Photo: Anna Sunny

This Is a Crucial Mental Model for Good Relationships

It’s called Gottman’s Magic Ratio

Julia Clavien
Nov 7, 2019 · 2 min read

Gottman’s Magic Ratio is splendidly simple, and could improve both your personal and professional relationships! It’s a lovely mental model to add to your own internal latticework.

What is Gottman’s Magic Ratio?

John & Julie Gottman are world renowned for their work studying human relationships. One of the best and simplest outputs of their research is their “magic” ratio:

That “magic ratio” is 5 to 1. This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions.

Further research was able to show that the 5:1 ratio was also applicable not just to personal relationship such as marriage, but to other types of relationship including professional ones.

It’s well worth reflecting on your relationships in both your personal and professional life to be aware of the ratio of positive and negative interactions… Maybe you have some where there are not enough positive interactions to offset the negative interactions — I know I have a few where I need to endeavor to get the ratio closer to the ideal of 5:1!

Want to go deeper?

🔖 The Gottman blog has this more detailed post.

🔖 HBR wrote this about the 5:1 ratio in terms of business teams.

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Julia Clavien

Written by

Curious to a fault. Technology | Psychology | Philosophy. All opinion subject to change. ☺ linktr.ee/juliaclavien

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