Keeping score can poison your relationships. Tallying up your disappointments or giving with expectations of what you’ll receive in return spell trouble for both romance and friendship.
While it’s reasonable to expect some reciprocity, relationships are seldom a matter of 50-50. You’ll probably find that you’re more of a giver or a taker in different relationships at different times so it tends to even out. At the same time, when you and your loved ones give 100% to each other, you’ll create true partnerships. Find out how to end the competition while creating more contentment and trust.
Reasons to Stop Keeping Score
- Strengthen your relationships. Healthy connections depend on being committed to each other’s well-being. Give because you want to see the joy in your partner’s eyes rather than calculating what’s in it for you.
- Develop self-reliance. Ironically, stronger ties can encourage independence. You’ll enjoy your partner’s support while you take responsibility for your own future.
- Experience more happiness. Resentments are a heavy burden that clouds your vision. When you put away your spreadsheet, your blessings will be more apparent.
- Change old patterns. Score-keeping is often a legacy from our childhoods. Finding new ways to interact with others will help you to see that you have more rewarding options.
Strategies to Stop Keeping Score
- Cultivate gratitude. Appreciation is the antidote to score-keeping. The more you focus on the good qualities of your friends and family, the less you’ll notice their shortcomings. You may even start to discover the wonderful things they do for you that you’ve been overlooking until now.
- Establish priorities. Score-keeping often exaggerates minor issues. Your partner’s honesty and integrity are more important than their vacuuming skills.
- Give generously. Your satisfaction usually depends on how much you contribute to a relationship rather than how much you receive. Practice giving unconditionally, and compare the experience to giving with strings attached.
- Extend forgiveness. Naturally, you and your partner will sometimes make mistakes. Acknowledge your feelings and seek reconciliation.
- Respect individual differences. The funny thing about score-keeping is that we play by different rules. Your best friend may value punctuality while you think the starting time for lunch dates is flexible.
- Communicate directly. Asking for what you want is more effective than hoping that others will be able to read your mind. Let your loved ones know when you need help. Be willing to extend them the same favor when they’re under pressure.
- Negotiate differences. While a lot of give-and-take comes naturally in marriages and other close relationships, there may be some areas where you need to develop more formal agreements. A rotating schedule for the less popular household tasks beats weekly arguments.
- Unite your efforts. A committed relationship involves thinking about how you can advance together rather than concentrating on personal gains. You can accomplish more as a team. When you face a challenge, pool your talents and collaborate on a solution.
- Move on. On the other hand, if you feel that a relationship is too one-sided, it may be time to call it quits. You deserve to be loved and respected. You can wish your former friends and lovers well while you look for new connections that are more compatible with your values and goals.
Forget about making a balance sheet for your relationships, and focus on making each other happy instead. Your romances and friendships will be more fulfilling when mutual generosity flows naturally. You and your loved ones win when you stop keeping score.