Reciprocity in Relationships

Last Updated on 16/01/2022 by Steve Wanjie

Reciprocity in relationships

What is Reciprocity

Reciprocity is a social norm that expects people to return favors. This norm is in many cultures and societies.

In the book “The Reciprocity Principle: How and Why People Give,” author Michael W. Kraus discusses the principles of Reciprocity and how they link to human psychology.

He states that humans have a natural tendency to want to repay favors, which is why we often feel obligated to do something for someone who has done something for us.

Adam Smith first introduced this concept in 1759 in his book, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.”

You can find Reciprocity in many different cultures and societies around the world.

For example, in China, people will often give gifts when they visit each other.

Therefore, Reciprocity is the act of giving back in return for what someone has done for you.

Reciprocity is apparent in many facets of life, from how we interact with friends and family to how we do business.

It is a powerful social force that can significantly impact your personal or professional relationships.

The word “reciprocate” comes from Latin “reciprocare,” which means “to move back again.”

This word is used in different contexts, but it means giving back what has been given to you in terms of relationships.

A man giving his girlfriend a gift - Reciprocity in Relationships
A man giving his girlfriend a gift. She is aware of his secret obssesion

What Makes Reciprocity in Relationships Important?

Reciprocity is essential in relationships because it shows both party’s commitment to each other.

In addition, it is an indication of how much the other person means to you.

Reciprocity in relationships is a form of communication.

You can use it to establish trust, build friendships, or even establish romantic relationships.

The critical thing about Reciprocity is that it should not be taken for granted.

Good deeds should always be reciprocated when given to others.

What are the Key Elements of Reciprocity in Relationships?

Reciprocity is a fundamental element in the animal kingdom.

The concept of Reciprocity is when one individual provides a service or goods to another individual, and in turn, receives something of equal or more excellent value.

This can be seen in many species, such as chimpanzees, who have been observed returning food to their human keepers after being given a banana.

The following are some vital elements of Reciprocity:

1) There must be an initial gift, offer, or service rendered.

2) The recipient should not feel obliged to return the favor immediately.

3) There should be an expectation that will repay the favor in the future.

4) The recipient should feel that they can repay the favor in a way that is different from what was received initially.

5) Both parties must have an understanding that they will receive something in return for what they give

6) Both parties must have the ability to fulfill their end of the bargain

7) Both parties should be able to communicate with each other

How Reciprocity Works in relationships

Reciprocity is the tendency to repay someone for what they have done for you.

It is a form of social obligation.

This phenomenon occurs because people feel that they owe something to the person that helped them.

Therefore, the more help one receives, the more likely they will do something in return.

This phenomenon can be seen in many different areas of life.

For example, if someone helps you carry your groceries up to your apartment, you might invite them into your home for a cup of coffee or tea as a way of saying thank you.

Reciprocity can also be seen in marketing and advertising strategies when companies offer free samples to get customers to buy their products in the future.

What are the Benefits of Developing a Healthy Relationship with Reciprocity?

Reciprocity is a fundamental aspect of relationships.

It is the exchange of feelings and behaviors between two or more people, making relationships mutually satisfying.

It is a part of the Golden Rule which states,

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The benefits of Reciprocity are many.

For example, you can use it to increase the likelihood of being helped, create an obligation to pay back favors or repay loans and establish social bonds with others.

The reciprocity norm is so prevalent in society that people will often feel obligated to do something for someone who has done something for them without realizing it.

This feeling of obligation may be strong enough to cause people to comply even if they know the request is illegitimate or without merit.

The benefits of developing a healthy relationship with Reciprocity are as follows:

  • We feel fulfilled and happy when we help others
  • We feel better about ourselves knowing that we have done something good for someone else
  • We develop stronger connections with people because they will want to help us back in return
  • The other person will feel more valued and respected in the relationship
  • Trust is built via Reciprocity in a healthy relationship
  • Reciprocity helps a love relationship to grow stronger

Why We Seek Out Reciprocity Behavior In Other People?

We seek out reciprocal behavior in other people because it makes us feel good.

There are two types of Reciprocity:

positive and negative.

Positive Reciprocity is when someone does something for you and wants to do something back.

Negative Reciprocity is when someone does something for you and wants to get even or pay them back somehow.

The two types of Reciprocity are both critical in different ways.

For example, positive Reciprocity can help build strong relationships with others.

At the same time, negative Reciprocity can help us get revenge or make sure that people don’t take advantage of us.

