Don’t worry about being nice to your partner when times get tough. Just don’t be a total jerk, scientists say.
New research from Baylor University finds that refraining from being a complete jerk toward your significant other is more important than actually being nice to them during stressful times.
In a bar-lowering survey of 325 couples and 154 partnered individuals, study authors discovered that negative behaviors, such as blaming your partner, “tend to trigger more intense and immediate responses” than, say, showing support when the going gets rough.
“When people face stressful life events, they are especially sensitive to negative behavior, such as when a partner seems to be argumentative, overly emotional, withdrawn or fails to do something that was expected,” study author and psychology professor Keith Sanford, Ph.D., says in a press release.
“In contrast, they’re less sensitive to positive behavior, such as giving each other comfort.”
Go forth and do the bare minimum.