessary to suggest that it would be petty and inconsistent to maintain a “score card” of previous voluntary concessions.

Regarding the general context and setting of the procedure, two unrelated matters are implicitly clear: (a) that one of the parties may not be in an equal position of strength as the other, and (b) that the ultimate resolution will necessarily result in all participants getting less than originally demanded.

For purposes of simplicity, we will assume that all parties resolve to participate in the process in good faith and exercise sufficient respect towards the other. Both should actively cooperate, mutually bearing in mind that compromise is preferable to any alternative.

In certain (thankfully, rare) instances, one is confronted with the type of dystopic participant whose penchant is for the (non-productive) “zero sum game.” This exemplar of neurotic trend will insist upon having everything “my way”; any minor concession, represents to him a major face-losing catastrophe. Such species of primitive personality is predictably destined to an insular and joyless life experience; no reasonably healthy person would be willing or able to tolerate a relationship with him which would predictably be typified by the metabolism of a steady diet of dictatorial edicts.

While participating in the process of dispute resolution, the parties should ever be cognizant of the human dynamics involved, such as the nuanced personality and discernable reactions of the other party and act in accordance with the principled criteria of their avowed self- image.

The route to the compromise of differences may be somewhat comparable to driving a car in a substantial fog. The object which is difficult of discernment in the fog of contention is the private, perhaps emotional, “cost of compromise” on the part of the other participant; this invisible element must always be considered and respected.


  • Failure to reach compromise is often due to a failure to strictly adhere to the issue in contention; insertion of any other problem or subject matter is predictably fatal


  • Some subjects are NEVER subject to compromise: i.e., love, morality, loyalty, and empathy. -p.

Published by


Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s