Are you giving to get or giving to give?
Relationship Tip No 227
Acts of barter.
There are many ways that people in relationships behave that directly or indirectly solicits appreciation, validation, respect, trust, kindness or thoughtfulness. Some of these are:
- Remembering special days or dates.
- Performing acts of service.
- Giving gifts.
- Active and involved listening.
- Being present.
- Acknowledging thoughtful acts.
- A simple thank you.
Obviously there are many others, too numerous to list.
What are acts of barter?
These are behaviors, attitudes, emotions, actions or words that are given with an agenda. The agenda is – if I give you something you want or need, I am doing it because I want or need something in return. Are acts of barter good? Bad? It depends on the circumstances.
Let me give you a couple of examples of acts of barter.
-You want or need appreciation so to create the guilt or psychological debt required you give something that you know your partner wants. In return you want your verbal appreciation.
-You want your partner to do something that is uncomfortable for him/her - it could be as difficult as flying on an airplane to a vacation destination (if you are afraid of flying) or as simple as entertaining some couples for a dinner party (you don’t like to cook entertain). What you want from your partner is more attention and romance. So, he/she temporarily gives you the romance or attention that you want in order to create the debt that you will give your partner what they want when they ask it of you i.e. flying or entertaining etc.
Acts of barter are when you have an agenda. You don’t do things for your partner because it is who you are or from your generous spirit, but from a manipulative and often conniving part of your psyche.
From time to time most of us will perform acts of barter either consciously or unconsciously to get what we want. This is not the problem. It is when either partner in the relationship uses these routinely and consistently to get what they want. The relationship then becomes one of constant negative influence that will tend to impact many other aspects of the relationship. Sooner or later you will discover that you are using these acts of barter for everything in the relationship. All acts of service are now done not out of love or service but guilt and manipulation.