By Katya Juliet
We know every relationship requires positive energy and mutual efforts in order to stay healthy. But what if, regardless of all your effort and energy, your relationships at home or work were still being negatively impacted just because your interior decorating skills? No, I’m not suggesting you go out and completely remodel your home. But do consider how your environment is laid out and what affects could be at play.
Within the realm of interpersonal relationships and communication, there is something called Microenvironmental Features, which generally states that the environment around you has specific subtle effects on levels of personal attraction and the liking of others. Everything from the color of the walls and lighting to the materials and facing-direction of your furniture can cause your relationship to further unite or even polarize.
Communication research within the book Close Encounters (3rd edition, Guerrero, Anderson and Afifi) states “Environments that encourage interaction by providing a cozy atmosphere can promote attraction. Environments that put people face-to-face in close proximity can also enhance attraction. And the emotions people experience due to the environment can also be related to attraction.”
Part of what contributes to this is something called The Reinforcement Affect Model. This is where the environment itself is producing the subtle positive emotions that transfer to those interacting within that environment. Specifically, “people unconsciously associate the feelings they experience in a particular environment with the individuals who are a part of that environment.” (Close Encounters, p.71)
Consider the world of dating. If you feel extremely uncomfortable in your environment, would you be more or less likely to open up and share personal information or even a first kiss? Most likely, not. Comfort, emotions and levels of attractiveness come hand in hand. So, if you entered an environment on a first or second date that felt cozy, inviting and even exciting, the likeliness of a third, fourth or fifth date just got a lot higher.
Now consider this same concept but in your home with your partner or even at work with your coworkers. Both of these environments are ones in which we become so used to, the mere routine of it all can give the impression it is not having any effect on your life or relationships at all. But research now indicates that all those microenvironmental features, when done correctly, can substantially help the feelings of attraction and liking and therefore, contribute to a happier and more fulfilling relationship.
So, what should you do with this information? Take a look around. Notice the emotions and feelings you have while inside your home or office. Are they positive, negative or neutral? Could they be enhanced?
Next, consider the state of your relationships with those around you. When it comes to your shared environment:
- Is your living environment set up so that you and your partner constantly face opposite directions and are located at great distances apart? Or is eye contact and even the “accidental” brushing against one another when passing in the hall happening relatively frequently?
- Does your company sit in an isolated area or in a central location?
- Do you keep your curtains and windows open or closed?
- Are the doors to different rooms constantly closed? Are there certain rooms in your home kept private, away from your partner?
The list could go on and on. The point is, reflect. Pay attention. Pinpoint your emotions as you move from room to room. See if the environment in which you spend most of your time is helping or hindering the development of your relationships. It is true that people feel fonder to those who they find attractive. So, if just a few small tweaks of your living room can help the feelings of positivity and attractiveness flow… I say, go for it.
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For additional support or consulting services, feel free to contact Katya Juliet through her business website, Buzzword-Consulting. Buzzword Consulting offers affordable digital marketing services, communication consulting, copywriting, PR & Social Media Management for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs & non-profit Organizations.
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EXTRA: Not related to the interpersonal communication element directly, but I have also heard great things about Color Therapy, in where the colors themselves are doing the communication. Incorporating this concept as well could help as you consider changing a few things around within your home or office environment. Here is an intro link to this form another blog titled Art Therapy, as well as a few images just in case you find this topic interesting.)