Seeing people through the lens of compatibility includes both self and other.

Often times, people go into situations focusing only on themselves or the other person.

The idea of compatibility originally stuck in me when I read Mark Manson’s writings on dating and relationships. So, let’s use dating as a metaphor.

Some heterosexual men focus only on the woman, particularly the woman’s physical beauty. Often times devaluing themselves and actually just looking to compensate or boost their egos by dating a beautiful woman. While there is nothing wrong with being attracted to a beautiful body that isn’t enough for a relationship. And, frankly, boring for most women for men to only see them as a body to possess.

On the other hand, there are men who focus on themselves too much. This shows up as insecurity, hesitation, anxiety, inadequacy, and so on. This shows up in interactions as agreeing with the other person on everything, name dropping, putting others down, and so on. In this case, it’s all about proving one’s value with the starting belief that my value must be lower than this woman’s. Or the flip side of negging where you try to put a woman’s value down to your level or below.

Most of the time, people feel like they always have to be able to “close” or “win” every single interaction. But, dating, is the one place where you don’t have to win every single time. In the end, you only need one partner (unless you’re aiming for polyamory). Better to quickly find out compatibility and move on to the next person if it’s not compatible.

In all these cases above, it’s not about compatibility. It’s about either me or them.

From a sales perspective, you could say this is the difference between features and benefits.

When selling a product or service, a lot of people try to just list off all the great features they have. But, what everyone cares about is whether or not this product/service will help me? How will it help me? In that case, the starting point isn’t to just list off a bunch of features but question and learn more about the person’s vision, needs, pains, and challenges. Figure out what they need and then how your product is compatible in helping them. I look for the areas where we are compatible and focus on that.

Likewise, when I did resident recruitment, not everyone is going to become a modern monastic. It’s pointless to even try to do that if not unethical. I simply needed to get in front of enough faces and people to find the ones who were already searching for what I had to offer but didn’t know it existed.

Once you change the point of view from “I have to close every single interaction or else I’m a failure” to “My job is to get to know this person and express myself to find if we’re compatible”, a lot of the stress and anxiety goes away. It’s no longer about just me or just them. It’s a relationship.