Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Praise, Criticism, and Dialogue

When my children were little and I was trying to figure out how to be a parent, I read someplace that you need to have five positive interactions with your child for each negative one to maintain a good relationship. I don't know whether that is fact or myth; a quick Google search suggests that the origin of the idea was in a study about how married couples argue, the idea being that in a good marriage, positive things continue to happen even amidst disagreement. It's wise to be wary about applying a number discovered in a very specific context more generally, but there's a compelling idea here: positive interactions build us up, and negative ones break us down, regardless of whether we're talking about a spouse, a child, or, say, the PostgreSQL community. Too many negative interactions and we just feel like giving up.