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Fork in the Road: The "C" word


Life without compromise is like walking a tight rope; the moment you accept compromise into your life, possibilities and growth will be endless for you.

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Opinion | November 2nd, 2015

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Compromise. I never knew it could be a dirty word until I had an off-putting exchange with a friend of mine. A few months ago, I ventured to the T-dot for a much overdo girls reunion. Everything was going swimmingly until one of my girlfriends went full tilt into mental breakdown mode and awarded me the title of Dr. Freud for the remainder of the day.

I am all for being there for my friends. In reality, the shoe has most certainly been on the other foot more than once and they’ve never recanted when I’ve needed their love and support. However, this whole episode was odd to the rest of the gang and to the innocent bystanders who were subjected to the whole ordeal. While we all have our not-so-flattering moments, my friend’s breakdown seemed entirely out of character and further seemed to have erupted without any obvious preface.

In the years that we’ve known each other, I’ve always known my friend to be a strongwilled and emotionally stable kind of person. In fact, that’s one of the things I admire about her most. If she doesn’t like something, she’s never been shy about making her opinion known or doing something about it.

We all have our bad days, but throughout all of the conversations leading up to the reunion, there was not a single indication that she was having any struggles she needed to vent about. And so, we were all rather dumbfounded and at a loss for what to do and where this was coming from.

What perhaps is even more bizarre is what followed the next day. Given the sensitivity of the issues discussed, I decided to take it upon myself to write a heartfelt letter to all of my girlfriends, without singling her out.

In said letter, I made it clear that should any of them ever need a shoulder to cry on I would always be there for them and that I’m eternally grateful for the kindness they’ve shown me.

My friend who had the breakdown was the first to respond. Interestingly, she stated she was more than happy to be there for me, but failed to acknowledge anything that had happened the day prior and actually went on to say that she appreciated knowing she could count on me for support.

I read her response over and over to ensure I didn’t miss something. In her mind, it’s like it never happened. What is much more upsetting than the breakdown itself was the subject matter of her rant; within seconds of our meet-up, I saw my 20-something friend revert to the mentality of a spoiled teenager. It was like looking at myself in the mirror 15 years ago.

To make a long story short, my friend indicated to me in no uncertain terms that if she couldn’t have her way with respect to anything and everything, she wasn’t interested. She went on to express that she shouldn’t have to put forth additional efforts to get what she wants, it should just be a given. Basically, she expects the world to implicitly know and bow to her every whim. Things got heated when the conversation turned to relationships.

Though I’m quite happily married, I made it clear to her that my relationship with my husband certainly didn’t get to where it is without work on both our parts, nor will it maintain itself without continual effort. To this I added that any successful relationship requires compromise. Compromising is a necessary part of navigating adulthood and a necessary part of growing up. Suffice it to say she didn’t take kindly to either sentiment.

I too was once committed to the adolescent notion of selfishness, but then I realized that the only person I was limiting by maintaining this mindset was myself. Without challenges to your self-concept and beliefs, without having to re-evaluate your options after having been unsuccessful, without having to reinvent yourself after facing adversity, without having to compromise to ensure mutual success, you will never flourish.

It is great when things go our way and everything is smooth sailing but realistically, how often does life work that way? It’s not like there’s a cop-out button we can press every time we don’t get what we want.

Life is all in the choices we make and in what we learn from those choices about the world and ourselves. Therefore, life is all about compromise as one choice means selecting one thing over another. Put differently life is about learning how and when to pick your battles.
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