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Four Ideas to Improve Your Relationships

Gregg Schoenberg — The Relationship Matrix

Greg is a very interesting guy with a background in banking and financial corporations. I picked up on his Relationship Matrix in this podcast. Highly recommend you give it a listen.

His view on relationships:

  • Life gets in the way and we let people slip through the cracks; we end up not keeping in touch with most people just through the natural attrition of life.
  • The most important thing in everyone’s life always seems to be relationships yet most people don’t have a system to keep those relationships in place.
  • Relationships don’t just happen, you need to invest time and effort in building them. It requires creating a discipline around connecting with people.

So he created a spreadsheet he calls The Relationship Matrix with 3 categories 👇

A — people I want to speak with or connect with at least once a week

B — people I want to get in touch with at least every quarter

C — people I want to touch base with at least twice a year

If you’re only speaking with someone once a year consider moving them into one of the 3 categories or removing them from your life.

A few top-down rules Greg sticks to 👇

  • You get introduced to new people by investing in old relationships. Send an article, shoot an email or a funny meme you find online. When they’re asked for a referral — you’re on top of their mind.
  • It’s not about expecting a return from them but about enriching the perspective of the people you care about.
  • About 20% of the list are As.
  • Etiquette is everything — a lot of alpha to be found in adhering to proper etiquette.
  • Respect the person — engage the same way the person engages with you. If someone calls and you can’t pick up — don’t send a text back with ‘whasup’ but call them back.

Willard F. Harley Jr. — Love Bank Account Theory

This idea was laid out in his book His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, but I thought it could be adapted to all relationships.

The Love Bank analogy describes that everyone you know has a bank account with you that keeps track of how they treat you. When you feel good after interacting with someone, they put ‘deposits’ into your Love Bank. When you have negative experiences associated with that person it ‘withdraws’ from your Love Bank.

So if someone makes more withdrawals than deposits, your account with them will be zero. That creates resentment, frustration and negative emotions, therefore relationship won’t feel good any more.

Good experiences = deposit love units, leading us to like, or love, a person.
Bad experiences = withdrawal of love units, leading us to dislike, or even hate, a person.

Some tips for creating deposits 👇

  • Make sure to add deposits in your friend’s/partner’s favourite currency, not yours.
  • Don’t take it for granted; invest time in building and maintaining the relationship.
  • Evaluate reciprocity: Is it a one-way street? Sometimes one person deposits and the other keeps withdrawing. End those friendships.

George Mack — Treadmill Friends vs. Sofa Friends

George evaluates friendships by looking at energy transference.

1. Treadmill friends — After hanging out with them, you have so much energy you want to run on a treadmill to calm down.

2. Sofa friends — After hanging out with them, you are so drained that you want to lie down on a sofa to recover.

In his words: “[Energy Transference] a concept that is difficult to describe in words — but everyone has felt it. You feel like you’ve done a double espresso after speaking to them. Steve Jobs’ energy transference was so strong they called it a “Reality Distortion Field.”“

People don’t remember what you say — they remember how you made them feel.

  • There’s nothing mystical about energy transference but a mix of charisma, tonality, belief, facial expressions, wisdom, and worldview that blend together. Our subconscious brain understands it.
  • Energy transference can’t be taught but hanging out around treadmill friends transfers some of that energy to you. The same is true for sofa friends though.


I’m highly susceptible and attuned to people around me. If I find myself around someone who complains and whines, complaining and whining become part of my inner narrative. If somebody is into health and fitness, I feel inspired to invest in my health and fitness.

So I began creating rules for my relationships (which I’m writing down for the first time) 👇

Relationship rules I adhere to 👇

  1. Do I enjoy spending time with that person?

Enjoyment is subjective and not every single interaction will be enjoyable but the 80/20 rule applies here. If I have a 60/40 enjoyability/dislike ratio with a friend, I consider what other factors play a role (old friend or mutual benefit).

2. A rule for close friends - When something good/bad happens in my life do I want to share it with them first?

If not, they fall into the B category friends (as per Gregg’s Matrix).

3. Do we have converging interests?

I value health and am interested in fitness so someone who spends their spare time partying most likely won’t converge with my interests. Similarly, someone who’s into mountain climbing won’t have fun with me.

4. I mostly operate from emotion and I don’t have illusions of being a rational agent. Therefore my feelings about and around that person play a big part in my decision.

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