From Issue: 469 [Read full issue]

The Relationship Bank Account

Growing up, what pushed my mom's hot button was when I'd forget to take out the garbage. Too often, on Friday mornings, I'd hear Mom screaming: "Sean, get your rear end out of bed! I can hear the garbage truck coming and you forgot the garbage - again!" Eventually, she resorted to posting reminder notes on everything - the door, the fridge, the vanity, my pillow. "SEAN. DO THE GARBAGE OR DIE!"

I also learned ways to get on Mom's good side. Mom just loved it when I'd get good grades. She'd stick my report card up on the walls for all her friends to see and would brag, brag, brag. She also loved it when I'd help do the dishes or carry the groceries in. That's how I made up for all those missed garbage runs and kept our relationship in the plus column.

The amount of trust you have in a relationship is like a checking account at a bank. I call it the Relationship Bank Account or RBA. If you make lots of small deposits by being thoughtful, loyal, and other such things, you'll develop high trust, or high RBA. When it comes to your parents, how's your RBA? If $1,000 represents a strong relationship with your parents, how much have you deposited? Is there really $1,000 in the bank or is it more like $500? Perhaps you're down around $0 or are overdrawn at -$1,000. Whatever your situation, the formula is the same: You build a relationship a deposit at a time.

Here are five deposits that seem to work well with parents. Of course, with every deposit, there's an opposing withdrawal.

Deposits Withdrawals
Understand what's important to them Assume you know
Tell the truth Lie and cover up
Sense the need and do it Wait until you're told
Remember the little things Forget the little things
Open up Close yourself off
Use the most important words Avoid the most important words

"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, pp. 130-131