John Gottman Quotes



Best 12 The Science of Trust Quotes by John Gottman

The Science of Trust Quotes

“Behind each person’s gridlocked position lies something deep and meaningful — something core to that person’s belief system, needs, history, or personality. It might be a strongly held value or perhaps a dream not yet lived.

These people can no more yield and compromise on this issue than they can give up 'the bones' of who they are and what they value about themselves. Compromise seems like selling themselves out, which is unthinkable.

But when a relationship achieves a certain level of safety and one partner clearly communicates that he or she wants to know about the underlying meaning of the other partner’s position, the other partner can finally open up and talk about his or her feelings, dreams, and needs.

Persuasion and problem solving are postposed. The goal is for each partner to understand the other’s dreams behind the position on the issue.”

The Science of Trust

“Converting a complaint into a positive need requires a mental transformation from what is wrong with one’s partner to what one’s partner can do that would work. It may be helpful here to review my belief that within every negative feeling there is a longing, a wish, and, because of that, there is a recipe for success.

It is the speaker’s job to discover that recipe. The speaker is really saying: Here’s what I feel, and here’s what I need from you. Or, in processing a negative event that has already happened, the speaker is saying: Here’s what I felt, and here’s what I needed from you.”

The Science of Trust

“Couples with a strong friendship have a lot more access to their humor, affection, and the positive energy that make it possible to have disagreements or to live with them in a much more constructive and creative way. It’s about earning and building up points.”

The Science of Trust

“Even in stable, happy relationships: When conflict begins with hostility, defensive sequences result.”

The Science of Trust

“Every couple, in their daily life together, messes up communication, and every relationship has a potential 'dark side'. It is a misconception that communication ought to be the norm in relationships. What may matter most is the ability of couples to repair things when they go wrong.”

The Science of Trust

“Most couples are willing to spend an hour a week talking about their relationship. I suggest that emotional attunement can take place (at a minimum) in that weekly 'state of the union' meeting.

That means that at least an hour a week is devoted to the relationship and the processing of negative emotions. Couples can count on this as a time to attune.

Later, after the skill of attunement is mastered, they can process negative emotions more quickly and efficiently as they occur. If the couple is willing, they take turns as speaker and listener.”

The Science of Trust

“Nash’s equilibrium, when it exists, is that point where neither player can do any better, or have no regrets, given what the opponent has done. Neither can have regrets because of how the other person played the game. It may not be the best option for either player, but it’s the best under the circumstances.

There isn’t always an equilibrium in a game, or a Nash equilibrium in a game theory matrix. However, if it exists, in many cases the Nash equilibrium is a far better outcome for both players than the von Neumann saddle point.”

The Science of Trust

“Once the negative event is fully processed, it isn’t remembered very well. Dan Wile said that a lot of conflict is about the conversation the couple never had but needed to have. Instead of having the conversation they needed to have, they had the fight. The conversation they still need to have becomes evident when they attune.”

The Science of Trust

“Psychologist Sydney Jourard studied how many times people touched one another when they were out to dinner in several cities. In Paris the average number of times people touched one another in an hour was 115 times. In Mexico City the number was 185 times in an hour. In London the average was zero. In Gainesville, Florida, the average was 2.”

The Science of Trust

“The most common research finding across labs is that the first negative attribution people start making when the relationship becomes less happy is 'my partner is selfish', a direct reflection of a decrease in the trust metric. They then start to see their partner’s momentary emotional distance and irritability as a sign of a lasting negative trait.

On the other hand, in happier relationships people make lasting positive trait attributions, like 'my partner is sweet', and tend to write off their partner’s momentary emotional distance and irritability as a temporary attribution, like “my partner is stressed.”

The Science of Trust

“The rules for attunement were that while the listener has responsibilities, so does the speaker. In turning toward, the speaker cannot begin with blaming or criticism. Instead, it is the responsibility of the speaker to state his or her feelings as neutrally as possible, and then convert any complaint about the partner into a positive need (i.e., something one does need, not what one does not need).

This requires a mental transformation from what is wrong with one’s partner to what one’s partner can do that would work. It is the speaker’s job to discover that recipe. The speaker is really saying: Here’s what I feel, and here’s what I need from you.

Or, in processing a negative event that has already happened, the speaker is saying: Here’s what I felt, and here’s what I needed from you.

How do couples find that positive need? How do they convert 'Here’s what’s wrong with you, and here’s what I want you to stop doing' into, 'Here’s what I feel (or felt) and here’s the positive thing I need (or needed) from you?'

I think that the answer is that there is a longing or a wish, and therefore a recipe, within every negative emotion. In general, in sadness something is missing. In anger there is a frustrated goal. In disappointment there is a hope, and expectation. In loneliness there is a desire for connection.

In a similar way, each negative emotion is a GPS for guiding us toward a longing, a wish, and a hope. The expression of the positive need eliminates the blame and the reproach.”

The Science of Trust

“What is the skill of attunement during conflict? The answer is given, in part, in Anatol Rapoport’s book 'Games, Fights, and Debates'. In that book Rapoport talks about increasing the likelihood that people will choose cooperation over self-interest in a debate. His suggestion is that we need to reduce threat — that people need to feel safe to cooperate and give up their self-interest.

Another very important principle in Rapoport’s theory is that to make conflict safe, we first need to postpone persuasion until each person can state the partner’s position to the partner’s satisfaction.”

The Science of Trust

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