Monitoring reciprocity

Someone’s comments in the last day mentioned “monitoring reciprocity”. It basically turned on the light for me. My husband and I have had the good fortune of being in well paid careers and we’ve shared our wealth with family and friends: spent money enhancing people’s comfort and safety, bringing the most booze to parties, covering costs and buying transit passes for unemployed folks, taking groups of kids out on the weekends, driving the car-less home, etc..... and the reciprocity has been next to nothing. None of our efforts have been reciprocated. Maybe I’ve been so dumb for being so generous. I took my sister on a wine tasting event and paid for the cab ride. All she did was buy a bottle of wine for herself. My kids best friend even ended up stealing toys from our house. This is after we’ve fed him all day while he was here. I have run out of generosity and thoughtfulness period. I don’t know what it is about people here. My most amazing friend lives in another province and she shows love and care in so many ways to me. Sharing resources has just been a one way street here, and effectively immediately, I’m hoarding my resources for my own family, just like everyone else here.


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Jun 15, 2021 at 7:05pm

People are going to drag you for this post in the comments, but I think you're right here. It's good that you've been generous, but if it gets to the point where people are taking advantage of you, being unappreciative, not giving back even a little or being downright contemptuous by stealing from your home, then you're justified in cutting back on your generosity.
I've told this story before, but I had a friend who was a student while I was working full-time. I paid for our lunch/dinner every time we went out for a year or two. After he started working, he made much more money than me, but never even attempted to repay my generosity. We went out for my birthday once, and I ended up paying for both of us! He never offered to pay.
He's not cheap, he spends freely on the women he's dating. Its because he values those relationships, and doesn't value me.
So, I think you're right to cut back on the generosity. My guess is that people in the comments will say you have some sort of "obligation" to be generous to people who make less than you.
You're not obligated to be some sort of mark for people to treat as an ATM just because you're financially secure. You're doing the right thing OP.

25 5Rating: +20

Reciprocity goes both ways

Jun 15, 2021 at 7:15pm

Good also to examine ourselves and the reasons we are giving.

You mention being fortunate. Do your actions stem from true generosity or are they unintentionally a display of wealth and superiority?

Do others have the resources to give back to you in the ways you need or expect?

Is your giving in part a means of maintaining the upper hand so that you can leverage feelings of guilt and indebtedness to control those that receive from you?

Do you give because you are afraid that people will abandon you if you don’t?

Also to keep in mind is that some people have complicated relationships with receiving gifts or provisions because they have been through abuse cycles where gifts are given as a form of manipulation or as a way to “balance out” other toxic behaviour toward the recipient.

As always, take this comment with a grain of salt, apply what resonates, and leave the rest for the crows.

30 9Rating: +21


Jun 15, 2021 at 7:34pm

Our closest parent friend had many years as a starving grad student so she couldn’t reciprocate equally in terms of travel or gifts but the emotional effort she put in to the letters she wrote us, her thoughtfulness, support and consideration was more than enough. If anything we got the better end of that deal. I don’t expect a 1 for 1 but i have no need for one sided relationships.

19 1Rating: +18


Jun 15, 2021 at 7:55pm

Looking back on several acts of what I thought was being generous in my life, I regret many of these instances because I rarely if ever got any thanks....if anything it made me get treated worse in the long run.

Better to give money to bums on the street. At least you know where your money is likely to go. Straight to helping alleviate a person's abject misery, is where.

7 2Rating: +5


Jun 15, 2021 at 7:57pm

I'm from here and I've always been generous with people (cash, food, car rides, transporting people's stuff, time, hugs, etc).
Surely I'm not the only one.

Had a group that used to meetup down at the Pot Block and the people who consistently brought the weed for the group sess were me and a guy (who never knew the strain ;) who was also born & raised here.
So are we the only 2 people born locals who share or reciprocate? Of course not.
The fact of the matter is that at least half (if not more) of the population is not originally from here, so maybe a bunch of those people you thought were selfish Vancouverites weren't. More like probably.

