Don’t Let Your Credit Run Out


How much are your major emotional bank accounts worth?

An aunt told me a story over the weekend. A mutual relative resident in the US had a female in-law staying with her. Unfortunately she found the lady’s character quite trying, and was bothered about her own daughters picking up her traits. So she turned In-law out.

She promptly called home to tell In-law’s father, asking him to please forgive her for sending his daughter packing.

His reply? He said he knew how the young lady could be, how she’d been for a long time. And frankly, he was not going to let her stubbornness come between them, especially when he still had other children he could still send over. In-law, he assured our relative, was on her own.

The whole thing got me thinking about emotional bank accounts, a concept I first encountered in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It basically views each relationship we have as an account, and every interaction as a transaction, in which we’re either making a deposit or withdrawal.

In this case, you could say In-law was staying on her uncle’s account, to begin with. Which means his response to her indiscreet withdrawals (which were about to threaten his balance) was tantamount to saying any further transactions In-law made were to be considered as strictly on her own account.

Not a bad deal, I think. Too many withdrawals lead to bounced cheques.

But what do you think? Would you have handled it differently?

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Let Your Credit Run Out

  1. That was wise. Okay? But it means the relationship was not between the “sentout” and the “sender” What if the relationship was?

    Handled it differently? Not sure!

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  2. I think I see what you mean, but I don’t think there’d be much difference even If the relationship was between the one sending away and the one being sent out. The minute we feel someone has exhausted their credit with us, we are likely to send them out — if not of our homes, of our hearts. And it’s usually not even a consciously thought-out decision.

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