False compromise fallacy: why the middle ground is not always the best - Deepstash

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Unable To Find A Way Out

Unable To Find A Way Out

When it’s hard to find a resolution, it can be tempting to search for the middle ground to resolve the conflict. By making us abandon the search for the most suitable resolution, the false compromise fallacy can lead to misleading conclusions and poor decision making at work and in your personal life.

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The False Compromise

The False Compromise

A false compromise occurs when a resolution cannot be found between two opposing views, and so the middle ground is accepted as the “best of both worlds” instead.

If you know that the sky is blue, but someone else argues that it is yellow, a compromise might see you meeting in the middle to conclude that the sky is green. Of course, this agreement settles the difference of opinion in a wholly unsatisfactory way, as there is no truth in the sky being green.  A false compromise only provides the illusion of a resolution.

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The Danger of False Compromises

The Danger of False Compromises

False compromises may seem innocent, especially when getting to the correct answer does not particularly seem to matter in everyday life. However, when the topic being discussed and the potential outcome are of great importance, a false compromise could cause harm.

A false compromise can also dangerously speed up decision making. This is particularly true if the compromise brings an abrupt end to a debate: hurriedly agreeing to a decision may prevent you from considering second-order consequences.

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How to Manage False Compromises

How to Manage False Compromises

We will likely all have had experience of false compromises, with various resulting outcomes. Learning to manage this fallacy may help you to avoid unnecessarily meeting in the middle.

  • Consider if consensus is needed.
  • Evaluate the strength of evidence.
  • Be open to extreme decisions.

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nesslabs

Ness Labs provides content, coaching, courses and community to help makers put their minds at work. Apply evidence-based strategies to your daily life, discover the latest in neuroscience research, and connect with fellow curious minds.

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