re•cip•ro•cal [ri-cip-ruh-kuhl]

  1. given or felt by each toward the other; mutual:  reciprocal respect.
  2. given, performed, felt, etc., in return:  reciprocal aid
  3. corresponding; matching; complimentary; equivalent:  reciprocal priviledges at other health clubs.
  4. Grammar.  (of a pronoun or verb) expressing mutual relationship or action:  "Each other" and "one another" are reciprocal pronouns.
  5. inversely related or proportional; opposite.
  6. Mathematics.  noting expressions, relations, etc., involving reciprocals:  a reciprocal function.
  7. Navigation. bearing in a direction 180° to a given direction; back.
  8. something that is reciprocal to something else; equivalent; counterpart; complement.
  9. Also called multiplicative inverse. Mathematics. the ratio of unity to a given quantity or expression; that by which the given quantity or expression is multiplied to produce unity: The reciprocal of x is 1/ x.

Way back in the day, in my college years when I was completing my Gen Ed requirements I had to take a Sociology class. 

Don't tell my instructor, but there's actually only one thing that I took away from that class and it was one little section early on in the course about types of relationships between people.

The section of this discussion that stuck with me the most was on reciprocal relationships.

In this section we learned what--to me--seemed something so common sensical that some of the questions and conversation it generated in class baffled me.

The notion was that most frequently the relaionships (business relationships, professional relationships, personal relationships and even family relationships) that were successful were the relationships in which both sides contributed to the relationship equally.  Granted, there may be times when it's 60/40 or even 90/10, but overall, the relationship was balanced.  It wasn't all give on one side and all take on the other side.

Non-reciprocal relationships, however, had a significantly lower success rate.  Business or professional examples of this might be the Big Banking institutions that are now nickle and diming their customers to death with all these new fees.  They're increasing what they require of their customers but not compensating with what they give to their customers.

Personal examples of this might be the roommate who eats everything in the fridge and never contributes anything toward replacing your items that they ate; the co-worker who's always willing to push their work off on you when they're too busy, but never willing to help lighten your load when you're piled up with work; or the relative who always asks you to give up your time for them, but is just simply too busy to ever give up their time for you.

The list can go on and on because we all know examples of those types of relationships.  And in class that week, we all had a great time sharing those stories with one another.

But in the end, we all agreed on one thing.  Those types of relationshps didn't work.  We either resented or termintated those relationships in the end.  They simply weren't worth what was required to maintain them.  And most of the time they were non-reciprocal relationships to begin with because the other party didn't value us enough to put in the effort so there typically wasn't much lost when you walked away from people who didn't really care about you to begin with.

Some of the worst relationships are non-reciprocal relationships.  We see examples of this every day:  abusive relationships that continue out of dependency on the abuser; children suffer because they crave the attention and love of a parent that walked away from them and their family and refuse emotional or financial support.

Don't give your money to a business who doesn't value it.

Don't give your time to a friend who doesn't appreciate it.

Don't give your heart to a love who isn't honorable with it.

We have enough things in life that hurt us.  Our realtionships shouldn't be one of them. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that. That quote in particular, a nice thought to live by.