And before someone tries saying Vancouverites have "always" been that way -No! From as far back as a kid (more decades than you need to know) I remember people being friendly, polite, helpful. No it's not due to being a hot female, I'm not. Maybe looked kinda pretty with long hair, but basically have a face that's been called ugly.
Maybe people were nicer/friendlier in earlier dayz because it had been ingrained into them by older generations and because life was simpler/we weren't glued to the internet.
But this idea that born Vancouverites are cold/selfish/etc as a bunch is just wrong. There are some sure, just as there are some people like that from other places.
But this need to repeat this incorrect generalization is tired and lame, but who knows... maybe the person(s) who are in charge of Confessions are new Vancouverites who think the same way. Maybe they even write some of the "Let's Slag Vancouver(ites)" shit themselves. Maybe it's allowed because it generates lots of comments. They don't think about the fact that they're perpetuating a problem by printing it.

10 6Rating: +4

Fair point

Jun 15, 2021 at 8:18pm

I hear what you’re saying Op. It does sound like it’s been a one-way street for you. However, I take issue with your assumption that it’s “here” that’s the problem. Obviously you don’t know everyone here and likely you’re from somewhere else, so you feel entitled to dump on Vancouver like so many other transplants do. But in reality this behaviour has more to do with the individual dynamics of your relationships than it does with the physical location you live in. I understand the feeling of being taken advantage of. I’ve often been exactly like you, when I was still in a position to be so generous. And guess what? I’m a born and bred Vancouverite! Times for me have changed, and I’m no longer able to either give generously or reciprocate when someone in a position where they’re able to gives to me. If I could, I would. Those that I’ve freely helped in the past have rarely reciprocated, but in many cases it’s just because they didn’t have the means to do so. But if you genuinely feel that you’re being taken advantage of, then by all means cut back on your generosity.

8 1Rating: +7

Try cutting back and see what happens.

Jun 15, 2021 at 8:20pm

You are certainly not obligated to pay for everything. It will be interesting to see what happens-I was in a similar but slightly different position and once I stopped providing our friendship ended.

6 1Rating: +5

What would you have

Jun 15, 2021 at 9:50pm

These poor unfortunates do Saint Sébastien? Write you a receipt for income tax?

8 8Rating: 0


Jun 15, 2021 at 10:39pm

... his entirely cultural even if it has a pseudo intellectual term like monitoring reciprocity. In some cultures you show your social position by giving gifts and inherent to the notion of gift is that you're not getting anything in return I would say that essential to the notion of gift. So you don't give someone a birthday gift because you expect to get one on your birthday. You give someone a birthday gift because it's a way you show that you care and your care is not part of the network of reciprocal transactions.

That's how it is in some cultures and I think anybody who thought about this would see that this notion of reciprocity would mean you couldn't really socialize with people outside your class. Or you know just because I work with disabled people well none of them are ever going to be able to reciprocate if you took a disabled friend to a nice restaurant for dinner most of them don't even get enough money to buy clothing. So I hear what everyone's saying here but I think it's important to keep in mind that these are inherently cultural beliefs they're not some sort of objective truth.

That said if it is your culture to value this sort of reciprocity that's a fine thing to do but like take the person here talking about being well off and able to do these things if you can take your sister to the wine tasting and it doesn't impact your ability to meet your financial obligations save for retirement yada yada yada then I would say and especially if it's family that this transactional worldview well it's one cultural view but it's not the one that existed in most hunter-gatherer societies where there was certainly reciprocity but it wasn't really buying things for people it was contributing to community.

10 3Rating: +7

Have you gained massive equity

Jun 15, 2021 at 10:48pm

From owning a home in Vancouver over the past 20 years? Maybe that generiousity has been given back to you through the housing market. I know.. its not what you meant and I get it.. it must be annoying to see people not give back as a gesture of good will but maybe take your wins. Im a millennial and id love to be generous and ill never be able too because Life is to expensive :/

11 5Rating: +6

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