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  • Writer's pictureRachel Drapper

🏠⏳ #16 | The Power of Appreciation

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

TL;DR Executive Summary

  • We are nearly finished with YC’s Startup School

  • We have a new working space at the Royal Society of Arts

  • New research from Gordon et al. (2022) shows that feeling appreciated by one’s partner may help maintain relationship satisfaction over time, despite when partners feel they contribute more labour, and even when these contributions are perceived as unequal and unfair


📊 Statistic of the month

‘Household chores’ is the fourth top topic American couples argue about, behind ‘tone of voice / attitude’, ‘money’ and ‘communication styles’ Source: YouGov 2022, via reddit


📢 Updates

  • We are excited to have nearly completed YC’s Startup School. Highlights include the expert workshops such as How to Plan an MVP, How to Talk to Users & How to Launch (again and again). We are looking forward to participating in the final showcase event next week, where we will present Fairshare’s progress to fellow founders

  • Fairshare has a new office! I am excited to have been accepted as a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and going forward plan to spend several days a week at their working space in London. If you are nearby, please do not be a stranger

  • Last month we conducted 18 customer interviews


🔎 Learnings from the month

  • If we have learnt anything in the past year since founding Fairshare, it is that no two couples are the same when it comes to chores. There are similarities for sure (e.g., most couples aspire to share chores 50:50), but how this plays out in reality (share, division, and preferences) looks very different from home to home

  • We are grateful for a recent GNI newsletter (that several Fairshare supporters kindly sent in) that summarises various approaches their readers take to sharing chores. Key themes they identified:

--> 50/50 doesn’t work for everyone

--> Split the beginning and end of a task

--> …or don’t! “Own” tasks and don’t micromanage them

--> Communicate, communicate, communicate

--> Divide by most-hated or most-enjoyed tasks

--> Try the “Fair Play” system

--> Keep a chore chart, spreadsheet, or checklist

--> Split tasks by morning and evening

--> Make use of apps and notes

--> Competitive? Turn chores into a game

  • We would like to add another element to the above: appreciation! Thank you to another Fairshare follower who alerted us to a new research paper by Gordon et al. (2022) which involves 2,000+ participants from the US and Canada and looks into the role of appreciation and the division of chores among romantic partners during the pandemic. The paper confirmed some existing research findings, namely:

    • “The quality and stability of romantic relationships are among the strongest predictors of overall health and well-being” (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010; Kansky, 2018; van Eldik et al., 2020)

    • “Feeling appreciated…helps couples maintain high-quality relationships” (e.g., Algoe, 2012; Gordon et al., 2012; ter Kuile et al., 2017)

    • “Unequal and unfair division of household labor [is] a key factor that leads to relationship distress and demise” (e.g., Adams, 1965; Qian & Sayer, 2016; Shockley & Shen, 2016; Thielemans et al., 2021; Van Yperen & Buunk, 1990)

    • Indeed, they found doing more of the household labor was associated with lower relationship satisfaction (in the moment and over time) and lower satisfaction with the division of labor itself (Gordon et al. 2022).

  • This all checks out so far. What they found next, when they took feelings of appreciation into account, was especially intriguing…

    • People who felt more appreciated tended to be equally satisfied in their relationships regardless of their perceived household division of labor whereas those who felt less appreciated were significantly less satisfied when they reported contributing more” i.e., when people felt appreciated by their partners, the aforementioned negative effects of an unequal division of labour disappeared

    • They referred to this as a 'buffering effect' of appreciation

    • Moreover, this effect strengthened over time: “when people reported doing more labor, those who felt less appreciated became less satisfied over time, whereas those who felt more appreciated maintained their levels of satisfaction”

    • Their findings generalised across gender (i.e., the beneficial effects of feeling appreciated were consistent for both women and men), employment status, age, socioeconomic status, and relationship length

  • So what?

  • For Fairshare, this paper offers promising evidence that we are on the right track with exploring the fourth pillar of our product: Perceive, Plan, Practice & Praise. Indeed we have heard many times over that praise and appreciation, as well as the actual division of labour, are hugely important when it comes to how equitable people feel their relationship and homes are

  • More broadly, the paper raises an interesting question, and flags a potential cost of appreciation if it disincentivises equality: “Is feeling satisfied despite an unequal and unfair division of labor necessarily a good thing?” We shall not attempt to answer this question here(!), but will continue to ponder its implications for how we build out Fairshare


📖 Content we are consuming


🥅 Next month's goals

  1. Complete development of our measuring app

  2. Receive feedback on the app from min. 10 users

  3. Develop and test another two cooking-sharing intervention ideas


🔗 Media links MIT Technology Review

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