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Reciprocation Situation

Last one. (I think.)  So the party posts brought up some interesting thoughts about reciprocation.  What we expect of others or what we do because we think other people expect it.  That murky grey area where you wonder if you’re doing enough.  If you’re pulling your weight.  If you’re a good friend or community member or neighbour.

I have some pretty amazing friends, and it’s hard to keep up with their amazingness.  They do a lot.  It makes you want to do a lot too; not to compete but because you know how good you feel being on the receiving end of someone else’s care.  It makes you want to step up your care game so you can make someone else feel like that.  So you can let someone else know you have their back or you want them to be happy.

When I say reciprocation, I don’t mean keeping a spreadsheet where you look at the times when you’ve borrowed a cup of your neighbour’s sugar and balance it against the times when you’ve shoveled their walk.  It would be an odd relationship if it was always perfectly balanced.  Give and take isn’t like cars alternating lanes in a merge; it isn’t even.  But a good friendship is sort of like a good diet: you don’t look at an individual day to see if you’re eating well; you look at the entire week.  And you don’t look at a single day to see if you’re doing enough; you look at the scope of a friendship.

The reason you need to look at a long length of time is that some people do hundreds of tiny things while some people do two or three huge things.  And, of course, the weight of each act rests in both the hands of the giver and the receiver.  What I might perceive as the greatest thing ever done, the other person may not see as a big deal.  And vice versa.

So no, I’m not talking about keeping score, but I think we all do note from time to time whether we feel settled in the friendship; and sometimes we think to ourselves, “am I being a good enough friend?” or “are they a good enough friend?”  And invitations are mixed in with all of that.

 *******

I think if you’re waiting to receive back exactly what you give, you’ll be disappointed.  If you’re waiting to receive back the sort of thing you give — for instance, you cook meals for others when they are ill, and you expect some sort of care like that when you are ill whether it be a meal or someone helping with your errands — you’ll be disappointed.  People answer you in their own care language.

Sometimes Josh says something to me in Hebrew, but I answer him in English.  English is the language I feel most comfortable using even though I understand what he’s saying.  That is a lot how our interactions with other people work.  We speak to them in our caring language, even though we understand theirs.  My caring language is food.  I like providing food for others.  It’s a way I show a person that I care about them, whether it’s offering to bring food to a party or cooking for them when they’re ill or making mishloach manot for Purim, I feel very comfortable silently conveying how much I care about another person through food.  I am less comfortable with other ways to show care; sometimes they don’t even occur to me until I’m on the receiving end of one of these actions.  And then I understand that is their way of saying they care about me.  But I tend to answer back in my own language.

And just as it is nice that we have so many different languages in the world, I think it’s a good thing that we don’t all show care in the exact same way.  It means there is almost always someone out there who fills a specific niche for you; who is your go-to person when you need comfort in a certain way.

But I don’t think it’s too much to expect to see something in return.  In the same way that no one wants to carry on a one-sided conversation, I don’t think many people look to carry on a one-sided relationship.  We expect to see some outreach on the other person’s part, even if that outreach differs greatly from our own.  Hence why I said that we still invite people who don’t invite the twins to their party.  If the friendship is there, I don’t see why you wouldn’t invite the child along.

But here’s a question: suppose you extended invitation after invitation to the same person — to see movies, grab a drink, go on a trip.  Every invitation originates with you, and while your friend is enthusiastic to go along with your invitations, she never picks up the phone and calls you.  She never tells you about this great preview she saw and would you like to see the movie when it comes out.  At what point would you start to feel a little confused: does she like you?  Does she sort of endure you?  Why is this relationship lopsided?  Is it possible they really like you but they lack the confidence or social savviness to extend invitations (this describes me sometimes)?  Would you let this friendship go on indefinitely in this manner?  Would you give it a handful of invites before you started turning your attention to someone who seemed a little more eager to have your company?

In the currency of kids, the party is king.  As adults, we have a thousand ways of telling the people around us that they are important to us.  But a party — for a kid — is an important tool for conveying to their friends that they enjoy being with them.  Yes, they can ask them to play at recess, they can ask them on a play date if that fits into their parent’s schedule, they can share their Halloween candy.  There are other options, but the birthday party one is easy.  And at a certain age, they know the weight of a party.  To have or not have a party was a pretty easy internal question when they were five.  To have or not have a party is a trickier question at nine.  Obviously, the end answer will be different for each person, so it isn’t as if there is one “correct” answer.

