The American sociologist Willard Waller coined the term “Principle of Least Interest” to describe how differences of commitment in a relationship can have a major effect on the relationship’s dynamics.
In The Family: A Dynamic Interpretation (1938,) Waller noted that, in any relationship (romantic, familial, business, buyer-seller, and so on) where one partner is far more emotionally invested than the other, the less-involved partner has more power in the relationship. In a one-sided romantic relationship, for example, the partner who loves less has more power.
Moreover, appearing indifferent or uninterested is a common way by which people try to raise their own standing in a relationship. Recall the well-known “walk away” negotiation tactic—tell a used car salesman, “this just isn’t the deal that I’m looking for,” and he may call you the next day with a better offer.
An imbalanced relationship can only last for a while.
A nourishing relationship shouldn’t involve a constant struggle for power.
Idea for Impact: Watch out for relationships where the other seems to care less about the relationship than you do. Such relationships can drain you dry.
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