In the latest book by the Gottman’s, Fight Right, they share decades of research identifying the key ingredients for nurturing happy, healthy relationships. In fact, their research is so precise that they can predict the future of a relationship with 90% accuracy! Here are our top three take-aways:

The Magic Ratio for Healthy Relationships

The transformative relationship science, uncovered by John & Julie Gottman, is referenced in our Friendology friendship skills curriculum and especially informs our favourite tool for teaching kids about the health of friendships, The Friend-o-Meter. In addition to helping kids tune into how they’re feeling in their friendships, our URSTRONG Schools teach them that a Green-Zone Friendship needs to have at least 5 positive (green) interactions for everyone 1 negative (red) interaction. This is particularly important when they are resolving conflict – what we refer to as, “Putting out Friendship Fires®.” Interestingly, outside of conflict, a healthy relationship flourishes when the ratio is more like 20:1!

Accepting & Honouring Differences

Within romantic relationships, the Gottman’s also identified that there are two types of conflicts: solvable and perpetual. Their research revealed that 69% of conflicts are perpetual – rifts that arise from differences in personality, values, and beliefs…conflicts that come from simply being different people. This reinforces the need to remind children of one of one of our core principles: Friendship Fact #2: Every friendship is different. Helping kids accept and honour differences is essential in building feel-good friendships. Our URSTRONG Schools teach students how to apply the WWW in Friendships strategy in Friendology, encouraging them to differentiate what they can and cannot control in their friendships.

Timing is Key in Putting out Friendship Fires®

Lastly, Fight Right also highlights the importance of the Talk-it-Out phase of our Friend-o-Cycle. Our URSTRONG Schools devote whole sessions  to helping students role-play and practise these constructive conversations. Step 1 reminds kids: Wait for the right time to talk, just the two of you. The Gottman’s have identified that the first 3 minutes of a conflict conversation will determine how it ends. This means, if their chat starts angry and explosive, there’s a 96% chance it will end that way too. Reminding kids to wait until they feel calm and ready to put out their Friendship Fires is so important to ensure they get that friendship back to the Green-Zone!

Written by: Dana Kerford
Founder & Friendship Expert, URSTRONG