But I do think that one of my jobs as their parent is to be their friend coach.  To help them understand how to navigate the social world.  How to be a good friend, a good community member, a good decision maker when it comes to spending social capital.  This helping-someone-else-grow-up thing is hard.  Keeping a kid alive: pretty easy.  You feed them, water them, give them a little fresh air, and all is usually fine.  Turning a kid into a good person: much harder.  It means a lot of tears, a lot of letting your child fail so you can help them do it better next time, a lot of talking out situations and role-playing and listening.  So if I maybe think too closely about parties and the like, it’s because I feel that is part of my job.  At least, the way I see my job, which may have very different tasks from another parent’s job.  Just as there is more than one way to be social, there is more than one way to parent.

*******

I didn’t have an easy time socially as a kid.  My parents had a lot of work to do as my friend coaches.  I spent a lot of time in tears, a lot of time feeling left-out, a lot of time working really hard and not seeing the pay-off.  They were great coaches, but I had shitty luck as a social player in elementary school.

When Josh met me, I was teaching middle school, and he couldn’t understand how I could stomach it.  How I could chew my sandwich and listen to child after child after child dump their middle school woes on my desk.  He didn’t even like to visit me there because it reminded him of how much he hated that time in life, but honestly, as much as my middle school years sucked, being around middle schoolers never phased me.  I was like a surgeon who could look at someone’s festering insides and then consume a steak dinner.  Their problems usually didn’t get under my skin.

Fast forward to my own children going through elementary school, and I seem to have lost all my coping mechanisms.  I mean, yes, I can still work with middle schoolers and feel unphased.  But when it’s my child coming home from school with that lip trembling, and they ask if they can talk to me alone… my heart stops.  I think back to all the times I pretended to be sick at school so my mother would pick me up and let me fall apart in the car.  Growing up is hard.  Navigating friendships when you’re a kid is hard.  And then, if you’re lucky, you get to go through it all over again with your kids.

Yes, it’s their problems and their social skills to learn, but I feel those growing pains too.  That why-aren’t-they-my-friend pain and that how-can-I-be-a-good-friend confusion and the how-do-I-make-someone-a-friend learning curve.  I’ve been there, done that.

When they were little, when they discovered that they weren’t invited to a birthday party, the only angle they considered was that they were missing out on fun.  They were missing out on Chuck E Cheese games or pony rides or jumping inside an inflated piece of plastic.  But somewhere around six, the twins started realizing what not being invited to a birthday party meant: you didn’t make the cut, friendwise.  And sometimes they totally get why they weren’t invited, but sometimes they wonder what the lack of invitation means; have they misjudged how close they are to the other person?  Is their friendship real, or did they misunderstand what playing together meant?

They are figuring themselves out, figuring the social thing out, and I can see them internally debating on a daily basis how much they want to keep up with the Joneses.  Or really, how much they want to speak the same caring language as everyone else and when they’ll be ready to develop their own caring language.  Right now, that party is an easy way to tell another group of kids in no uncertain terms that they really enjoy hanging out with them.  They’ll say that in other ways such as talking with their friend on the baseball bench or letting the other kid pick the game at recess.  But with one big act, they can reciprocate all the good feelings of inclusion they’ve gotten to feel this year from other people.

In the future, they’ll figure out other ways to say that.  And they’ll learn that it’s better to say that to a committed, small group of people vs. trying to say that to a lot of people who don’t really care all at the same time.  And hopefully, by that point, I will have done my work well and I’ll be sending good friend material into this world.  The world needs more good friend people.

How much do you care about reciprocation?

15 comments

1 Persnickety { 03.18.14 at 7:42 am }

Oh, iam definitely one of those people who lacks the social skills, and it frustrates me.
It is very frustrating to be extending invites, but never receive them in return. Or to see the circle of friendship that you are allowed to exist on the edges of, and not know what it is that keeps you there.

I have a friend who is very social in a very suburban way- dinner parties and Tupperware parties and other party shopping. She invites me to these, but I can’t reciprocate, I don’t do those in my own space. So I have to work out what there is that I can extend as a reciprocal invite.

I also live in a city where it feels like everyone has known each other since kindy, and so they have these friendships, and exchanges, that go back decades. So I do spend a lot more time reflecting on this than I want to, because I just don’t know what they are.

