The Give-Give-Take Relationship

There’s a side of me which is slightly emotional.  A side which places a lot of value on relationships with certain people who do not fall under the partner/family category.

So, what?  We all do.

True as that may be, I like to believe that some of us treat those relationships a little differently.  How?

We give a bit more.  Or at least we like to believe we do.  How?

Ha ha, don’t get me started.  Please start.

Alright then, here goes:

We are a lot more attuned to those people’s emotions and needs which allows us to be there for them without needing much of a hint.  We are almost at their beck and call because we want them to be happy – their happiness is our happiness.  We will go out of our way at times to please them.

Of course, it’s not all about just pleasing them but they certainly are priority.  We do enjoy their company as well.  It’s not exactly a one-sided relationship where we just serve them, so to speak.

Why do you think you give these certain people so much importance?

Self-reflecting, not quite like this though!

Self-reflecting, not quite like this though!

Initially I had no clue why I did; but, as time wore on and as I did some soul searching…

Really?  Soul searching?

Okay fine, as I indulged in some self-reflection and self-disc…

Don’t say ‘discovery’…

Fine, self-reflection!  Anyway, I guess a lot of it has to do with approval and acceptance.  Feeling this need for approval and acceptance, it’s not a conscious feeling but I think that’s behind it.  Where does that feeling come from?  I don’t know.  Maybe the poor bond with my immediate family makes me seek bonds elsewhere?  But that’s me, I don’t know if that’s the case with others who are like me when it comes to giving more to certain people.

So, what’s the problem with all this?

Ah, to the crux of the whole matter!  The problem is reciprocation and perhaps, just perhaps, under-appreciation…


Let me explain.   We feel we give a lot more than receive.  Sure, we hold certain people in high regard from a relationship point of view but it sucks big time if they don’t feel the same way about you.

What we believe

What we believe

Okay, let’s say they feel the same way about you, then there’s definitely a gap between our actions and theirs.  We just seem to be doing a lot more for them and they just never seem to know what’s up with us as much.  Effort.  That’s the word!  More effort on our part.

In fact, it’s all about reciprocation.  I’m fine with silent appreciation even, I believe reciprocation can be a result of appreciation.  However, it can be a bit of a slap in the face when it seems like you value someone a lot more than they value you.  You feel really, really, REALLY stupid.

A bit excessive with the feelings there, no?

I did say this is the emotional side of me.  I know it sounds petty but this bothers people like us.  I guess we’re more about the small things?  Or at least I am.  A lot of small things which add up to the make the whole.

Have you ever wondered why there isn’t any reciprocation?

Yes, I have.  I haven’t found a definitive answer.  However, one theory relates to the whole strength of a family bond observation I made earlier; so, the people who let me down back in the day seemed to be close to their family i.e. parents/siblings so perhaps they don’t need to find strong bonds elsewhere?  A simple friendship will suffice?

The second theory is that they might be a bit more self-centered than we are; making them incapable of ever giving as much as we do.  They take as if it’s a given because they have a sense of high self-worth or self-importance.  They prioritize themselves, which is fine; and, that sort of doesn’t allow those tendencies to develop…the tendencies that people like us have.

The third theory is simply that perhaps you really don’t matter to them as much.  Wouldn’t that be a bummer to find out? reciprocated-quotes-4 Ha!  Seriously though, maybe you’re not the good friend they want.  That’s also possible.  It’s not a nice thing to know but you can’t blame someone for not feeling the same way as you.

People tend to believe that every effort deserves an appreciation, no matter how misguided that effort may be.

So, how did you deal with this?

Well, it hurts and is disappointing of course.  However, I learned that I must not hold any expectations.  It’s a difficult thing to do – not hold any expectations – but once you practice it, like REALLY practice it, your life becomes a lot easier.

I actually don’t hold any expectations from anyone anymore.

You stopped giving as well?

Well, no, not entirely.  I now give without any expectation of reciprocation or appreciation.  Do I give as much?  Probably not.

