By now you must know not every human shares the same values, views, and expectations. Some take while others give, and others give for others to take. The concept of ‘givers’ and ‘takers’ has been around for some time; however, the concept of ‘reciprocating’ seems to be an unspoken, unknown, and many times ignored act.
So, what is reciprocity?
“to respond to (a gesture or action) by making a corresponding one”
In more simple terms, the act of reciprocating is much like the Golden Rule, where you treat others as you wish to be treated. Even though this is a much more known rule, it is also the most ignored. Now, if you think about it, every time you fail to follow any sort of rule, there is always an excuse behind it. The act of reciprocating is not an exception. When it comes to failing to reciprocate, the biggest excuse is ‘time’.
Time gets blamed for literally everything. It is in fact such a popular excuse that we have come up with phrases like “bad timing”, “timing is everything”, “it just wasn’t the right time”, etc. When in reality maybe we should stop and contemplate on the possibility that certain relationships/situations didn’t work because the other person was not getting the reciprocity they wanted in the relationship. People do not leave other people because of time, things don’t fail because of time, feelings don’t get hurt because of time. People leave, things fail, and feelings get hurt because they aren’t being fulfilled any longer. This is very sad because the beautiful thing about reciprocating is how simple it truly is. However, as simple as it is, it is incredibly misunderstood. The biggest misconception of reciprocity is thinking one has to give back in the biggest, most flamboyant way. When in fact calling, texting, or emailing is more than enough for many people.
Because the intention of making someone feel loved, appreciated, and valued will always beat the extravagant gift, dinner, or date. There is something so ineffable about receiving a call or text asking about your wellbeing, letting you know they are thinking of you, or just to remind you that you matter to them. This is why reciprocating is one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship — ANY type of relationship — aside from the values you cherish, let that be loyalty, love, understanding, etc. Nevertheless, when a relationship lacks reciprocity it is extremely likely to fail due to its side effects.
Some side effects of lacking reciprocity are anger, bitterness, confusion, and disappointment. Those emotions affect the way you see the other person and being able to have a clear, fair view of the situation. Many times, you go out of your way to do things for someone or say “yes” to favors you never get a “thank you” for. Then, you become resentful. From this point it is extremely easy to land on a victim mentality, which, you never want to do.
“Why won’t my friends value me?”
“Why won’t my friend make time for me?”
“I give and I give, but I never seem to get the same in return”
You start thinking you’re a victim, but if you admit to that, you are also admitting to not having a brain or values good enough to help you realize that you don’t have to do anything for anyone. Let me rephrase that; you don’thave to scratch the back of someone who won’tscratch yours. As simple as that. It is not about doing something just to get something in return, it is about doing things out of love, and getting love back from someone who really wants to give it to you. In healthy relationships this comes so naturally many have never had a conversation about the act of reciprocity before. And I don’t know about you, but that’s a dam good relationship to be in.
However, if you do have problems with your friends or close ones reciprocating, there are a couple of ways to fix this.
- The good ol’ heart to heart talk. Don’t expect them to be mind readers. You have to share how you feel. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to have this kind of conversation, that should give you a big insight on the present lack of trust.
- Set some boundaries. What are you willing to take and not take?
- Come up with better values. Values are:
“a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.”
What are your current friendship standards?
What kind of traits should your friends have?
What is the meaning of friendship to you?
- If your friend accepts and is receptive to what you just shared then the relationship will improve over time. However, if it doesn’t, take this as a sign that maybe this isn’t relationship material.
- Take your future relationships slower. Don’t rush it. Get to know the person before you start spending great quantities of energy and love on them.
All in all, re-define your values, have stricter boundaries, and start speaking your truth. And maybe, just maybe, you will finally find that relationship you have always longed-for.
One of my all-time favorite words:
“A love returned in full; an act of loving those who love you.”
Let’s live by that.