Happiness shared is happiness multiplied, they say. When something good happens to us, it feels great to share it with people around us. When we get a promotion, or we get admitted to a graduate programme we have been dreaming of, we can’t wait to let others know!
Did you know that there is even a scientific term for it? Researchers call it “capitalisation” which refers to the process through which people share the good news with a significant other such as a family member, a friend or a partner. If the recipient responds actively to capitalisation (i.e., showing enthusiastic, joyful excitement for another’s success), it facilitates maximising benefits.
Capitalisation is especially relevant in romantic relationships. There is robust evidence that comes from psychology literature indicating the benefits of capitalisation for romantic relationships. Research, for example, shows that partner’s active-constructive responses to capitalisation positively predicted one’s relationship satisfaction over time since the partner sharing good news may feel understood and that her/his feelings are valued. Moreover, as capitalisation responses increase, individual and relational well-being also seem to increase in time among stable couples.
Although we are aware of the fact that capitalisation can make our lives better, one may find it hard to capitalise on positive events. Situations such as social anxiety may limit access to benefits of the capitalisation process as the ability to share and respond to the good news of romantic partners is negatively affected. Individuals who are in romantic relationships with socially anxious partners were more likely to terminate their relationship and report a decline in relationship quality six months later due to inadequate capitalisation support, according to a study.
Given the benefits of capitalisation for our individual wellbeing as well as for our relationships, you might want to observe yourself and people around you to see whether and how they capitalise. For example, I know that as soon as I publish a blog post, I share it with my beloved ones and it cheers me even more. Capitalisation is such a part of my life that I feel my success doesn’t bring happiness when there is nobody around to share it with. If you find yourself doing it not too often, you might want to give it a try to see how it affects you and your relations with others.
For Further Reading:
Donato, S., Pagani, A., Parise, M., Bertoni, A., & Iafrate, R. (2014). The Capitalization Process
in Stable Couple Relationships: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Benefits. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 140, 207-211.
Kashdan, T. B., Ferssizidis, P., Farmer, A. S., Adams, L. M., & Mcknight, P. E. (2013). Failure
to capitalize on sharing good news with romantic partners: Exploring positivity deficits of socially anxious people with self-reports, partner-reports, and behavioral observations. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51(10), 656-668.