Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by Autumnflame on Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:00 pm

Interesting article from Business Insider: Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down to 2 Basic Traits

Ignoring my peeve about the "science says!" phrase, as the top commenter says, TL,DR: "Active constructive responding is critical for healthy relationships."

The article wrote:Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t — those who turned away — would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.

...

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman. “It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.”

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there.

...

There are two ways to think about kindness. You can think about it as a fixed trait: either you have it or you don’t. Or you could think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise. Masters tend to think about kindness as a muscle. They know that they have to exercise it to keep it in shape. They know, in other words, that a good relationship requires sustained hard work.

Interesting that it comes down to such a small, basic thing (or rather, more likely, that the small, basic thing was a sign of a deeper spirit of generosity and interest in the other person). But it seems a pretty natural outcome. Nice to see the studies being done on it though.
Autumnflame
Autumnflame

Posts : 181
Reputation : 55
Join date : 2014-10-03

View user profile http://priscillakim.carbonmade.com

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by avatar on Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:40 am

Thanks for sharing! I like that this article has specific examples of how this would actually work in a relationship. It makes sense that acknowledging your partner, even with the little things, would help make a relationship stronger.

avatar

Posts : 4
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2014-10-08

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by kath on Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:34 pm

Hmm. So I kind of have a question about this.

I find that my husband will often sort of chuck comments at me. We'll both be doing separate things, he'll turn towards me (which I may not notice as I'm focused on something else) and say something. Often, I can't even process what it is when he says it, and it often takes me a lot of time to disengage from what I'm doing, figure out what he said, and respond to it. He sometimes gets frustrated if I don't respond right away or in the way he's expecting. Sometimes, what he's talking to me about is something we've talked about several times and I've already given my opinion on it, or he's just restating something. Sometimes, he will do it randomly, giving me breaks for totally random amounts of time in the middle where he goes back to whatever he was doing, and I go back to what I was doing, and then he'll start talking to me again and I have to switch back into figuring out what he's saying several times.

Another way this happens is we'll be having a conversation. I'll think it's finished and start moving away (or finish it as I walk away to do something else, sometimes something I've told him I'm going to go do) and he'll keep talking and be frustrated that I walked away, even though I thought it was pretty clear I was walking away and I thought the conversation was complete because there was a large pause, or I said something like "OK, I'll decide later" or whatever, or because I had already started moving away and winding down the conversation.

How this feels to me is that he cares more about me listening to him whenever and whatever he has to say, no matter what I'm doing / whether I need to go to the washroom, get some food when I get home, whatever, or that it takes my brain a while to switch gears.

Also, he doesn't always respond well if I do the same thing, when he's focused on something.

He also says I don't talk to him about things, but I tend to feel like he either is not especially interested in things I have to talk about (he talks a lot about his hobbies, but doesn't ask about mine, and I ask him about his work and specific things that are going on at his work, but he doesn't tend to ask those specific questions about mine), so I don't offer a lot of conversation about those things unless I have a particular need to talk about them. Why would I try to make conversation about something I have no indication he will be interested in? Also, sometimes when I talk about those things he asks me a bunch of very specific questions that I find very frustrating to have to answer - like exactly where something is happening, exactly when it starts, exactly what will be going on - even if he's not attending or there's no way for me to know. Then he starts criticizing whoever organized it for not making it absolutely clear what's happening (again, even though he's not attending). So getting asked a lot of questions where "I don't know" isn't an answer he tends to accept very well is another reason I don't bring up casual conversation topics about what I'm doing.
kath
kath

Posts : 352
Reputation : 159
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by Enail on Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:18 pm

I have the same problem of my wife tending towards random interjections at random intervals when I'm doing something else, and then if I don't respond b/c I'm still absorbed in something else, she feels hurt that I'm not paying attention. We generally try and go with a compromise - if I'm in my study, she doesn't interrupt me, and at other times she'll try not to do it so much or to be so suddenly "okay, done talking, go away now", and I try to put down what I'm doing and properly pay attention when she does talk or else say "give me a minute" to finish up.

Maybe being more explicit about it when you're leaving the conversation and going to do something else would help?

Do you have a sense what kind of responses you would like when you're talking about your things? It sounds like maybe you have fairly different communication styles and he might not realize that he's not contributing in ways that would make you feel listened to and interesting.

ETA: That article was actually really useful to me, I hadn't really thought of my wife's off-hand comments that way and I can see why it would matter so much to her when I don't respond. So, thanks for that, Autumnflame!
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by readertorider on Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:09 pm

In my human bonding class (not really rigorous, usually rather obvious/contradictory information, but the prof was entertaining), our prof. presented a paper that suggested in-order to maintain a relationship (friendly or romantic), there needs to be roughly 5:1 positive to negative interactions, and good relationships usually have 10:1 or more. This paper seems to tie in nicely with that idea. The idea of contempt destroying relationships is not really new (there's a few other big warning signs like stonewalling), but I definitely recognize the name Gottman and think they probably wrote more on the subject... Thanks for sharing this!
readertorider
readertorider

Posts : 155
Reputation : 58
Join date : 2014-10-23

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by kleenestar on Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:15 pm

One way my husband and I deal with the "talking while focused" problem is that we have a) a scripted response for most situations and b) a signal that says, "actually, I really need your attention now."

If I'm focused (or he is), then a response that's always acceptable is, "I love you, [doing activity X] now." It acknowledges that I heard him, that I love him, and that I'm too absorbed to give him more of my attention. He knows that if he really does need my attention, he can get it, but meanwhile he knows that it's okay to talk to me and that I enjoy and appreciate it even in my focused-on-something-else state. He uses the same phrase with me.

The signal we use is, "When can I have a minute?" That means, "Actually, I need you to de-focus and engage with me, at a convenient time." If we ask twice and the other person doesn't seem to register, we'll add an elbow touch or shoulder tap to draw attention to it. Then the other person says, "In five minutes" or "When I finish this chapter" or whatever the natural stopping point is. That sends the message that he respects my engagement with, say, my book, and that he wants to let me come out of the activity in a natural and satisfying way so I don't feel jolted.

The hard thing is that this only works if both partners are genuinely on board. I can't tell whether your husband would like to change the pattern you're in; I hope he does, because for me and my partner, this works!
kleenestar
kleenestar

Posts : 289
Reputation : 204
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by The Wisp on Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:26 pm

Have you told your husband what you told us, Kath?
The Wisp
The Wisp

Posts : 896
Reputation : 198
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity Empty Re: Long-Term Relationships: Kindness and Generosity

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum