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Have you ever changed or done something kind or generous, expecting something in return? This can be a subtle gesture or something extremely contrived.


Doing something nice with the expectation of getting something in return is a hazardous approach to personal and professional relationships.


I call it "the hook".


While generosity and kindness are virtues, when executed with a hidden agenda, they lose authenticity and can lead to adverse outcomes.


This mindset turns acts of kindness into transactions. Instead of being genuine gestures of goodwill, they become investments from which returns are expected. This transactional view of relationships can lead to disappointment and resentment, mainly if the expected return doesn't materialize. People are often adept at sensing when kindness comes with strings attached, which can lead to mistrust and strained relationships.


This approach undermines the fundamental value of generosity. The joy and satisfaction derived from selfless acts are significant rewards in themselves. However, when I expect something in return, my focus shifts from the other person's happiness to my own gain. This shift not only diminishes the quality of my generous acts but can also affect my mental and emotional well-being. The continuous evaluation of what I get in return for my actions can lead to a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and a feeling of being undervalued or taken for granted.


In a professional context, such behavior can damage my reputation. Colleagues and superiors can view this kind of generosity as manipulative or self-serving. This perception can hinder professional relationships and growth, as trust and authenticity are vital components of a healthy work environment.


This practice can become a harmful cycle. When I condition myself to expect returns for my kindness, I may start neglecting acts of genuine generosity. Over time, this can lead to decreased empathy and increased cynicism.


It is natural to desire appreciation for our kind deeds, but actively expecting tangible returns can be detrimental. Genuine kindness is unconditional.


How about you? Could you be consciously or unconsciously expecting something in return when you give?


Watch for the blind spots.


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