Trouble started as soon as I opened the door.
“Whoa, this apartment’s a mess!”
Those were the first words out of my mouth after coming home from work. Strangely...my girlfriend was not all sunshine and smiles upon seeing me.
After a long day at work, the urge to vent all your pent up negative energy feels like an unbearable itch that needs to be scratched:
“Let me tell you about the angry customer that was rude to me. Don’t get me started about getting a mustard stain on my white shirt. And did you hear about that horrific news story...”
Meanwhile, you still have not taken off your coat.
We all know that person whom every time you get together, a tidal wave of negativity pours out as soon as they open their mouth. The instant Debbie Downer. Eventually, we take measures to avoid them like the plague.
One of the simplest, most powerful changes you can make is to flip this problem on its head. On a Quora thread, marketing professor Brad Einarsen shares:
We all have 99 problems. #100 does not need to be overwhelming your loved ones with gripes, as the lead story when they walk through the door. Every day has its ‘roses’ and its ‘thorns’. Try leading with the roses! Also throw in something you learned or how, perhaps, you felt brave and pushed yourself outside your comfort zone.
Imagine if every day your partner arrived home they shared something positive. And visa versa. Instead of fearing a storm arriving at 5:30pm every weekday, you knew a treat was coming. Imagine your roommate walking in sharing what they appreciate about you. Imagine your friends leading with uplifting news events.
Of course you do not need to be Captain Positive Pants all the time and outlaw venting. Sharing our problems can be very therapeutic and help us work through them. However, how you start a conversation often primes what is to follow. Do not consistently poison the conversational well by sharing a laundry list of all the things terrible in your day, right away. At least buy me a drink first :).
For the next week, I challenge you to tell your partner, roommate, or friend one positive thing, no matter how small, that happened to you during the day when you first see them. As a bonus, make it something you appreciate about them.
One of the greatest gifts you can give those close to you, that costs zero dollars, is appreciation.
How do you want to show up? Think about this next time you place your hand on the door handle before walking in the door. What experience do you want to create?
The little things really do add up to the big things.
Want to make sharing the awesome things that happen during your day a daily practice?
Consider doing The Five Minute Journal together with your partner. Start and end every day focusing on the good and create powerful conversations that deepen your love. Afterall, couples who journal together, stay together :)