Negative interactions tend to carry more weight than comparable positive ones. You know, like if a colleague compliments your shirt, you may remember it… but if he insults your shirt, you will definitely
remember it. Psychologists have suggested aiming for heuristics such as a 3:1 Positivity Ratio
(more than 3 positive interactions per 1 negative is good) or even a 5:1 ‘Magic Ratio’ referenced in Social Intelligence
In a happy, stable marriage a couple experiences about five upbeat interactions for every negative one. Perhaps that same five-to-one ratio is an approximate mean for any ongoing connection in our lives. We could, in theory, do an inventory that evaluates the “nutritional” value of each of our relationships.