2 Pepper { 03.18.14 at 7:48 am }

This is a really interesting topic, and one I think of often. I don’t care about reciprocation but I do think about it, if that makes sense. So I care, I guess, but my feelings don’t get hurt if something doesn’t get reciprocated, like a party invite or even a gift. I feel like invitations and gifts are extended/given because we want to and care about the person. We enjoy their company and want them to celebrate with us. However, I understand that everyone views this differently. Also, people don’t invite for a number of reasons – we used to live in a tiny house where we could barely (and it was uncomfortable) accommodate our families. My daughter’s birthday has never fallen during a period of good weather and we did not see the point in moving a baby birthday party to another location – so we have never invited tons of friends to her parties. We are frequently invited to said friends’ kid parties, however. My view on reciprocation in that case is that, though I will not be extending an invite in return, I will be an appreciative and thoughtful party guest, I will bring a gift I think the child will enjoy, and I will thank them for extend them a sincere thanks. If they choose to not invite me in the future, I will understand. (This has not happened , though.)

However, I admit that I do like some reciprocation in friendships. I don’t need big gestures, but I appreciate when you take my calls and listen to my woes when I’m having a bad day. I appreciate when you remember something important to me. It doesn’t have to be even, but I do analyze and get my feelings hurt when it never seems to be returned.

3 nicoleandmaggie { 03.18.14 at 9:15 am }

This is a reason we like to be all-inclusive. We invite everyone when we’re doing a big shindig. We’re of the more the merrier belief. And when we’ve been invited to a lot of things, we tend to feel like it’s time to throw said shindig.

It is true that when we’re doing smaller things, we tend to try to pay back people that have invited us to their places. The big exception is one of DC1’s friends who throws huge elaborate children’s parties (to which adults are also invited) 3x a year… we don’t invite them for little get-togethers because we’re under the impression that they’re too busy (evidence: all things they talk about doing out with groups of people, and they’re super busy). We do have their kid over just by himself.

4 a { 03.18.14 at 9:17 am }

Here’s my neurosis with birthday parties – I’m afraid that no one will show up. We’re not very social. Our daughter is. She has no siblings. Her cousins either live far away or their parents are fighting with my husband (his siblings). I don’t know the parents of my daughter’s friends, and I can’t guarantee that they’ll show up at a party. So, we didn’t have a party last year, and we may skip it again this year – because of the low attendance at her last birthday party two years ago. This whole social scene causes me great internal distress because I’m never sure what the right advice is. And my daughter rarely addresses her concerns directly, so I have found myself giving her glib answers only to realize later that she needed a more thorough discussion. On the other hand, I find out later because she has some sort of learning experience that she HAS to be direct about, so we can have an even more thorough discussion. I realize she has to do it on her own, and my role is to advise. But it’s hard, because I don’t ever want her to get her feelings hurt. 🙁

I don’t worry too much about reciprocation among my friends – as I said, I’m not very social and everyone knows it. It’s not like I’m out having a rollicking good time without people – I’m probably at home playing Minion Rush and watching a movie. When I go home to visit friends there, people are generally willing to come to me or fit me into their plans so we get a chance to spend time together…but they don’t travel to see me very often. I don’t mind – I have multiple reasons to go home, but they have no reason to come here except to visit me. And most of my good friends have, at least once or twice.

The friendship waters are tough to navigate…

5 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 03.18.14 at 9:44 am }

I have a friend that constantly sends us invites for playground playdates, and I almost always accept. I enjoy her and our kids enjoy playing together. I seem to be terrible at this sort of invite (maybe because she is much more outdoorsy than I am, and I will wuss out of outdoor playtime, in spite of how much my boys need it, for the slightest of reasons– cold, wet, whatever…), but I also invite a big bunch of parent-friends and kids over to our house for dinner every couple of months, which no one else does.

So yeah, I think about reciprocation a lot. Do other people have dinners at their house that I’m not invited to? Is P mad because I never invite her out for playground playdates? I keep inviting the same group of friends for our dinners, even though there are some who have never shown up– do they wish I’d just quit inviting them, so that they didn’t have to keep finding polite ways to decline my invitation??

(And it’s no surprise to me that you had a tough time in elementary school– I did, too. I think you seem to feel things deeper than a lot of people do, and so obviously, the slings and arrows of elementary-aged kids probably hit their mark often. I don’t know what happened, but somewhere along the way, I grew “harder”– not thicker-skinned, necessarily, because things still pierce me, but there’s just something that happened that was like a rail-switch: this will affect me, that won’t, I’ll respond to this one, that one I won’t… this wound will infect me, that one I will cauterize.

Regardless, I identify with you in that way, this need to let things bubble over, let the tears flow, even if I don’t actually tear up over these things that often anymore. There is still that person inside me, and she *knows* what feeling left-out can do to a person, even if she shunts that sadness off to the side in favor of a business-like demeanor.)

So yeah. I think about reciprocation all the time, but I may act on it depending on the situation. I try to err on the side of over-inviting, rather than under-inviting, just because I don’t want to cause someone else to feel left out. And that in turn means I care a bit less about other people’s reciprocation, because I know that perhaps they are not like me in that way, that perhaps they are inviting only preschool friends, or that they aren’t doing a party (still don’t understand that one fully, but I’m trying…).

(OH, and I just got to thinking when you said that parties are “currency”… as an extrovert, that makes total sense to me. I love parties and I love having people over, and I love socializing, and my kids seem to, also. BUT, my boys are headed to a very small birthday gathering this week for a friend of theirs who is more introverted and whose parent is also not super outgoing. He’s having three friends meet him at a playground, no presents, no big to-do, and honestly, that suits him. It’s odd to me as a party-lover, but birthday-friend’s “currency” is definitely something other than parties. I don’t know what it is yet, but there’s something endearing about my boys being part of his “chosen set” because I know that there aren’t very many people in there. Just a further inclusionary thought about why some kids may not be invited to someone’s party– that someone may really not like being the center of attention, or may not actually enjoy a big, loud celebration with all of their schoolmates around!)

6 Ana { 03.18.14 at 10:43 am }

Yes I agree with you that their should be reciprocation in friendship, but I also agree that the form it takes is different from person to person and that its best to take the long view. Growing up my parents were very much into the whole tit for tat, your turn, my turn thing with friendship. They would scoff at me if I accepted invitations without making my own “you always just go along with what your friends do” and they made a huge stingy deal about me offering rides to friends if they didn’t reciprocate exactly one for one or if I gave a better gift than the one I received and a whole lot of other pettiness. It annoyed me a lot. (My face is burning and my blood pressure is up just thinking about this issue). I think this experience has made me think about things much more loosely and to err on the side of generosity—and also to accept others’ generosity when its given. I don’t have a car, so if someone offers me a ride, I take their offer at face value and take the ride even if I can’t offer one next time in return. Similarly if I want to see a friend, I’ll make a plan. I don’t honestly care if I was the one making the plan last time and the time before that…as long as they accept the offer enthusiastically and don’t flake out, I assume that they do want to hang out but maybe aren’t that good at planning ahead (and I’m a HUGE plan-ahead type).
We aren’t there yet with our kids, they are 2 and 4. So maybe my views on this will change, but I hope that they and their friends can offer and accept friendship without any kind of expectation in return. Does a birthday party invite have to equal another party invite? LIke I mentioned in my other comment—how does this work when the two friends aren’t of equal means, or there is other stuff going on in the family that precludes reciprocation. Maybe because we are in a very socio-economically diverse neighborhood and daycare right now, but I think about these things. We do have the means to have a party, and to include other kids on outings…not everyone does.

7 nicoleandmaggie { 03.18.14 at 10:58 am }

I think we’ve really internalized Miss Manners… we do what we think is polite and don’t expect others to have the same standards.

This is especially true given we were brought up in the Midwest where the rules are different about what’s polite than where we are now. For example, we make casseroles for babies, illnesses, loss, etc., but do not expect (nor receive) casseroles in return–we think of the casserole giving as something we do for ourselves. Because that makes us feel better. But that’s not the culture here, we’re imposing our culture on others.

So yes, I do think it’s polite to reciprocate, which is why we do it, but we don’t get upset when other people don’t reciprocate for us. It’s so much easier just to figure they’re busy than to think that they’re intentionally slighting us, especially because that’s probably the truth.

One of the many reasons I’m glad I’m not on mommy boards anymore is because, although I’m a pretty laid back person, I really get irritated by people who are easily offended, who make friendship a chore with rules, who hold grudges forever. (And who, of course, complain about other women behind their backs for not being good enough friends on mommy fora.) I know I must make all sorts of social mistakes (everyone does), and I’d rather associate with people who assume the best than assume the worst. I’m pretty sure those kinds of folks gave up on me a long time ago. I always do my best to give the benefit of the doubt and I keep deep in my heart the knowledge that most people are too busy with their own lives to give a crap about mine.

8 Sharon { 03.18.14 at 11:22 am }

I agree with you about reciprocation in friendship, but I will say that for me, things have to be pretty uneven before I notice. I will do a lot of giving, calling, inviting, etc., before I realize that I am making most or all of the effort and eventually pull back.

I’ve also often noticed that most of my relationships are a bit lopsided, and that in the longstanding friendships, the balance can shift over time, depending on where we are in our lives. For a lot of years, I was the one doing most of the “heavy lifting” in a lot of my friendships while many of my friends had babies and small children and I was single and childless. Now that trend has reversed, as I am now the one who is a mother to small children, while most of my friends have older kids (though a few remain childless).

9 Sara { 03.18.14 at 3:34 pm }

I think that reciprocation of some kind is probably important in theory, but in practice I don’t think about it very often. When it comes to parties, I’ve been on all sides of the equation. As a young adult, I was a frequent party host, and loved having people over. I tended to live in a big house (rented, with roommates) with groups of very social people, and so we tended to be the party hosts. It never even occurred to me to expect my friends who had different life situations to host parties just to reciprocate. Their attendance was their contribution to the festivities. If the party was at my house, great! If there was a party somewhere else–great! It didn’t really matter, and it never would have occurred to me to keep score. Now, as a middle-aged parent, I live in a tiny house, where having more than two or three non-family members at a time is awkward, so we never have parties. For Eggbert’s birthday party this year, we paid to use a community space for her party, but we really don’t have the money or the inclination to do that every year. If we had a bigger house, I’d love to host a great kids’ party at home (and by “I’d love”, I mean that I’d stress and fret and probably not enjoy myself very much, but it would all be worth it if the kids had fun), but that isn’t our situation, and before your initial post, it had literally never occurred to me that anyone in our circle of friends might think of that as a reason not to invite Eggbert to their party.

As Eggbert’s life coach, I think that I focus on kindness in general (“do you have any ideas about how you might help that other child to feel included?”) rather than specific acts of kindness (“why don’t we invite that child over?”). Even at her age, I can tell that she has her own love language, and that is fine with me.

I think that there is a big difference between being comfortable with delayed reciprocation, reciprocation in a different form, or unevenness in acts of kindness and being selfish. If you are selfish, then your goal is to get more than you dish out. Being unconcerned about keeping score is a different thing–I see it as an act of trust, both in your friend, and in your friend’s faith in you. I don’t form a lot of close friendships with people that I don’t trust on that level. So, now that I think about it, I think that reciprocation only matters for me when I am in the process of deciding (subconsciously) who falls into that “trusted friend” category (where I don’t need to keep score, because I trust them) and who falls into that “friendly acquaintance” category (where I still don’t need to keep score, because I don’t have much in the way of expectations of them one way or the other).

Interesting topic!

10 It Is What It Is { 03.18.14 at 5:47 pm }

I think of my friendships falling in concentric rings with the smallest ring, closest to me, as my inner circle of trusted friends with whom reciprocity (of whatever sort) has been long established. From there, there are ‘close’ friends, who I have known for some time and with whom there is a mutually beneficial relationship (although not always reciprocity for whatever reason). Then there are ‘friends’, people I enjoy seeing from time to time and with whom I have shared intimacies but their intersection with my life might be haphazard. Then there are acquaintances, people I think I know and who think they know me but this has never been tested.

More than one for one reciprocity, I require effort. If my life is a pie, there are only so many pieces, so much of me to go around and I’ve learned to only share myself with those who share themselves back. If not, why bother?

11 Mali { 03.18.14 at 6:07 pm }

When I was at primary (elementary and some of middle?) school (5-13 yrs) I didn’t really have these issues, as we were all at such a tiny school that the rule was to include everyone. So I’d hate to have to be a “friend coach” through those years, when I really don’t know what the norm is.

I think reciprocation can be an issue in any friendship, but things like attitude can tip the balance one way or another. I’ve lost a friend because she expected me to put her first all the time. Another good friend – who at one time was my “bestie” – slipped as I found I was the one always doing the calling, the planning, the reminding that I was alive! She withdrew from me when she had kids, even though I wanted to be part of their lives. (I still remember her son saying “oh good, I love Auntie Mali” when told I was going to visit.) And as she withdrew, I decided I wasn’t going to make the effort any more either. Maybe we were both at fault?

