A Tip for Improving Your Relationships

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Could your relationships use a boost? Here’s an easy formula to determine (and possibly improve) the health of your relationships with your partner, your kids and even colleagues at work. Simply count the number of positive and negative interactions/comments between you and the other person. Then divide the number of positive by the number of negative. This is your positivity ratio. Studies have shown that when the ratio for a relationship gets below 3 (3 positive for every 1 negative), the relationship is in danger. The ideal range is between 3 and 9. (For partners, the recommended range is 5 to 9.) How interesting that we need at least 3 good interactions to balance out only one negative interaction!

How often do we find ourselves correcting, nagging, or losing patience with our kids (or spouse)? We may not even consider our “gentle” reminder to do homework as negative, but what counts is how the other person perceives our comment. Are we then making the effort to balance these negative comments with enough appreciation, thank yous, and encouragement? Run your own experiment. Tomorrow, pay attention and make sure your positivity ratio with someone in your life is at least 3. It may feel challenging at first, but give it a try and see if you notice a difference.

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