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Embracing Generosity in Relationships

We live in a world where each click or swipe is a transaction, making it all too easy to view our interactions similarly.  While the transactional approach streamlines business activities, when it’s applied to personal and professional relationships, they can be quickly drained of genuine connection and warmth. Relationships are not about maintaining an equitable ledger of give-and-take; relationships thrive on generosity, consideration, and genuine caring. This doesn’t mean overlooking the importance of equality and reciprocity in a relationship, but we should give freely in a relationship without the expectation of receiving equal value at that moment.  Shifting focus from a strict balance of exchanges to open-hearted generosity and caring paves the way for deeper, more meaningful bonds.


Years ago, an acquaintance suggested I reach out to a contact they gave me, so I did.  I contacted the executive, mentioning how I got their information, and it went nowhere…not even a callback. The acquaintance later reminded me that I owed them for the contact. I was confused and asked why, and the response I got was “Because I gave you one.” They viewed networking as a transactional relationship. It has never been how I have approached it; it’s never been ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’. I am more than happy to help someone if I can.  Most times helping is no more than common decency!


Reciprocity is a social norm, not a law, so there is plenty of room for flexibility.  In personal relationships, insisting on immediate and equivalent payback for every favor or action can undermine the natural flow of giving and receiving and can create rifts.  It turns heartfelt gestures into debts that must be repaid, creating a mechanical tallying of who owes what to whom, which ultimately causes resentment.  True relationships thrive on uncalculated acts of kindness and generosity. They are built on a foundation of mutual care, where the exchange of favors occurs naturally without expectations and the giver does so for the simple joy of making the other person happy.  Imagine that!  This isn’t to say that reciprocity doesn’t occur in healthy relationships; it organically unfolds as a spontaneous expression of affection and gratitude– not an obligation!   Over time, in the natural circumstances of a successful relationship, there is balance.  And that is a very good thing!


I believe that relationships are a two-way street and it’s rarely equal. Sometimes one person does more for the other, and on other occasions, it’s the other way.  Over time, I have come to realize that offering help, support, or kindness for its own sake brings its own joy and satisfaction.  As an added benefit, relationships grow and flourish.  So why not celebrate the joy of giving for its own sake and let the other person when receiving generosity, recognize and appreciate the gesture, without feeling an urgent need to reciprocate? True generosity does not create debt but fosters a deeper connection and mutual care.


“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.” – Nelson Mandela


Have you experienced the difference between transactional and generous relationships in your own life? Perhaps you’ve seen firsthand how a simple act of kindness can transform a relationship. We invite you to share your stories and insights in the comments below. Let’s inspire each other by exploring the power of generosity and how it can create deeper, more meaningful connections. Join the conversation and tell us about your journey towards embracing a spirit of giving in your relationships!


Have a great weekend.