Why is Learning the Concept of Reciprocity Important for Your Relationship?

Reciprocity is a fundamental concept in relationships.

It means that you should be giving as much as you take.

In other words, if your partner does something for you, then you should do something for them too.

The importance of Reciprocity in relationships cannot be overstated.

If both people are not working to maintain a healthy reciprocity relationship, then the relationship will suffer.

How to Increase the Intensity and Strength of Your Relationships with Reciprocity?

In relationships, Reciprocity is a vital ingredient for the success of the relationship.

Therefore, it is crucial to balance giving and receiving to maintain a healthy relationship.

The importance of Reciprocity can be seen in couples who are constantly trying to outdo each other and do more for their partners than what they ask for.

This would be considered as an imbalance in Reciprocity, which can lead to resentment and an eventual breakup of the relationship.

We should not think about it as a competition but instead, think about it as an opportunity to show our love and care for our partner.


  1. Is Reciprocity good in a relationship?

Reciprocity is vital for relationships because it helps people experience more happiness and satisfaction.

In a relationship, the idea of Reciprocity is seen as a way to balance power.

The person who is giving more should also get more back.

In other words, if you are being kind to someone and they don’t do anything in return, then you might not think that it’s a good relationship.

The idea of Reciprocity is not always a good thing in relationships.

It can make one person feel like they are obliged to be nice to their partner all the time while their partner doesn’t have to do anything for them.

However, some relationships are not able to have this due to one person being more invested than the other.

In these cases, there needs to be an understanding of what is going on and why the person is not reciprocating as much as they should.

2. What is Emotional Reciprocity?

Emotional Reciprocity is a social interaction that is characterized by the interchange of feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.

It can be seen as a form of social exchange where individuals are expected to respond to each other’s expressions with an appropriate emotion.

If someone smiles at us, we will usually smile back.

If they say hello, we will say hello back.

This is because we want to be polite and friendly and show that we are not aggressive or unfriendly.

Emotional Reciprocity is the theory that humans tend to reciprocate emotions.

It is a fundamental social process and it is related to the way we form relationships with others.

The process of emotional Reciprocity starts with one person feeling good about themselves because of the way they are being treated by another person.

The second step is for them to treat their partner in a similar way, which in turn makes their partner feel good about themselves as well.

3. What does it mean to reciprocate love?

Reciprocating love means to give something back in return for the love that is given.

To reciprocate love means to make sure that the person who loves you feels loved and appreciated.

In order to reciprocate love, you need first to understand what it means to love someone.

It is not just a feeling that you experience but also a commitment that you make.

You have to be willing to give your time and attention and share your life with the person.

The dictionary defines love as “a strong positive emotion of regard and affection.”

This definition makes it clear that the feeling of love is not enough for reciprocation; it also needs commitment and loyalty.

If you want to show your partner that you care about them, then there are many ways in which you can do so:

  • You can show them affection by hugging or kissing them every day
  • You can tell them how much they mean to you by saying, “I love you.”

His Secret Obsesion: How to win his heart forever


The theory of Reciprocity has been studied in many different contexts.

One such context is that of relationships.

Reciprocity is the idea that when someone does something for us, we feel obliged to do something for them in return.

This can be seen in friendships, business relationships, and romantic relationships.

In a study by Cialdini and colleagues (2006), participants were asked to perform a small favor for either an individual or a group of people who they did not know personally.

The participants were then asked to rate how much they liked the person or people who had done a favor for them on a scale from 1-5.

Results showed that those who had completed the favor rated their liking of the person or people at 4.4 out 5, whereas those who had not completed the favor.

Reciprocity is often seen as an essential part of the relationship when it comes to relationships.

It is not always an easy task to maintain a relationship, and Reciprocity can be difficult in some cases.

For example, one person always does everything for the other person and doesn’t get anything in return.

It can cause resentment and eventually lead to the end of the relationship.

Some psychologists believe that you feel obligated to do something for you when someone does something in return.

It is called “reciprocity.” Reciprocity can be either positive or negative, depending on the situation.

The idea of Reciprocity is an integral part of human relationships.

It makes people feel like they are being mutually respected and cared for in a relationship.


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By Steve Wanjie

Steve Wanjie is a digital marketing specialist, SEO Expert, expert article writer, blogger, sex educationist, and businessman. He is the founder of Dijito Marketing and Laikipo.com. He works and lives in Nairobi Kenya.

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