Cooperation or Capitulation?: How Personality Types View Compromise

We all have perspectives and opinions, but not always the same ones – and that can make life interesting. But disagreement can present problems, especially when a decision is required in order to move forward. Whether it’s deciding which restaurant to dine at or how to accomplish a work project, “agree to disagree” may not always be a functional option.

Often, we must compromise for the sake of progress, something that is easier for some personality types than others. Not everyone handles compromise the same way, regardless of which side of a decision they end up on – some may not handle it well at all.

To learn which types might find compromise to be a bitter pill rather than a better solution, we asked our community whether they agreed with the statement, “If you have to compromise, you regard that as a defeat.” Just 34% agreed overall, but some personality types did so much more than others, especially those with the Intuitive, Thinking, and Turbulent traits.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the results below.

Roles

Analysts (54% agreeing)

While not a strong majority, Analysts’ agreement was significantly higher than the other Roles, mainly because of their core Thinking trait. In fact, Thinking types were 24% more likely than Feeling types to agree with our statement (48% vs. 24%, respectively). 

Ever logical, Analysts usually take great care to craft opinions and conclusions that are rational and well thought-out, and as a result, they usually think they’re right. For these strong-willed, independent personalities, compromising after such considered effort is often hard to accept and may feel as if they’re willingly embracing a bad decision. 

The Intuitive personality trait is a factor here too. Analysts are inherently interested in exploring new possibilities and finding solutions, and because they invest so much of their energy in these activities, it’s all the more disappointing if they must consent to an arrangement that diminishes their vision. 

Architects (INTJ) agreed at the highest rate of any personality type (58%). Architects tend to be masterminds, so it’s understandable that having to give an inch on their grand plans may feel like a defeat. Even so, Architects are not entirely intractable, as their strategic instincts help them recognize when a compromise is truly in their best interest.

Explorers (29%)

Explorers are known for their open-minded attitudes and frequently changing interests, often embracing the unexpected in life. Because these personalities have the ability to go with the flow, compromise may feel less like defeat and more like a natural shift in direction. It’s simply a matter of give-and-take.

Notably, the Nature personality aspect made Explorers the most divided Role on this topic. Virtuosos (ISTP) (47%), for instance, were more than twice as likely as Entertainers (ESFP) (19%) to agree. As with Analysts, Explorers with the Thinking trait may prefer to stand by the soundness of their own logic, whereas those with the Feeling trait are more oriented toward finding solutions that work for everyone.

Diplomats (27%) 

“Compromise” is practically a Diplomat’s middle name – at least most of the time. Because they’re guided by their ideals and principles (a tendency that is strengthened by their Intuitive trait), Diplomats have been known to fight tooth and nail for what they believe in. But that’s usually a last resort.

Thanks to their Feeling trait, these personalities strive to understand and empathize with other points of view, and they prefer harmony and resolution over conflict. Negotiation is a skill they’re comfortable with. Diplomats often view compromise in the name of the greater good as a victory, not a defeat.

Sentinels (25%) 

Sentinels often take a less individualistic approach to life, a pragmatism that reflects their Observant trait. They like to rely on facts and proven methods, which can sometimes make them rigid (especially those personalities with the Thinking trait, who agreed at higher rates). But Sentinels also stay focused on their larger goals and are willing to compromise toward an effective, orderly result, even if they don’t agree with every step along the way.

Consuls (ESFJ) were the least likely personality type to agree that they regard compromise as defeat (17%). Consuls are caring, conflict-averse individuals. Because they deeply value cooperation among people and enjoy making others happy, they’re comfortable making certain sacrifices as part of their general campaign to foster positivity and social harmony.

Strategies

Constant Improvement and Social Engagement (38% and 37% agreeing)

The Identity personality aspect was another important factor in this survey, with Turbulent types agreeing with our statement at notably higher rates than Assertive types.

Constant Improvers and Social Engagers tend to experience self-doubt. Earning the agreement or approval of others can be encouraging and strengthening for them, while disagreement or debate can be stressful and disconcerting. Because of the pressure that Turbulent types tend to place on themselves, compromise might feel like failure to them. That said, the low overall agreement of these Strategies indicates that despite such feelings, most of these personalities can handle compromise when they need to.

Confident Individualism (26%)

Confident Individualists were less likely to agree, not because they lack strong views, but because their self-esteem is so strong that making concessions usually doesn’t feel like much of a threat to them. They may compromise when it makes sense to do so, but they remain firmly secure in their ideas and abilities. These Assertive personalities are not likely to take it personally when they don’t get their way, and they’re less worried in general about failure.

People Mastery (22%)

When it comes to compromise, People Masters have not only their Assertive Identity but also their Extraverted Mind working in their favor. They have a strong internal sense of confidence, but they’re also adept at communicating with people and dealing with conflict. Open to feedback from others, they may also be less set in their ways than other personality types. These characteristics are a recipe for handling compromise with minimal stress – and likely, with a good amount of grace, in most cases.

Conclusions

It’s noteworthy that even the highest rates of agreement in this survey were modest. That is probably a good thing. Although persisting in what we believe is right is often necessary and critical, everyone must learn to compromise sometimes. 

Some personalities, especially those who devote themselves to logical, innovative thinking and who tend to doubt themselves, have more trouble with the idea that they must invest time and energy in plans or solutions that are less than ideal. It can be easy to become disheartened or cynical when we consider compromise to be a form of defeat. Based on our study, however, most types recognize that by compromising, we can become more resilient, broaden our perspectives, and achieve greater results than we could on our own.

What about you? Do you regard compromise as defeat, and if so, how do you deal with it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, in the Academy. Please also consider participating in our Member Surveys!

3 months ago
As an INTJ-A, you should compromise if it's worth it. Doesn't matter what it is, if it's worth it then you shouldn't hesitate.
3 months ago
"You win this time (wich means I lose)" is a recurring thought when someone else is right and I have to accept that in order to move forward. INTJ-A
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