And reciprocation goes different ways – I would often pay for a friend who was having money troubles, but I would do it so we could see each other. I only got annoyed when it was assumed I would chip in. (I hope she remembers this now I am unemployed.) For me, reciprocation wasn’t the issue. Attitude was the issue, but ultimately, it all came down to whether I got pleasure out of her company. And I did.

So I guess that’s how I’d handle it with kids. If they enjoyed being with certain other kids whose parents didn’t reciprocate with invitations, I wouldn’t care.

12 Esperanza { 03.19.14 at 9:23 am }

I have definitely been a part of a friendship where I did all the inviting and initiating and eventually I just thought, F*CK THIS! If she wants to hang out with me, she can give me a call for once. Of course she didn’t. And we barely see each other anymore. And I assumed she didn’t really consider us very good friends in the first place. But then she invited me to her wedding, which was VERY small, and my whole, “clearly we’re not really friends,” thesis was shot to hell. That is when I became really unclear in my thoughts on reciprocation, because before that I definitely needed to feel like other people wanted to be with me, just like I wanted to be with them.

But that is really all I need from a friend, the sense that they want to be a part of my life. I don’t measure random acts of kindness or specific invitations, I just need SOMETHING to show me that they care about me being there. Even just a text or phone call is enough for me.

As for my kids, well, I guess in the end I would hope that the attention they show to others doesn’t have to be rigidly defined to be accepted. I hope that it doesn’t have to be a party that they throw to show others they like them and want to be with them. I hope smaller, more intimate gatherings can suffice, because we don’t have a lot of space, or a lot of money, and my husband hates entertaining, so parties are probably not a big part of their future. At least not their future as kids. I guess we shall see…

13 KeAnne { 03.20.14 at 8:37 am }

I had similar situations to Esperanza. I always did the emailing/inviting/planning and once I stopped, poof went all the friends.

This may not be the most appropriate of the party posts to write this, but I was thinking about these issues, especially when it comes to kids, all the way to work after dropping D off at school. As I was saying goodbye, another little boy in the class announced excitedly to another little boy that he was coming to his party and had received the invitation. The school policy is if you want the class to pass out invitations, the entire class must be invited and it is easy to get the other parents’ addresses if you want to do a smaller group. We have not received an invitation to this child’s party, and that’s OK in theory (because D came down with a fever after the last one!), but I wonder if the lack of invitation is a reflection on how the other little boy feels about D and that hurts me. It really only matters to me, not D, but it stings. And of course, it could totally not at all be about D – maybe they asked the little boy to pick his best friend or two. Whatever. I don’t know their process.

The social worry starts early :-/

14 queenjohnsonclan { 03.20.14 at 7:55 pm }

I am such a weird person with this. I don’t care about reciprocation, I don’t think about reciprocation, it would never occur to me to fault a friend for not reciprocating some gesture or act of kindness. What’s crazy is I completely understand why people would think about it or care about it. Totally get that, but at the same time I feel not one iota of shame to say I am not one of them. Being a good friend in my opinion has absolutely nothing to do with reciprocation. When I give you a sympathy card after a loss…I am not giving it to you because you were once there for me (or I hope you will be in the future). I’m giving it to you because in my best judjement as your friend…you need it. Simple. I have some beautiful long lasting friendships with some tough women who I’m sure would tell me if I were not a good friend so I think it works for me.

Now, I agree with you that all people need SOMETHING out of a relationship of any kind. I just think reciprocation is not it for me. If caring and kindness come out of you then you will receive it back…I truly believe that. You reap what you sow with good things too. However, if it doesn’t come back from the place you sent it…so what?

For my kids I teach them to treat people the way they want to be treated, to never endure being treated badly lying down, and to love whole heartedly. We never talk about reciprocation. You do things because they are the right thing to do. If you do that, there will be no score card needed and you will sleep well and be socially accepted by the people who mean you best.

15 Joan Lutes { 11.08.14 at 4:41 pm }

I would love to reciprocate dinners at home. I have a small space and
stress out when attempting to entertain/dinner in my apartment. That said, I always bring a very nice hostess gift or even bring food I
prepared. Just so not comfortable hosting… Probably because my friends have much larger living spaces!

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