By Scott Westerman
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It is not about the quantity of the friendships you have – it is about the quality of the relationships that you build. ~Fred Jacobs

“The key is in not spending time,” said Stephen R. Covey,  “but in investing it.” You are a person of value. Your quality time is limited so it’s essential that you invest most of it in people who appreciate and reciprocate.

Keith Ferrazzi tells us that the only true way to get a return on a relationship investment is to “give without the expectation of return“. That’s great advice. But it’s also true that your own soul must have nourishment if it is to have the strength to make a difference in the world.

So make sure your portfolio of friends has more than a few reciprocators in it.

Our lives are filled with transactional relationships. We pay for something. They provide it. And that’s the end of the transaction. People mumble, “Thanks for your business” and “Have a great day” after we’ve handed over the cash and they hand over the hamburgers. But they don’t really mean it. This is not reciprocation.

The places we return to, time and again, are populated with authentic souls who are genuinely interested in us, who are proactive in their interactions, who make us feel like what we do for them really means something, who reflect back the positive energy we try to share, even on the rare occasions when our own energy level is low. This is reciprocation.

Reciprocation does not always mean appreciation. The best feedback is honest feedback. Sometimes that hurts. But if it comes from a place of affection, you will ultimately be glad you got it.

One of my all time most popular Monday Motivators talks about the importance of de-emphasizing un-fulfilling relationships and prioritizing people who care. This is a key to personal growth and chasing happiness. Treat everyone as you want to be treated. But over the long haul, don’t invest in people who don’t appreciate it.

It’s ok to give without expecting a return. But not all the time. Long term relationships don’t work if you’re the only one doing the heavy lifting.

People who don’t reciprocate aren’t necessarily bad people. They may have something going on inside that you don’t know about. They may have other priorities. Or they might just not be that into you. That’s ok. If it feels like a temporary thing, hang in there. If it’s a pattern, let em go.

You will get some time back to spend on someone else who appreciates you.