• Relationships thrive on the social support you give and get from them

    by  • November 25, 2013 • Relationships

    Relationships“In a relationship each person should support the other; they should lift each other up.” – Taylor Swift.

    Social support is important to us. It is like oxygen to our relationships. Because they thrive on it. Like when a person says good things about a piece of good news that you share them. It works wonders for your relationship with each other. As it helps you to satisfy each others needs.

    What you have to say about their good news means more to a person than what you have to say about their bad news. Of course that is also important. But it is how you respond to the good news that makes the real difference.

    Improve the quality of your relationships by learning to respond in a positive way to other people’s good news. They will value it. So begin to keep an eye out for their good news. And be generous in how you respond to it.

    Relationships thrive when you share positive events

    We engage in conversation to get social support. And when we have good news the best type of social support is a positive response to it. It makes us feel good. And it helps to make our relationships much better as a result. When we share good news with another how they respond to it is important for us. When they say good things about it we both feel good about it.

    And this works when the boot is on the other foot as well. As there are two sides to the response process. Just as there is also two sides to this sharing process. One is about sharing positive things about yourself or your experiences with others. The second is about saying positive things about other people’s good news.

    Four ways to respond to others good news

    People who respond with skill to others do so with enthusiasm. You can hear it in the tone of their voice and in the words they use. Once you are aware of this you will begin to spot lots of examples of it. And soon you will be able to respond better to those you care about.

    You can respond to good news in four different ways. If you study these you will learn how this process works. And knowing it will help you to respond in an active constructive way. To avoid the use of the less effective kinds of response. And the ones that are bad for relationships.

    An active constructive response helps relationships a lot

    An active constructive response expresses excitement and enthusiasm for the other’s good news. It makes them feel good and improves the relationship between you. Because they see you as authentic and enthusiastic. They sense that you feel the joy along with them. It reinforces their good feeling. And it adds value to their good news.

    For example, when you say “That’s great news. I’m proud of you. You deserve it.” And you can then ask for details of the event. By going on to say “I’m delighted for you. You must be so happy about it. Please tell me more about it?”

    A passive constructive response does little for relationships

    These responses are quiet, understated but supportive. The tone is positive but it is subdued and short.  It doesn’t show a lot of excitement or interest in the other persons good news. Like when you say: “That’s nice for you.”

    While they do not damage a relationship. They do not help to improve it.

    An active destructive response damages relationships

    When you make demeaning remarks that squash the other person’s good news. It damages the relationship between you. This happens when you make critical or pessimistic remarks about the good news. Like when you say “That’s never going to work out for you. It will probably make you more stressful.”

    A passive destructive response also damages relationships.

    You respond by ignoring the event described by the other person. You do not acknowledge his or her news or how they feel about it. For example when you say “Whatever…You will never guess what happened to me today.”

    Better relationships

    Research shows that when your partner views you as an active constructive responder there is more intimacy and trust between you. Ye are both more satisfied with the relationship. Ye have fewer conflicts between ye. And ye engage in more fun and relaxing  activities together.

    This is because it makes people feel validated, understood and cared for. It confirms the importance of the positive event and helps to elaborate on it. Unlike the other responses which suggest that the responder doesn’t think the news is important. Or that they do not understand or care about what is important to the other person.



    William Compton and Edward Hoffman (2013) Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Flourishing.

    Jessica Coleman (2012) Optimal Functioning: A Positive Psychology Handbook.


    We can use positive psychology to improve how we live our lives. So I love to share my understanding of it with others. To help them grow and flourish as I have. The posts on this blog set out to do just that. You need a lot of skill to make a relationship a happy one. So I write about relationship skills. Skills you can learn how to use in your own relationship. To keep it in good shape. To solve problems that may arise in it. And to improve the quality of your relationship. To make both of you happy.