Social Question

Your_Majesty's avatar

Do you think there's a rule that you must return other people's kindness/help?

Asked by Your_Majesty (8212points) April 17th, 2010

Some people who helped you(you didn’t ask) for something seem to think that you owe them something that you must give back in return. Just think about it if somehow people helped your problem,and later on they expect you to do something they want since they once/have already helped you for something(they even remind you of what they did to you).

That’s the reason most of the time I’ll never believe pure honesty when people help me(well,they don’t say they want something but soon or later they’ll demand something from you). Well I don’t force other for their honesty because I understand that there’s no free thing nowadays and there should be reward for your effort.

So,what do you think if someday someone treat you like that? Do you expect something in return for helping others? Can you refuse their demand despite they’ve done something for you? Who do you think is selfish here?

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21 Answers

TheOnlyException's avatar

I don’t really take such a cynical view to life. My parents have always tried to teach me that everyone is out for themselves blah blah but every time I have received help from a friend or whoever, it has not been because they wanted something in return, they genuinely cared about me enough to want to help me without wanting anything in return. Of course I feel guilty and obligated afterwards, but they never call upon it again to get me to do something in return. Never.
It is more that we enjoy the comfort that we are there for each other unconditionally, rather than an eye for an eye.

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

I wouldn’t say their is a rule, but I would think one would want to return the kindness simply because they want to make someone happy for a selfless reason. :)

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think there is a rule.

I don’t think people should offer help in expectation of getting something in return.

By the same token, I will try to help someone, especially if they have helped me in the past.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

There are people who enjoy doing good for others simply for the sake of doing so. Many of us do things anonymously so as not to create a sense of obligation in the recipient.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t think there’s a rule of expected reciprocation and no one has ever demanded anything in return from me after extending help, solicited or otherwise.

Pandora's avatar

I think the rule exist in some peoples minds. But it really depends on the situation.
If someone is always asking me for help. Yes than I expect help in return if someday I should need it. But usually this would be with a habitual needy person.
If I offer to help someone because I choose too and they didn’t ask, than I expect nothing in return.
At least that is the rule in my head.

veronasgirl's avatar

I don’t think it is a rule, But, why shouldn’t you want to return someone’s help or kindness?

La_Perm's avatar

Nothing is free from me. I’ll expect reward if I do something for someone. I call it “Mutual relationship”.

Berserker's avatar

There’s no rule per se, but if you shaft people constantly, they’ll eventually do the same to you.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@veronasgirl If that’s what you think then I’ll clean up your seat as my kindness and I’ll expect you to invite me for coffee at your house in return.

Trillian's avatar

There are no rules stating that you have to return a favor or kindness. Except those of good breeding.

SeventhSense's avatar

No I don’t think so but there is sometimes the sense one gets depending upon the relationship that there could be strings.
The best adage when possible is “neither a lender nor a borrower be” and then you can always sleep soundly..

flo's avatar

As much as possible do not accept the offer. Once in a while when you absolutely need help, take it if it comes from someone who truly just wants to be kind, and make a point of returning the favor without them reminding you.

Jeruba's avatar

There’s no rule. And if someone helped you as part of a bargain for exchange of favors, it wasn’t kindness. It was a treaty.

I have received many favors and kindnesses I’ve been unable to repay. I’ve also done things for people many times, including strangers, when I knew nothing was coming back. That’s the way it works. The rule in practice there is called Golden.

Hexr's avatar

I generally won’t do anything I don’t think someone else can’t return. Not even just because I am selfish, but more as self protection, so people don’t use me. I have found in the past that if I am generous, there is a fine line between people’s mutual generosity and them using me. People have assumed I am giving them hand outs more often than I would have liked in the past. Maybe I just need to start associating with non-selfish people.

Mariah's avatar

Kindness shouldn’t be accompanied by the ulterior motive of, “hey, now you owe me one.” Even so, I do feel compelled to return favors, and to do random favors myself. If I ever felt that someone was doing me a favor simply because I would then have to return it, though… I don’t think I would feel so compelled to help that person out. :P

When I can’t pay back a favor I try to “pay it forward” – that is, when someone does something nice for me, and if I can’t do anything for the person that helped me, I try to do something nice for someone, anyone, or I feel all out of balance. Does that make sense? I want to have given more than I’ve received, when all’s said and done. For instance, I’ll never know who donated the blood that I’ve received; I’ll never be able to thank them. However, I very much would like to donate at least nine units before I die to replace that which I’ve taken.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

A thank you is nice, but no, I don’t expect anything back. That’s not a reason for doing nice things for others. Sometimes, I do things and no one knows it’s me.

lillycoyote's avatar

You don’t really owe anyone who’s done you a kindness anything, except a thank you, unless they have given you the impression that there is some quid pro quo involved in the circumstance. However, I wouldn’t get into the habit or start to develop and attitude that you can continue to accept the benefits of other people’s kindness and never return the favor. All taking and no giving begins to grate on people. Doing something for someone only if you expect something in return is wrong but so is expecting people to do things for you and have you never return the favor, I think.

flo's avatar

@Trillian That answer is to die for.

lonelydragon's avatar

Reciprocity is not a rule, but it is a social norm/expectation. With that said, I think it’s a bit selfish for a person to demand repayment for a favor, especially if s/he didn’t clearly tell the other person that repayment of a particular type would be expected later on. Of course, one good turn deserves another, but demanding repayment makes a person look grasping and uncharitable.

tearsxsolitude's avatar

I think that you should always return kindness and offer help when you can UNLESS they expect it and somewhat demand it. That really bothers me. It’s like they helped you ONLY so that someday you could help them. That’s not cool. They should do it because it’s the right thing to do.

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