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How Do You Undo a Negative Interaction?

Research shows that 5 positive interactions are needed to undo 1 negative interaction in relationships. Positive experiences are meaningful in relationships and it will take a whopping 5 of them to undo a single negative interaction! (Kind of makes that negative interaction, less worth it, huh?) It's important to undo those negative feelings that can fester if left alone.

You don't have to have a negative interaction in order to use positive interactions! When you make these positive interactions a daily part of your relationship, it nourishes the foundation of your relationship and only makes it even stronger.


Positive interactions don't need to be huge, they can be very small. Here are a few ideas:

  • Smile at your partner.

  • Put your hand on their back for a moment.

  • Tell them something you notice about them.

  • Send a short email, leave a phone message, or write a note.

  • Thank them for something they regularly do for you.

  • Compliment them.

  • Tell them something you appreciate about their character.


Try to do 3 of these, all in one day, and take notice of how you feel and if your interactions improve.


Doing this won't feel natural at first, especially if it's not something you typically do. That's okay! Try it anyway and as you practice, it will feel more comfortable.

"Practice makes perfect," you can do it!


*If you are having frequent negative interactions, sometimes it feels like each one digs you deeper into a hole and it can feel as if it's too deep to climb out of. It's not. The climb will be more arduous, take consistent commitment and take longer, but you can climb out it. In this case, it's helpful to seek a professional, like a coach or counselor who can help get you on the right track and keep you there.



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