Building Relationships: The Emotional Piggy Bank

Do you like to keep your relationships in harmony?

Research indicates that in order to keep our relationships in harmony we need 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction. That’s 5:1 folks!

If you think of your relationship (with anyone, work or home) as a piggy bank, then we want to keep that piggy bank full and jingly.

Every positive interaction is a deposit; every negative interaction is a withdrawal. What’s important to note though, is that it’s what the other person counts as a deposit or withdrawal, not what you count. We need to make constant deposits in lots of little ways, saving for the rainy day when a big withdrawal happens. If we have been making lots of deposits, the relationship can survive the withdrawals easily. But if there are too many withdrawals without deposits, we go into the red, the relationship suffers, and it takes a lot to recover.

In a work context, it’s a lot easier to take constructive feedback if we have been given feedback regularly on what we are doing well, when we do it. The deposits are in place, so a withdrawal has less impact. Which of your relationships could do with some deposits? Fill the piggy banks and reap the rewards!