Move closer: Reduce those relationship highs and lows

Relationships have their ups and downs, their highs and lows. For many it can be like an emotional seesaw; when I’m feeling high, you’re on a low, and when you’re riding high, I’m low. And sometimes, those highs and lows can get a bit scary.  If I fall off, what happens to me? What happens to you? What happens to us?

I’ve been thinking about the seesaw as a metaphor for relationship, whether at work, or more personal contexts.

We start in balance…

Image of relationship in balance

Then, up and down we go, me and you, when you are way up, I’m way down

image of relationship swing

So why not pay it forward? Move closer, to better listen to the other person, and what do you know when I do that I have to get bigger (laws of physics), for us to stay in balance. We are now, through my growth (through active listening, empathy), closer, more connected, and if we get out-of-sync, the fall isn’t as far (more physics).

image of listening in relationship

The other party sees I’ve moved closer, that I am listening to them if they reciprocate by moving closer to me (it could be an act as simple as commenting on a blog), we’ve gotten even more connected, they’ve grown too (to stay in balance), and if either of us fall off, the fall is minimized! So, we’re in balance again, stronger, and more attached.  We’ve moved and found a new we we (or maybe moved from me to we!)…

image of relationship re-balanced

What’s missing? Well the first thing that comes to mind is excitement? It’s exciting to be up so high. Sure we’ve gotten closer. Yet, we’ve taken some of the risk/reward out of our relationship. Or have we? Have we not introduced a new risk element through our increased connectedness?

What’s your take on moving closer? What balancing lens do you look at a relationship with?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to my blog. Thanks, Ben.

Photo credit: Jk_too


  1. Like your powerfully useful maxim you turn a vital topic into simple, visual, actionable lessons. I learn so much from you.

  2. Kare, that’s really generous of you. Appreciated. I guess I’m just trying to reciprocate a bit, as I get many insights and ideas from reading your blogs!

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