Book a call
Book a call

Emotional Bank Account

By madhu on August 20, 2015
Want better relationships? Make more deposits than withdrawals.

Want better relationships? Make more deposits than withdrawals.



I’ve got a painful secret.

One I’ve never shared in public before.

But it’s something that’s affected me my whole life.

You see, I grew up in a family of smart alecks – people who were quick with a sarcastic comment or cutting remark.

My older brother was especially quick-witted. You could never catch him without something clever to say – and he always managed to get the last word.

Being the youngest child, I grew up trying to placate everyone, make everyone happy and keep the peace.

So without realizing it, and without meaning to, I became a smart aleck myself.

By my early 20’s, I had become like the other members of my family – quick to point out someone else’s flaws or say something smart-alecky.

Gee, do ya think I had a lot of friends?

(That would be, no.)

The fact is, no matter how self-aware we are or how many personal growth seminars we attend, personal relationships can often trip us up.

One hurtful comment can undo all the good from hours of patient listening.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talked about every relationship having an Emotional Bank Account.

Think of your real bank account.

When you put money in, that’s a deposit.

When you take money out, that’s a withdrawal.

If you have more withdrawals than deposits, that’s called an overdraft or being in the negative.

It’s the same with your relationships.

Take too many withdrawals and don’t make enough deposits, you will be in the negative with the people in your life.

In the financial realm, being in the negative means that you are in debt – that you don’t have the money you want to do the things you want to do.

In the relationship realm, being in the negative means that you have a negative Trust Level for that relationship.

Because you see, in relationships, everything comes down to that word: TRUST.

When I first read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I cried my eyes out – because I realized for the first time that I had been unknowingly practicing The 7 Habits of Highly IN-effective People.

Since that time, I committed myself to learning what it takes to have high-trust relationships – even if it meant changing most of the things I had been unconsciously doing up until that time.

What I learned, then, are 3 forgotten secrets of high-trust relationships:

  1. When trust is high, communication is easy and effortless.

Think about the people in your life whom you really trust.

Have you ever noticed how easy and effortless the communication is in those relationships?

For example, in a high-trust relationship, you can get away with small infractions or even misunderstandings.

But because you’ve made a lot of deposits in your Emotional Bank Account, those little things don’t derail or end the relationship.

  1. When trust is low, communication is difficult and takes forever.

Now think about the people with whom you have a low-trust relationship.

Notice how hard it is to communicate with them?

It’s not because the communication itself is hard.

You can use the exact same words you use with the people you have high-trust relationships with.

But with low-trust relationships, it can take forever to convince people of your good intentions.

(This is where most marketing is, by the way. Because we’ve all been taken by slick marketers and great salesmen who promised us the moon and the stars, but didn’t deliver on their promises.)

  1. If you want more high-trust relationships, make more deposits than withdrawals.

You know what deposits and withdrawals are when it comes to your money.

But what are deposits and withdrawals when it comes to relationships?

Deposits are things like:

  • Making a promise and keeping it
  • Being true to your word
  • Listening more than you talk
  • Not interrupting when the other person is speaking
  • Seeking to add value
  • Asking how you can help


What are withdrawals?

  • Lying
  • Deceiving
  • Talking more than you listen
  • Interrupting
  • Making the other person wrong
  • Not seeing the other person’s point of view


This is what Covey meant by the habit “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”

Since I began studying Covey’s work two decades ago, I have tried every day to follow his advice and make more deposits than withdrawals in my relationships (and in my finances too!).

Even though I don’t always do it right, there’s no question that the more I maximize deposits and minimize withdrawals, the more I’ve been able to create high-trust relationships in my personal as well as my business life.

Imagine how your life and business would change if you started to build more high-trust relationships?

Article written by madhu

Related Posts

crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram