The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill in today’s world. Communication is a dynamic process and how to communicate can positively and negatively affect your personal and work relationships.
Research by Gable and colleagues (2004) has shown that sharing personal positive events with others is associated with increased daily positive affect and well-being. This process has been referred to as capitalization (Langston, 1994). Capitalization can be understood as an interpersonal process involving two key elements: (1) the sharer disclosing information about a positive event to the responder; and (2) the reaction (or the perceived reaction) of the responder.
Importantly, the potential benefits of capitalizing on positive events are dependent on the reaction of the responder. There are four possible ways in which one can respond to the good events in others’ lives. They are: active-constructive, passive-constructive, active-destructive, passive- destructive.
Research shows that only the active–constructive response is beneficial to the responder and to the relationship between the sharer and responder. An active-constructive reaction involves responding to the positive disclosure with enthusiasm. For instance, when someone shares that he managed to get the raise in salary he had been working toward, an active-constructive response of the other person could be: “That is awesome! I know how hard you have been working on that.”
This type of response increases the savouring of positive feelings involved (Reis et al., 2010). The other three response styles are negatively related to well-being (Gable et al., 2004). In this exercise participants will experience how the four different response styles can influence their personal well-being.
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