{Old School Wisdom} Why You Might Want to Stop Keeping Score

An athletic, highly competitive friend of mine was having trouble with her new mother-in-law. Their conflicts usually resulted in hurt feelings on my friend’s side, which she was prone to nursing long after the encounter.

The young woman was surprised one day when her father-in-law pulled her aside to talk.

The man confessed that he personally knew just how challenging his wife could be to deal with–and that he certainly understood the the bride’s frustration.

He then told his daughter-in-law that the key to happiness may lie in learning how not to keep score.

From that day forward, the new bride did her best to take her father-in-law’s advice to heart in dealing with all her family members. She did it not to “give in” to the mother-in-law but rather to pursue her own “happy ever after.”

I always thought that was a great story. Would love to hear what you think here or over on Facebook.


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  1. Love it, I as well have a huge family that I married into and that is some great advice… I have to remind myself sometimes! 🙂

    • A friend pointed out on Facebook that “keeping score” can also mean paying too much attention to your accomplishments. It was an interesting twist on the words–and also true.

  2. YES. As I get older, it gets easier and easier to quit keeping score. And I get happier. Win-win. As someone with a mother who did nothing but keep score – and she died fairly young of stomach cancer; is that any real surprise? – it was very counterintuitive to do, but realized in my 20s that in some ways, my life depended on whether I could let things go or not.

    • That brain-gut connection seems to be so strong. It’s an issue in my family, too. And my “second mother” died from stomach cancer. I’m sorry that you lost your Mom, but I’m grateful that you–at an early age–had the wisdom to learn from her and grow.

      • (I’m actually not sorry at all. Does that make me a bad person? Eh, I don’t care.) I’m still working on that learning-growing thing!

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