The ARC triangle is a concept I learnt from Arash Dibazar. It was discovered by L Ronn Hubbard in the 1950s.
This tool can greatly improve your interpersonal relationships.
There are 3 parts to it Affinity, Communication and Reality. Through these elements we can understand each other more.
Affinity means the degree of liking or affection or lack of it.
Reality or that which appears to be. Reality is how much you are in agreement with another person. What you agree to be real.
The third corner of the triangle is communication, defined as the interchange of ideas or objects between two people. In human relationships, this corner is more important than the other two corners of the triangle.
If you give the example of trying to talk to an angry man. You see that without a degree of liking or some basis of agreement no communication can occur. Without communication and some basis of emotional response there can be no reality. Without some basis for agreement and communication, there can be no affinity.
Purdue University did a study to determine why some of their graduates succeeded and others did not. The average salary of the students with the highest grades was only slightly higher than the average salary of all the graduates. The salaries of the most popular students was much higher than the average of all students.
This is based on ARC when you have good ARC with people they understand you, believe you, trust you and feel good about you. It’s so powerful that the lack of ARC results in upsets, distrust, hatred, attacks and wars.
You have a high ARC with someone if you like the person (Affinity) can talk about many subjects ( Communication) and agree on many subjects (Reality).
I’m sure you know someone you have low ARC with. You cannot agree on things (Reality) you do not like that person very much ( Affinity) and you do not communicate.
Increasing your ARC with anyone
If any point of a triangle rises then the other 2 points also rise.
An example is someone that you want to get to know you decide to increase communication. You can begin by asking open-ended questions to elicit information from them. This is where the concept of listening goes a long way.
Another example could be increasing your reality with someone. You’re communicating with someone but they show disinterest, low eye contact and you can see there isn’t much affinity. You understand that you haven’t built any reality with them so you find out what you can agree on. You may find out you support the same football club, share similar passions or you both have kids. From here you can really begin to understand each other and a relationship is built.
An example of increasing affinity with someone is thinking of all the things you like about that person or giving them a light touch somewhere. Human beings respond to touch really well and when meeting people a light touch on the arm or the shoulder can make a big difference in the warmness of your communication.
There is a nuance to this in social interactions. Breaking rapport is also useful as no two human beings agree on absolutely everything. If you do this you are breaking peoples realities as you are trying to make them like you. This is why teasing and disagreeing at times actually create more reality and affinity. You’ll find that your best relationships include both.
Breaks in the triangle
“The ARC break will vanish magically when the source is found.” — L. Ron Hubbard
When you are upset with someone or if someone doesn’t like you there is an ARC break. Arguments and conflicts include an ARC break.
To repair an issue with someone you have to find out where the break happened.
DId you suddenly dislike them? (Affinity)
Did you have a disagreement? (Reality)
Is there a communication problem? ( Communication)
An example could be that you had an argument with someone and that caused you to want to have less communication with them. A simple apology from either side would allow that reality break to be fixed which will harmonise the relationship.
Another example is you speak to an old friend of yours you can tell by the way he’s speaking something is off. You use the ARC triangle to find out why that could be. You didn’t suddenly dislike each other and there was no argument. You finally realise that you forgot to call him/her back last week. You acknowledge that and tell them your sorry. This instantly repairs the triangle and your back to joking around and connecting again.
Sometimes the break can be with affinity, for example, someone that you are in a relationship with booked you tickets to your favourite basketball game but you didn’t acknowledge it as you were stressed from work. You understand how it wasn’t right to take it out on them so you could buy them a card, gift or cook them dinner to make amends.
ARC for yourself
The most powerful relationship of all is the one with yourself and the ARC triangle can even be applied here.
“In order to have an understanding of yourself, you must have good ARC with yourself.”
Affinity – Do you like yourself? Are you proud of yourself? Do you believe you’re a good person?
Reality – Do you agree with you? Are you honest with yourself? Are you in agreement with how you do things?
Communication – Are you facing reality by communicating with yourself? Do you spend time alone to sort out things you’re going through / goals etc?
An example of this is when you set up your day in a certain way with goals to achieve. You continually procrastinate or get distracted. This causes disagreement with what you are doing (reality) which therefore lessens how much you like yourself (affinity). Without journalling and understanding why this is happening (communication), you get into a downward spiral as you’ve chosen to become unconscious to what is happening so it cannot change.
When it is low you know there must be a break in the triangle and that helps to find out how to change that.
A high ARC with yourself creates self-confidence and a deep level of self-respect. Failure and rejection won’t affect you so much allowing you to overcome your challenges better and realise your goals so you have a happier more meaningful life. You will also become your own best friend so you are never lonely.