“I’ve got some good news!”
How do you respond when people share their good news with you?
Researchers (Gable, Reis, Impett, & Asher, 2004) have found there’s a really effective way to respond. It’s called “Active Constructive” – and essentially it means that you actively make constructive comments.
I’ve seen the following example used in a workshop – and remember it’s the top left box of “Active and Constructive” that works. Yes really, the passive and constructive doesn’t work – you may think you’re being supportive – but research shows that these comments are not enough – so us silent types better be more enthusiastic.
What’s in it for you?
Of course there are the people in your life for whom you’re delighted to share in their good news – and there doesn’t have to be anything in it for you!
But I thought you might like to know that the research shows that this “active and constructive” communication is positively associated with better relationship quality. In academic speak the active and constructive responses were positively correlated with commitment, satisfaction intimacy, and for men trust.
Take the approach further
In positive psychology there is an intervention known as savouring, where you really allow yourself to enjoy the experience. Where it’s an appropriate situation, you can facilitate the person with the good news just to remember and re-experience the situation. The research also shows that more likely to engrave the experience on their memory.
“I’m so pleased you had a great evening, tell me about it, what was the best bit?”
Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., Impett, E. A., & Asher, E. R. (2004). What Do You Do When Things Go Right? The Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Benefits of Sharing Positive Events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 228-245. doi: 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.168