Interpersonal relationships thrive on positivity. In fact, researchers Dr. Gottman and Dr. Levenson conducted a longitudinal study to uncover the effects of conflict on relationships. They determined that long-term happiness depends on a concept called the “magic ratio.” For every negative interaction, five (or more) positive interactions are needed in order to create balance. Although the official study centered around romantic partnerships, the magic ratio theory applies to platonic and familial relationships as well. Just as your marriage needs a healthy dose of positivity, so do your family bonds. Here are three ways to create positive interactions with your family.
- Show Interest
Families are made up of people who have eclectic tastes, unique hobbies, and diverse day-to-day activities. But when people differ from us, we sometimes judge their choices or avoid joint ventures altogether. However, this isn’t the best way to foster positive interactions. In order to connect with your family in a meaningful way, you have to show interest in their lives. Make an effort to be curious about their well-being, passion points, and pastimes. Asking questions shows that you care and desire to stay up-to-date. So, instead of teasing your brother about his upcoming rock concert, or critiquing your mom’s favorite Netflix series, ask to join in on the fun. You may even discover that their tastes aren’t so bad after all.
- Catch Them Doing Something Right
It’s easy to become fixated on other people’s missteps and annoying habits. But if you want to maintain a positive environment, focus less on what they do wrong, and instead, catch them doing something right. Maintain an optimistic attitude and stay on the prowl for good deeds. When you spot one, verbally celebrate. Doing so will naturally increase the number of positive interactions that you share with your family members.
- Be Playful
Although everyday stressors can feel all-consuming, laughter is one of life’s greatest joys. To create positive moments with your family, try to set aside your worries and focus on being more playful. Have a dance party. Tell goofy bedtime stories. Play dress up. Experiment with innocent pranks. As long as everyone is having a good time, there are no limits to creative play. By simply letting your hair down and remaining lighthearted, you have everything you need to create long-lasting memories with the people you love most.
Whether you decide to help your daughter prepare for her dance recital, praise your spouse for cooking a delicious dinner or implement a family game night, being intentional about creating positive moments is a habit worth forming. Use these three tips to replace negative family interactions with positive alternatives and watch how your connections grow.