Actually, the title of this blog is closer to the meaning of the Spanish word “compromiso” than the usual English use of “compromise”. We usually think of compromising as reaching agreement on some middle ground, as in “You can have the remote most of the time as long as you let me watch my favourite programme every night at six”. I used to think that our European leaders tried to reach compromises on more serious topics in a similar way. Now I’m not so sure.
The Spanish “compromiso” means “commitment”. That is why businesses invite you to admire their goods “sin compromiso”. It also means something we dread doing, putting ourselves in a position of obligation. That’s why we are sometimes reluctant to accept favours, as we don’t want to feel obliged. In Spanish this is “sentirse comprometido” – literally, but incorrectly, translated back into English as “to feel compromised”.