Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 69–83 | Cite as

When friends exchange negative feedback

  • Stacey R. Finkelstein
  • Ayelet Fishbach
  • Yanping Tu
Original Paper


In four studies, we document an increase in the amount of negative feedback friends and colleagues exchange as their relationship deepens. We find that both actual and perceived relationship depth increase the amount of negative feedback people seek from and provide to each other, as well as their tendency to invest in a focal (relationship or performance) goal in response to negative feedback. The amount of positive feedback on goal pursuit, by contrast, remains stable as the relationship deepens. We attribute the increase in negative feedback to the different meaning of such feedback for people in deep versus shallow relationships: only in the context of deep relationships does negative feedback signal insufficient resource investment in the focal goal, and hence close friends and colleagues seek, provide, and respond to negative feedback.


Negative feedback Relationship depth Goals Motivation 



This study was partially funded from the Templeton Foundation (New Paths to Purpose Grant).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marketing, Zicklin School of BusinessBaruch CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Booth School of BusinessUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Marketing, Warrington College of Business AdministrationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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