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A Good Relationship Is About Give and Take. Never Let It Be One-Sided

A Good Relationship Is About Give and Take. Never Let It Be One-Sided

We all know that relationships are about giving and making compromises, but even if we try to do our best, we end up being ignored, not feeling satisfied or appreciated, or not being able to keep the relationships strong.

What if I told you that the solution to understanding this and doing something about it lies in a psychological theory?

What is The Social Exchange Theory?

The Social Exchange Theory is an interesting term, used to describe the relationship between two people as an exchange process.

The give and take approach plays a big role, but so does our perception of how meaningful this is, what the deserve, and what we think we are investing in this.

According to experts [1], the theory

‘assumes that all human relationships are a matter of costs and rewards and people evaluate the worth of their relationship to make a rational decision of whether or not to progress.’

How Does The Theory Look Like in Real Life?

This doesn’t apply only to romantic relationships , though, but to every situation from life where 2 parties interact. And if you think about it, you’ve already seen this in action.

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If you don’t feel like your efforts at work are noticed, you might start thinking about making it clear that you can easily leave and find a new job.

Investing more time in choosing a present for a friend, be it with or without an occasion, will unconsciously make you expect him to react in a certain way. But when he or she just says ‘Thanks.’ and continues to do something else, you’ll end up disappointed. That’s when you might consider the fact that this friendship isn’t worth the investment of your time and energy, and you should see this person less often so that you don’t feel like that again.

These are just simple examples of how the social exchange theory works.

But you might be asking, why does this happen, and how exactly?

Well, here’s how the process looks like for us, regardless of who the other person is:

It begins with what we think we deserve.

If you’ve always had bad relationships, you won’t really expect to be treated with respect by new people either, so that will make you put up with those who don’t deserve your attention. But because you’ve seen plenty of this in the past and are okay with it now, you won’t notice it and will think this is the best you can get;

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Calculating the possible outcomes

Leaving your job with confidence would only be possible if you feel sure that you’ll find something else, and as good, soon. If not, if you’ll have a much lower salary at the new place, or if it’s far away from your home, you might decide to stay where you are now and accept that it’s the best you can get at this moment;

Your definition of fairness

In the end of the day, all that matters is what you think is fair. Depending on how we define this, we create a level of comparison in our heads and evaluate all our interactions with other people based on this. In some cases you’ll give more, in others you’ll expect to get more out of the relationship.

All these combined are how the social exchange theory works.

It’s all about finding the balance between what we give and what we receive. Unfortunately, the balance in all areas of life is usually the hardest thing to achieve. Especially when talking about social life, when other people are involved and we rarely know what’s going on in their heads.

But the importance of this psychological set of ideas is undeniable. Once we truly grasp its meaning and how it happens, we’ll be more conscious when deciding whether or not we should keep someone in our lives.

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Now that we’ve defined the theory and know why it matters, let’s see how we can use it to our advantage and actually form better relationships.

Steps to Take to Improve Our Relationships

1. Think before you act, and before you ask.

That’s a great mindset shift you can make if you want to never feel like you’re giving more where it’s not appreciated , and to make sure you’re investing as much as the other person in this.

Meaning, before doing a favor, rationalize. Think if that person would do the same for you. Only this way can you see when it’s unreasonable and it’s time for you to say ‘no’ and set some boundaries. Otherwise, people will start using you,

The opposite is also true.

When you’re about to ask for something (even if it’s for someone to spend more time with you, give you something, share stuff about his life, or else), think if you’ve given him the same.

This will lead to knowing what type of exchange there is in each relationship in your life, and where you should focus on giving more.

2. Speak up. Talk to them. It shows that you really care.

When someone isn’t treating you the way you think you deserve, talk to them . Say it directly. This will save you both time and unpleasant emotions in the future.

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That might also help him realize his mistake and encourage an eagerness to change. If not, if he doesn’t seem impressed in any way or bothered by that, you’ll know you were right about your feelings and don’t need to keep seeing him.

To make sure you aren’t the one taking more out of a relationship, ask if the other person feels okay around you every now and then. This shows that you care, leaves room for improvement, and can be the game-changer in whether or not a relationship strengthens and lasts longer.

3. Be present.

Thinking about what has been before, having regrets about letting someone get close to you too soon, or wondering what could be different, is a waste of time.

The best thing you can do, that’s great for both of you and anyone else involved, is to practice mindfulness . That means being present and focusing on what’s going on now. Saying things out loud, being here and enjoying other people’s company, and taking action if anything needs to be changed.

Over to you now.

What can you do today to improve your relationships, using what you just learned about the social exchange theory?

Reference

[1]Academia.edu: Social Exchange Theory

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

What Makes a Relationship Boring and How to Avoid It

What Makes a Relationship Boring and How to Avoid It

You’ve finally reached that comfortable spot in your relationship. You finish each other’s sentences and know before they order what the other one will have for lunch at your favorite restaurant. But, it’s starting to feel like boredom to you.

Video Summary

Security Can Lead to Boredom

It is normal to reach this level of security in a relationship. The longer you’re with somebody, the more you get to know them and what to expect from them. This level of familiarity is the cause of relationship boredom.

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Although security is definitely something you want with your significant other, what you don’t want is the boredom. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make is believing that their predictability makes up for the loss of intimacy or excitement they used to feel together.[1] Why? Because this boredom increases your chances of losing the love between you.

When a couple starts to settle for feeling safe and secure, they believe nothing in the world can tear them apart. And this sense of confidence means they often stop putting effort into their relationship. Instead, their shared life becomes automatic, occurring without too much thought or investment and becoming indifferent. The last thing you want is to be in an indifferent romantic relationship. With indifference comes a whole slew of other feelings like annoyance and irritation, which in turn, prompts arguments.[2]

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Don’t allow this to happen to you and your significant other.

How to Prevent Boredom in Your Relationship

So, what can you do to avoid boredom in your relationship? Here are some great ideas to spark the passion and excitement:

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Try Something New Together

There’s nothing better for breaking up monotony than doing something new together. Do you two love taking pictures? Take a photography class together. Do you usually go hiking on the weekends? Throw a zipline or paragliding session into the mix. Research indicates that trying new activities is a great way to beat boredom.

Make a Plan for the Future

No, you don’t have to plan where you’ll buy your house or how many kids you’ll have if you’re not ready for that sort of conversation. You can, however, plan a weekend getaway or a vacation for a few months down the road. Making a plan gives you something to look forward to, which helps fight boredom. According to life coach Kelly Rogers, making plans for the future gives your relationship a little adrenaline rush, making you feel a sense of appreciation for each other.[3]

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Establish a Date Night

In your everyday, mundane life together, it can be easy to forget to make the two of you a priority. Establishing a mandatory date night is a wonderful way to bring you and your significant other together for some quality time. Melanie Schilling, a relationship psychologist, claims that date nights are actually critical to relationship health.[4] Set something specific to do together as often as your schedule allows. It doesn’t have to be dinner at an expensive restaurant either. You can plan a “no cell phone” night, a walk at the park, or even try to recreate one of your first dates together.

Remember to Say “I Love You”

Don’t forget to remind your partner why you are together, especially when boredom creeps its head between you two. Simple things like saying, “I love you” or letting them know how much you appreciate them can help you keep the romance alive in your relationship. Try to think about the happy memories the two of you have shared; it can be far too easy to dwell on the problems. Remembering why and how much you love your significant other is a great way to forget about any boredom you thought you were feeling.

Reference

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