In our current detached stage of relationships, isn’t it uplifting when we see reciprocity practiced on an individual basis, sometimes even a community level? In our neighborhood, we have a teen football player that takes the newspapers from the driveways on his street up to the front porch each Sunday. No one asked him to do it and he did not expect any compensation or reward for it. It just started one morning and has been in continuance now for a full year. As an act of thank you, all of us that receive this special service occasionally leave coupons in his mailbox for the Sports Authority, the Athletic House, or the Champion Outlet Store so that he can purchase sports gear at some discount, our return act of reciprocity.
What is reciprocity?
Reciprocity is the act of creating, maintaining, or augmenting social relationships as well as satisfying the material needs of someone who may have necessities beyond their current means. It can be the exchange of objects without the use of money or any financial medium of trade. It can take the form of sharing, support, assistance, or bartering without future obligation from either side.
Spontaneous reciprocity is often referred to as ‘random acts of kindness’. This phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was coined by the peace activist Anne Herbert. She stated that she wrote it on a placemat at a restaurant, 1982, in Sausalito. However you view unprompted reciprocity, allow yourself to look for opportunities where you have a chance to lighten someone’s day, even by giving someone the 23 cents in change they need at the grocery checkout.
With all that has happened with the virus, wouldn’t now be a good time for giving?