Give and Take, or Take and Give? – Reciprocity...

We should try to repay what others did for us, is what the rule of reciprocation tells us. We don’t like people who don’t return our favors. So it is not just a rule, it is an obligation. To keep healthy relationships we need to repay what we got. Somewhere in future times we will need to repay favors, gifts and invitations we got from other people. Everyone in the whole World learns this give and take rule (Gouldner). We learn the rule when we are really young and learn to appreciate it by encountering it many many times. That is why we really dislike it when someone doesn’t return a favor. It is also the reason why this rule can make us say yes to things we normally would say no to. This mechanism can come in handy, since it means that all things you give away actually will be repaid. So you don’t really give them away then, right? Well yes, but… the smaller the gift the sooner the feeling of debt will fade away (see Flynn). Feeling guilty? Giving in advance is really important for the ‘guilt’ feeling. An insurance company held a survey and measured the response rate.  Putting $5 in the envelop was twice as effective opposed to promising to pay them $50 if they would send the completed survey back (James & Bolstein). Sounds like people don’t want to be pay big time… but actually people simply felt that they needed to reciprocate the already given $5. The rule of reciprocation can be applied in many ways to convince others to agree with something you want or want to do. You might do a favor and ask something back. The other will have a...