The Magic Ratio
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Have you ever had a conversation with someone that just left you feeling beaten down? Does your morning routine of making sure the dog eats, changing kids out of jammies, and getting yourself ready to go out the door cause extra chaos between everyone in the house? In stressful situations where communication is involved, it’s easy to change someone’s entire day by simply choosing the wrong words.
Relationship researcher John Gottman states the magic ratio in any relationship is 5 to 1. Now, you’re probably thinking, “what is a magic ratio, and why do I need it?” The ratio emerged during the observation of healthy couples. In these relationships, there were five positive interactions for every one negative during times of conflict. What does this mean? To put it in simple terms, the positive heavily outweighs the negative.
Think about the last time someone said something negative to you. Now think about how long it took for you to forget about those words. What did that person have to do for you to move past the negativity?
Usually, they have to jump through hoops – maybe five hoops – to make amends. In any relationship, whether with a spouse, a child, a coworker, etc., thinking carefully about your words is necessary. Anger, arguments, and disagreements can be healthy and motivating. No one is going to be 100% on board for everything all the time. Negative interactions during disputes include being emotionally dismissive, critical, or becoming defensive. Body language plays a part as well.
Negativity can wreak havoc on our emotional systems. It causes our minds to recall insults better than praise, dwell on the negative instead of the positive, and remember bad experiences more than good ones. There’s an entire science behind this process called negativity bias. Click any of the links below to learn more!