Life Is Not a One Way Street

I recently saw a Facebook friend complaining that not enough people pay attention to her posts by “liking” them or commenting on them. She was specifically referring to some recent photos she put up.  It made me wonder how many things she was “liking” that other people put up.

I am a serial “liker” and I like most posts that friends put up – it is just my nature to do so, and I do it with honesty and good intentions. In fact, my kids think I am Facebook popular ( a dubious honor to be sure) because I get so many responses on my photos and statuses.  There is an easy explanation though -it is because I give out double what I receive!

But this post got me curious –  I looked to see when this FB friend last “liked” one of my posts, blogs, or photos. There was just one a long time back and that was it. (I call this research for my writing, not a waste of time!) Perhaps there were a few others, but I didn’t go back very far. I don’t usually track or check these things. I never expect reciprocation in any form.

Yet some people seem to think it is all about them. That life is a one way street to their destination. I have found the opposite – life is a two way street. Like the Beatles sang, The Love you Take is Equal to the Love You Make.” In other words, you give, you get back in bunches. Reciprocation is a wonderful concept that many people don’t get. My life is rich because it is a two way street. I find that the more and more I give, the more I receive in every aspect of life. Again, it is not expected or a requirement. Life just happens that way.

Here are two more examples: a friend lamented that she was never invited to holiday dinners. So I told her to make her own and invite friends. That will start a cycle of giving and getting invitations back, and she will be occupied and happy on holidays, surrounded by company.

I understand that some people are just natural takers. I am a natural giver, as is my husband. And that is part of our nature, something that is not purposeful – just part of us.

Another example since I promised two: This one kind of annoys me a lot but I haven’t mentioned it before. If I have any passive-aggressive behavior in life, it is about the following.

I have tons of friends and acquaintances that want me to promote in my blog or write a story in the newspaper about the latest greatest thing they are doing. They want some free publicity.  Normally, I respond to as many of these requests as possible. In fact in a room of friends and acquaintances, I would be hard-pressed to find too many people who I haven’t promoted something for in the past years.

In the last year I have cut back though, because these same people (mostly acquaintances and not close, close friends) asking favors (some repeatedly) are not responding to my blog, helping to promote my blog, or otherwise reciprocating for me. It is so easy to reciprocate – it is just a click of a FB or twitter button at the bottom of each of my blogs shares it with others. Or it is as easy as leaving a comment, or talking about it on FB so others notice. That’s how we bloggers get more readers.

I am not complaining – I do a great job of self-promotion and have a lot of regular and loyal readers, but bloggers always need more readers. It is like a marketing game. So of course I HAVE noticed a lack of reciprocation for most of the people who ask me for writing favors. I have never put conditions on these favors, so it is easier for them NOT to reciprocate, I guess.

I don’t go around begging for others to promote my blog, even if they love it. That would make me a taker, and it is not in my nature.  I admit, I am not the slickest salesman, and writing work is 10% talent and 90% selling yourself. Sigh.

So today, I am promoting the basic concept of the two way street. Give and you shall receive. It’s generally the way life works. Am I right?



  • In a perfect world, “give and you shall receive” should happen. I find, however, that in today’s world, that often is not the case. I also have always been a “giver”. For me, it takes more energy (and guilt) to say no to people than to do what comes natural to me. I always “like” posts on facebook (including yours) because I want people to know that I saw what they wrote and it had an effect on me. Likewise, I like when my posts are “liked”. It shows that someone is out there. We all need to be “liked”, even if it’s just a click on facebook. 🙂

  • Well said my dear.
    Over time, I have learned that giving in a way that is meaningful is different than giving. I am pretty certain the lines are blurry as to when and how we give or receive. Many times we give with the intention of receiving in return. We may entertain for business in return, we may meet for drinks or send cards, gifts, etc. with an expectation of something in return.
    Giving with pure heart, usually means no expectations. The return is knowing how good it felt to the person receiving. I have tried very hard over the years to give and forget that I gave. I love the surprises of receiving and it is always a surprise…..

  • Great blog, as usual, Arlene!
    Yes, you are right!
    Funny story, my husband had posted items on FB for several months and never received any “likes” or comments. I checked his settings and found he was only allowing one person to see them!!

  • I can’t imagine life without giving…I know so many people–wealthy ones..who have no idea how to share even the simplest joys in life. My lottery fantasies ALWAYS involve tkaing my favorite people to my favorite vacation spot..instead of taking myself there more often for the same money. I don’t get human nature….

    • Karen, my Lottery fantasy is a future blog topic but it involves establishing a foundation to help people pay medical bills who are sick. I know of several who were bankrupted from illness. As far as human nature, I get it – we are made differently. But who we choose to friend and hang out with is a choice and I will take givers over takers any day of the week!

      • sadly, we sometimes realize too late that who we think are givers are actually takers. I’m looking forward to the lottery fantasy blog.
        Thankfully, I never knew anyone bankrupted by a medical issue..that sounds unimaginable

  • So here’s the thing. I think I tried to subscribe a while ago and couldn’t find the Subscribe button. And if it would make you feel better If you sent me an HTML code button I would be happy to put it on my site.

    Seriously Arlene this is about giving. Back along time ago things were not so good for me. Business sucked, much to my own doing, my late wife was fighting bouts of breast cancer, and my youngest son was diagnosed with Crones decease. He is better now. Flash back to the dinner table long ago. We including my 2 other kids are sitting and dinner with the nightly news playing in the background. A story comes on about a family, total strangers, who had burned out of their home. On the screen comes an address where to send donations. My wife jumps up and runs to the bedroom for her check book at the same time yelling write down the address.

    At that time with all that was going on it was important to her to help out. That has been the not so well kept secret of how my family survived and overcame financial woes. The more you give the more you get back. It is a proven fact. I don’t know where the money comes from. Some would say from God. I am struggling with that because when man created God in his own image we ended up with so many twisted versions. So I figure it comes from force in the greater universe.

    But that is a discussion for another time. Arlene keep on giving. It’s all we know and a Happy Passover.

    • Thanks for reading and responding – it is nice to hear from another Giver! And don’t worry about the subscription. My husband claims it is easy but I know lots who have been unable to and I am a non-techie so don’t ask me!

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