When it comes to human behavior, biases play a crucial part in shaping our interactions with others, especially when it comes to anchoring bias. Anchoring bias happens when we rely too heavily on the first piece of information we receive, letting it anchor us to a certain way of thinking or behaving, even if that information is incorrect or incomplete. This flaw in our thinking affects not just the quality of our own decision-making, but also the quality of our relationships.
For instance, your partner mentions that they’re too busy to help you with a particular task. If you anchor on this single piece of information, you may assume that they’re not willing to help, which may affect how you interact with them moving forward. However, if you take a step back, you may discover that they’re actually willing to help, but are just busy at the moment. By not letting the initial piece of information anchor you, you make better decisions for yourself and avoid creating unnecessary tension in your relationship.
How to Combat Anchoring Bias and Strengthen Relationships
One way to reduce anchoring bias is to pause and evaluate your thoughts and feelings before you take an action in your relationship. Another effective technique is active listening, which involves paying attention to what your partner is saying without interruption, seeking clarification if needed, and responding in a thoughtful way. This allows you to get a full picture of what your partner is saying and avoid anchoring yourself to a single piece of information.
You can also use visual aids or make lists to help you organize your thoughts more clearly. If you feel that you may be anchoring yourself to a particular way of thinking, try to identify the source of that anchoring and question the validity of that information. At the same time, it’s important to foster an environment of trust in your relationship by being open and honest with your partner. Building trust can help you feel more comfortable asking for additional information or clarification when you need it, which can help you overcome anchoring bias and strengthen your relationships.