I recently read a great article that talked about the four behaviors most responsible for killing relationships at home. The article quoted John Gottman, author of “The Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work.” And Gottman was quoted in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink.” I like the way this guy thinks and writes.
In the article, Gottman points to the following behaviors:
- Criticism (as opposed to complaints). Criticism attacks the person. Complaints attack the behavior. One is personal, one is not.
- Contempt. Name calling. Eye rolling. Sighing. Dismissive laughter. These are toxic, because they communicate more than “I don’t agree.” These also convey disgust.
- Defensiveness. Being defensive is about deflecting blame onto someone or something else. It shows an unwillingness to take responsibility. It escalates conflict, by not allowing resolution to happen.
- Stonewalling. Tuning out. Disengaging. Not listening. These behaviors are about removing oneself emotionally, and are highly toxic.
I love reading articles like this, because I think relationships are a non-stop effort to stay connected, to respect, to nurture. The battle is never over. Relationships need constant maintenance.
And my point today is to ask you to look closely at the list above. And then think not only about the relationships in your personal life. Think also about the relationships in your professional life.
Because those need just as much effort and nurturing as the ones at home.
Have a great day.