If I take any of the three theories I stated above, either way, I’m just not needed in those people’s lives in that capacity.  Can I hold them in that capacity?  Sure.  I still do.  However, my actions have toned down.  My expectations are pretty much zero now so I stopped feeling let down.  It’s actually quite liberating.

In fact, you learn to be a lot more self-sufficient.

Self-sufficient how?

You don’t rely on others’ approval/acceptance anymore.  You learn to give more time to yourself and you do find things to do that can keep you occupied and happy, as cliched as it may sound.

I’ve actually probably become more generous and giving since holding no expectations albeit with less frequency.  I think it becomes more about overall happiness and not just my own happiness or a friend’s happiness – so if I can help someone out in any way to make them happy then I try my best to do so.  That way I’m happy I’ve made someone happy rather than wondering if the person would ever make the same effort for me.

It’s a shift in mentality actually.

Having said all that, it doesn’t mean I’ve let go of people entirely; but I’ve let a distance grow between us to some extent and they don’t seem to be bothered by it – something I predicted when I did this – so it’s all good.

Moreover, it just might allow you to be a bit more social.  One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that there are so many people in this world.  Of course the population figures are there, but I guess I became a bit more open to socializing with different people and developing relationships with others, as basic as they may be.

So, you seem to have it figured out, why write all this?

Good question.  I know some people who seem to get frustrated by the unequal give-take in their relationships with certain people so I thought I’d put my philosophy out there.  Who knows, it might give them a useful perspective!

How noble of you [not], may I be excused now?

Yes, sure!

Who am I by the way?

A writing style I decided to experiment with today 😉

Images Sources:


6 responses

  1. This makes me feel a lot of things. Mostly about how great a friend you have been to me. You have most certainly been there for me a lot. I have been on both sides of the equation you speak of, and it’s frustrating when you don’t really have a definitive answer to why relationships don’t meet our expectation of reciprocity. But yeh, letting go is one way to deal with it.

    I like this writing style. If it came from self-reflection, then continue on the same path.

    I apologize for all the times I have managed to not be present in our friendship, it’s something I work on continuously.

    Also YAYIE for being more open and vulnerable in your writings. It makes everything more authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shazia I hate to disappoint you but this style was not a product of self-reflection; rather, it was just a spur of the moment decision after I wrote the first line.

      My ‘don’t hold expectations’ decision was taken before I became cool with you guys so trust me you’ve never let me down. You’ll always be an important friend 🙂 Unless we show up in Hyderabad just for you and you say ‘sorry, can’t meet up’!

      I think that’s the only expectation I have from you.

      Let’s see how much more open I be, I’ll run out of topics at some point.


  2. I quite enjoyed the experiment 🙂

    I dated a guy a long time ago who required a lot of my time and energy to reassure him and make him happy. I wanted him to be happy so I complied willingly. But even though I expected little in return I found that he depleted me and I was left unable to adequately make myself happy and reassure myself that I am good. In the end I chose me. I will always choose me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Apologies for the delayed response – had internet issues [third world problems].

      Firstly, I’m glad you liked the experiment, always reassuring!

      Interesting story you’ve shared and though my post is more about non-partners i.e. boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives, it gives me one perspective of the people who apparently don’t meet expectations.

      I can completely understand your decision though, there’s only so much you can give; and, if you had to continuously reassure yourself that you’re good, I believe you made the right call 🙂

      I’m not sure but it sounds like he may have had a trust issue? So I won’t make a cliched statement about how important trust is just in case I’m wrong and I’m sure you already know that anyway 😉

      Again, thanks for giving it a read and sharing your story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He had incredible self esteem issues and did not believe himself good enough for me. He was always worried I was going to leave. He was, of course, good enough for me… until he believed otherwise. Then I left. Kind of apart from what you were talking about. But I don’t think I could remain a part of any lopsided relationship, including friendship or families. It sounds exhausting.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds exhausting? I’m sure it WAS exhausting! Interesting stuff though, I can sort of relate 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: