Why does engaging reciprocity help relationships? When you do something for another person, they usually appreciate the effort, and in the midst of that, they experience good feelings towards you. Those good feelings are a result of endorphins kicking in, and their thoughts about you are positive.
A word of caution – don’t do things to build a “bank” of favors. We can all think of people we know who keep mental accounts, and it usually makes us suspicious when they do something for us.
I’ve encountered people like that, and I find myself more focused on “what do you want” instead of appreciating what they’re doing.
Liking is the other relationship principle. We know we like people who like us, and it makes everything easier when we have to deal with them. Getting people to like you is fairly easy. If you connect on things you have in common, that’s a great way to start easy conversations and build from there.
I always think of my wife, Jane, when it comes to this principle because whenever she sees someone wearing Pittsburgh Steelers clothing, she says, “Go Steelers.” In the blink of an eye, they’re talking, and you’d think they’d known each other for years.
Another simple way to engage liking is to share compliments with people when you note something praiseworthy. All too often, people have good thoughts about others but don’t share them. You’ll get those endorphins flowing with the other person if you offer a sincere compliment. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Everyone likes a compliment.”
Now here’s the real key to liking and reciprocity – focus on the other person and their best interests, not your own. When it comes to reciprocity, become the kind of person who genuinely wants to help others.
The more people sense you have their best interests at heart, the more open they’ll be to your offer to help. Don’t worry about what you’ll get in return, just give because the more you help people, the more they’ll want to help you. That’s why Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can get everything you want in life if you would just help enough other people get what they want.”
How do we focus on the other person with liking? Simple – don’t try to get them to like you, do what you can to like them. The same things that will make people like you will make you like them. If you find you come from the same hometown, have the same pets, root for the same team, etc., it becomes easy for you to like them.
As you see praiseworthy traits – and verbalize them – you begin to convince yourself the other person is really a good individual. When the other person begins to sense you truly like them, that’s when everything changes.
The bottom line is this – look for ways to give and connect that are in the best interest of others. They’ll appreciate it, respond positively, and it will have the same effect on you. It will truly be a win-win for everyone.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.