Relationships touch every aspect of our lives. Many of us interact with dozens of people in a single day: a spouse, a friend, coworkers, children, the barista at our local coffee shop.

This leaves plenty of opportunities for both negative and positive experiences. While most of us would admit that we prefer positive exchanges to negative ones, we know that the good comes with the bad. But how much negativity is too much negativity? Moreover when does negativity begin to affect our relationships?

Researchers at the Relationship Institute advise a ratio of 3 positive interactions for every negative interaction in most relationships. However, this magic ratio changes when marriage enters the conversation. If you’ve tied the knot, researchers turn up the dial and suggest there be 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction.

Because I know the gears are turning, I’m going to challenge you to some self-coaching. Take the next week to think about the following questions:

  1. What is the positive to negative emotion ratio in your most important relationships?
  2. What could you do to improve that ratio?

This exercise really gets at the heart of coaching: working through the challenge, dilemma, or opportunity that’s in front of you. If you’ve ever considered becoming a coach or simply want to have stronger relationships in your life, check out The Coach Training Intensive that we host virtually at the CaPP Institute.