from the Spiritual Zen

November 7, 2009


Spiritual Zen

Enhance Relationships With the 90 Second Rule

Posted: 05 Nov 2009 10:13 AM PST

Jess and Greg and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

You’ve been at the office all day, as soon as you get home and walk in the door, you’re immediately hit with a dozen questions by a loved one. How do you react? What’s your initial feeling inside? If you’re like me, you can sometimes feel a little… annoyed. Although I don’t really like that word—annoyed—because it seems a little self-righteous. Sort of like the word tolerance—like I am so much better,  that it’s my “duty” to tolerate people. In my opinion, if I’m tolerating something, I’m coming from a place of being better than and not equal to. So I need to watch that. If I’m truly in a serene and place of inner-peace, nothing can throw me off. Although when a deer almost ran across the road in front of me on the way home from the gym the other night, that pretty much threw me off.

Part of the St. Francis Prayer is, “Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted – to understand, than to be understood – to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.” That means try to understand that maybe the person is excited to see you, has been thinking about these things all day and wants your opinion—or just to listen. Likewise, if you’re the one asking all the questions, try understanding that your loved may like to slowly unwind when they get home. But by all means, PAY ATTENTION TO ONE ANOTHER! Especially in the first 90 seconds.

You may have heard about Jim Fannin’s project, the 90 Second Rule:

“If you’ve been away from someone you care about or love for at least two hours, the first 90-seconds that you see them has more impact on the relationship than spending hours with them later.”

I first learned about this from Alex Shalman’s blog post, 90 Second Rule of Relationships. Alex looks at the 90 Second rule from more of a scientific approach, saying “This is my take on it: At ‘first’ our brain experiences a sense of novelty (a new experience), at which point we’re much more mentally stimulated, excited, and aware. After this, our brain gets used to the other person being there, and they’ve already had an opportunity to set an impression on us and set the tone to go in a certain direction.”

I like to keep things simple. If it works, I use it. So here’s the video (the message is great, the acting and direction, well… ):

The 90 Second Rule is a great way to improve your relationships, try it. I can tell you it takes practice! I forget about it a lot, but I can say that when I feel that disturbance in the force when I first see someone after being away for a long time, I think of the 90 Second Rule and try go pay better attention. I try to be more understanding than understood.

What do you do in the first 90 Seconds to make someone feel special?

photo credit: jessamyn

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