Keeping Score

This is the scoreboard in your head; not the one that you find on a basketball court.  Keeping score is when you start to remember that your partner hasn’t been as supportive as you have been; your friend hasn’t called you as often as you have called; your brother hasn’t invited you for parties as often as you have invited him; or your pal rarely picks up the check at lunch and you have been generous. Keeping score happens after you notice the inequities and get angry or resentful.  It gets triggered with certain people, usually over specific events.

 Keeping score feels awful and then you chastise yourself, “This isn’t like me. I’m a good/generous/kind/whatever person. Why am I keeping track?”

I think I know.  Keeping Score seems to progress through certain steps:

1. Things that were equal between you and your partner, friend, brother, or pal are now tilted, no longer equal and you are getting the short end.

2. You reflect back and see that you have been doing more of being supportive, calling, paying, driving, or anything else.

3. You become vigilant about noticing behaviors that you used to ignore. You want to see if your beliefs are true.

4. Bingo!!! You are keeping score and it feels lousy and angry.

Is there a cure?  Maybe. You can try gently saying something like, “Hey, I think it is your turn to…” or you can hang back and let them catch up, or you can mention that, “Things seem to be out of whack with regard to …. What do you think?” or you can confess and say, “I’m getting angry and don’t want to feel that way. Here is the way I see the problem and then I want to hear your view.” And, you can take a look at your own behaviors; maybe you offer too quickly and easily – that can lead to resentment and keeping score.

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