What do I mean by reciprocity? One dictionary definition, simply put, is ‘mutual exchange’. Many people refer to reciprocity using everyday spoken expressions, such as “what goes around comes around”, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, “what you give is what you get”.
The challenge is that the reaction time between what we get and what we give is often a fraction of a second. Now, when it’s positive reciprocity, that’s great, enjoy it, it doesn’t happen often enough!
The problem is when we receive a negative comment, a negative look, a negative piece of feedback, before we even realise it, in a split second a micro-reaction will show on our face, in our tone of voice or in our behaviours. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the end! It is the moment where conflict can get triggered.
My invitation to you is to start noticing that moment between the other person’s behaviour and your response to that behaviour. Create more space and choose your response more consciously.
Below is the link to an immensely powerful, real-life example of people in a life-threatening situation. As you listen to the story, see if you can identify the moment where one of the potential victims made a conscious choice to respond/step into Partner (instead of react) in order to break the negative reciprocity. Keep listening to find out what happened next…