Keeping Score

Two of my children  have chosen careers in the sports industry.  One is responsible for the sporting events at Madison Square Garden and the other is responsible for marketing for the NY Red Bulls soccer team.  Attending live sporting events  is one of my favorite things to do.   Win or lose,  I remain a loyal Knicks, Rangers, and Red Bulls fan.  In a close game, I hold my breath until I hear the  sound of the buzzer ending the game and see the  final score on the Jumbotron.
In sports, keeping score matters.  Millions of fans watch intensely as the football leaves the toe of the kicker and passes through the goal posts, the basketball approaches the rim at the buzzer, and the goalie blocks the puck before it passes into the goal.  Frequently during a game, excited fans glance up at the  electronic score board to validate the score they have already calculated  in their heads.   Loyal fans  fill arena seats, purchase franchise merchandise, and even paint their bodies and faces in allegiance to their team.   Ardent fans know how many games their team has won and lost during the season–in sports, it is all about keeping score.
 Recently,  while driving home from a tennis match smarting  over my 6-1, 6-1   win,  I passed  a sign that read:

To win at relationships, don’t keep score.”

Wow, that made sense to me.  When personal  relationships  turn south, sometimes it is because we are keeping score–counting what we do for another and contrasting that with what little is done for us in return.  When we start to keep score in a relationship, the relationship is doomed.  Just as we want to win in an athletic event, we want to “win” in our relationships.  Well, as the sign indicated, “to  win at relationships,  don’t keep score.” 

Many women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels enjoy competing athletically and keeping score, but when it comes to their relationships, they and their spouse or partner know enough to not to keep score.  They each enjoy giving and being emotionally available to the other.  They do not keep score of who does what.  They are not interested in competing or “winning” , they are just interested in being in and contributing to the relationship.

Generally, I do not feel I keep score of who does what in my relationships with my girl friends or man with whom I may be romantically involved.  I am a “giver” by nature and enjoy giving.  However, I “keep score” in a different way that can be problematic.  I tend to  be excited about someone new in my life and initially “score” the person  high even though I am aware of significant behavioral or value differences between us…differences that I know over time will make our relationship difficult to sustain.   As you would expect, at some point, the differences become more  prominent,  widening the gap between us, and straining the relationship.

I would like to get better at assessing the weight of the  differences earlier in the game and perhaps decide not to enter into the  relationship at all, or be more effective at communicating the differences and work to establish agreement between us  so we can positively impact each others life.

And what about you?  Give some thought to the relationships you are in…are you keeping score?

One response to “Keeping Score

  1. The trick or plan is to trust your instincts. Even at the very beginning of a possible relationship. If it FEELS wrong, dont look for ways to make it right. Then you do not have to worry about breaking away,

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