Do You Compromise or Negotiate More?

Ideally, compromise and negotiation are not either/or experiences, but rather making the best choice in each situation. Collaboration is probably the best choice in that it’s usually a win/win result for the people involved.

Women generally don’t receive training in the art of “negotiating,” yet they do learn how to “compromise.” We all must compromise in life, yet always giving in and letting others have the win creates a victim mentality.

Today’s women are probably more aware of the need to negotiate, though do they initiate a negotiation, or do they wait until presented to them?

Research shows that women are comfortable “negotiating” when doing it for others. They may not feel comfortable negotiating for themselves.

I’ve spent a significant part of my working life in Human Resources, and women don’t negotiate salaries; they usually accept what the employer offers. Not discussing it can have a substantial impact on their lifetime earnings.   According to, 84% of employers expect job applicants to negotiate salary during the interview stage. Nearly 60% of women never negotiate their pay at all.

Do you get uncomfortable with the word “negotiate?” Does “compromise” show up more in your life?

Inherently, neither compromise nor negotiating are wrong; instead, how do you use these experiences in your life?

Women tend to go towards compromise and feel it’s a good skill.  We need to be sharp around our definition of compromise – is it mainly to create peace. In contrast, negotiation is working towards a result we want.  Think about the different orientations of these two words and how they play out in your life.

A thought

If you feel more comfortable with the word “compromise” and have the same results as negotiating, you are acting from a place of win/win.   When you hear yourself saying, “I’m the one who has to compromise all the time,” then it may benefit you to think of ways where both parties can win.  We don’t negotiate every aspect of our lives, though we need to feel that there is a balance. If there is no balance, learn how to create what you want.

Where Are You?

Imagine a scale from 1-10 and write “compromise” and “negotiate” on separate columns. What would be your number next to each?  If you score high on negotiation, you believe that life is based on a win/win and not a win/lose result.  If you score high on compromise, your heart holds unmet needs and dissatisfaction.

In some areas of our lives, we negotiate easily, and in others, we choose to compromise.  Create a list of all the areas of your life and mark your choice of action (compromise/negotiate) against each one next to them: work, relationships, friendships, finances, and conversations.  If you are strong in negotiating in one area, use your beliefs there to build your negotiation skills in the other.

Most women don’t believe that negotiation is a valuable skill in relationships.  If we believe that negotiation is a foundation of a relationship, we will create win/win relationships where both people can achieve their goals and be happy.  Do your emotions dictate your interactions, and do you “compromise” out of fear?

US studies clearly show that women completing college with similar degrees as men receive on average $4,000 less a year in salary. (“Women Don’t Ask” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever)  You can never recoup that money.  Women don’t ask for what they want and deserve.  We straddle a man’s world in business, but we bring our society training with us.

Women believe that if a manager appreciates them, she will give them a good raise.  More often than not, women miss higher raises because they don’t come prepared to the meeting with examples of their contributions and don’t expect that there is value there to use in negotiation.

Your Thoughts

Do you agree with the following:

Given that women are working, handling the home front, and managing the finances, we must learn to negotiate for what we want.  Like any other skill, it’s a skill that can increase our well-being.  We can’t get scared off because of our fears of others’ reactions.  We need to own what we want and let others hold their reactions.

How to Handle Others’ Reactions

Most of the time, our beliefs limit us and not the reactions of others.  Other people take our lead.  If you find yourself in a situation where another person’s reactions intimidate you, learn how to deal with this situation.  Learn to negotiate your rights along with the other person.  There is so much information on the “art of negotiation” that we have no excuse for not taking responsibility for our lives.  We can use what we learn to better our lives.

Women’s Group Topic

An excellent topic for a women’s group.  Women will have varied responses, interpretations, beliefs, fears, apprehensions, and skills around “negotiating.”  It will be a lively discussion.

Let us know how you respond to the word “negotiate.”  This powerful subject impacts the lives of women worldwide.  It’s great if you can share your thoughts, and let’s help each other increase our ability to learn to negotiate for what we want in life.  Give us examples of areas in which you learned to deal and what you did to make a change in your life.

Be well,

“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill)


Other Topics You May Be Interested In
12 Reasons to Choose Self Compassion
How Do the Women in Your Life Support You?
5 Powerful Traits to Develop in Your Life




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