How does gratitude impact a relationship and how might I see it play out in someone’s postings on Facebook?
Without showing someone you appreciate or care for them, a relationship is essentially pointless. In my opinion, it’s the “little things that matter.” People often misconstrue gratitude or appreciation with big or over the top gifts. My dad has always taught me that showing someone you love them can be as easy as picking them up a coffee or loading the dishwasher without being asked to.
In relationships, I think it’s only right that you are appreciated as well as appreciative. Without the combination of both, one person is bound to resent the other for not showing enough thanks or doing enough acts of kindness.
In this article by Susan Minarik, she suggests starting small when learning to appreciate things. What makes you happy? What gives you pleasure? Start with these little examples before moving on to people! Once you do this, you can move on to the things you like or appreciate about yourself. And finally, when thinking of a loved one, you can list all of the things that you are grateful for.
People often misconstrue acts of kindness for a need to be rewarded or as a gain for something in return. Like this article states, people often think that an act of appreciation is really just a way to get something back. The study was similar to the one we read in class. People who were in romantic relationships were asked to write down their interactions with their partner. The thoughtful behaviors resulted in a feeling of “indebtedness.” Basically if someone did something nice for you, you feel the need to “repay them.”
I think this all plays out very well in the Facebook or social media field. Often times when someone does something nice for their romantic partner, people post about it on Facebook. For example, I have a Facebook friend who constantly posts about her boyfriend making her dinner or buying her flowers. While it is sweet and shows he appreciates her, I never see her doing anything in return. I always think to myself, “Maybe he keeps doing nice things so YOU will return the favor!”
For me and my relationship with my boyfriend, I like to keep it as private as possible. I didn’t want to post the flowers he got me for Valentine’s Day because I didn’t want to be “that girl.” I am happy when he posts dog or cat videos on my wall wishing me good luck on a test. For me, that is more than enough.
ALGOE, S. B., GABLE, S. L., & MAISEL, N. C. (2010). It’s the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(2), 217-233. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2010.01273.x
Gordon, A. M., Oveis, C., Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., & Keitner, D. (2012). To Have and to Hold: Gratitude Promotes Relationship Maintenance in Intimate Bonds. Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology, 103(2), 257-274. doi:10.1037/a0028723
Minark, S. (2011). Appreciation: Relationship’s golden key. Positive Living Now, Retrieved from http://www.positive-living-now.com/appreciation-relationships-golden-key/