When friends exchange negative feedback
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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.
KeywordsNegative 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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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