I’ve always said that selfishness is a sure way to ruin any relationship. I’ve seen countless examples in family situations. In friendships. In professional settings. And definitely in romantic relationships.
I’m regarded as a very giving person. It’s part of my personality. I like to see my loved ones happy and I generally will give what I can without asking for much, if anything, in return. Over the years I’ve realized that my personality is not compatible with selfish natured people. While I don’t expect others to give back 100% of what I provide them I don’t expect them to hold back either. Such occurrences result in an imbalance in the relationship. It’s taxing and hurtful to say the least.
The fact is, nobody is going to be willing to open up to a stingy person. If a person isn’t willing to give their time. If they aren’t open to offering understanding, kindness, a listening ear, money, help, etc, there’s not a likely chance that they would get those same things from another when they need it; and there always comes a time when they will need something. It’s unrealistic to give nothing, or little, and expect a lot in return. Yet people do it all the time. But selfishness doesn’t draw people in. It pushes them away.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people describes a metaphor called the Emotional Bank Account. It’s the amount of trust you build up in a relationship. The idea is that every person you meet opens an Emotional Bank Account with you, and you with them, where deposits and withdrawals are made. Every time something positive is done for another a deposit is made. Every time something negative is done it’s a withdrawal. Just like with a real bank account there needs to be more deposits made than withdrawals otherwise the relationship is at risk. The Seven Habits goes on to give examples of some emotional deposits such as kindness, courtesies, keeping promises, apologies, and humility. It also lists some examples of emotional withdrawals-unkindness, breaking promises, pride, conceit, and arrogance.
I don’t hold the Emotional Bank Account as THE gospel of interdependent relationships. I don’t necessarily agree that you have a relationship with every person you meet. Some you will while others you won’t. I do agree that the deposit vs withdrawal metaphor is a great way to maintain positive balance within a relationship. You get what you give. It’s a must that a person put out into the world the kind of energy they want back from it in return.
Stinginess begets stinginess.