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Fair Exchange of Value

by Ron Kurtus (11 January 2002)

The basis of business is the exchange of something of value for money. A fair exchange of valuable services is also the rule in interpersonal relations.

It is important to reciprocate, because people get angry when they provide something of value and don't get anything in return

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Business exchange

One part of every business transaction or exchange is money.


A company may have a product or service that is considered valuable or important to a customer, who may be a consumer or another business. The customer will pay valuable money for the product or service.


A person may have a skill that is needed and considered valuable to a company. They may hire that person to provide the service in exchange for a sufficient amount of money or wages.


A person or business may have money and want a valuable product or service, so they make the exchange. They buy what they consider valuable to them.

Personal exchange

In personal interactions and relationships, money is usually not part of the formula. Most often, it is an exchange of services.


When you say "Good morning" to someone, you are greeting the person and wishing him or her a good morning. A returned "Good morning" is a valuable service to you, because it means the other person wishes well to you too.


If a friend does you a favor, you will immediately provide him or her with the valuable service of your appreciation. Also, if the person is ever in need, you will reciprocate with providing a valuable favor.


When you talk to another person, the act of listening to you is a valuable service. Everyone likes to feel that what they say is important and interesting. In return, you should listen to what the other person has to say. This is the exchange of a valuable service.

Should reciprocate

It is important to reciprocate, because people become angry when they do not get something in exchange for what they gave.


In business, if you provide a product or service to a customer, you expect to be paid the agreed-upon amount of money. Likewise, if you pay for something, you expect to receive the product or service. If this does not happen, you may become angry and seek legal means to get what you wanted. Not completing the exchange in a business transaction can be considered a criminal act of stealing.


If you provide another person with a service and the person does not reciprocate or even show appreciation, you can become irritated or even angry.

No greeting

A person who does not answer a "Hello" or say "Thank you" after opening the door for him or her is considered rude. You have given them something of a small amount of value, and common decency says they should return some value to you. In general, you will not care to deal with such a person again, if you have a choice. Or, you may have an impression that this person lacks character.

No favor

When you do a favor for a friend, it is usually understood that you may receive a favor from him someday. At the very least, even if you say you don't want anything in return, you expect a sign of appreciation from what you did. If the person does not reciprocate in some manner, you may judge him or her as lacking character and will probably not do a favor again. Sometimes friendships are lost when the other will not help out, especially when a favor is "owed" to the other person.

Won't listen

Listening and showing interest to another is a valuable service. If the other person does not care to listen to what you have to say, the relationship can become strained.

If you listen to another person talk, you expect he or she will reciprocate by listening to you. Interestingly enough, many people who have a lot to say also do not care to listen to what others have to say. They like to receive but don't give in return. It is possible, though, that a friend who only talks will reciprocate the value given through some other acts. Certainly, two people who want to talk do not fit well together as friends. A talker needs a listener.


In business, people exchange products and services for money or vice versa. Likewise, in interpersonal relations you exchange such services as listening to the other speak and favors. It is important to reciprocate, because people get angry when they provide something of value and don't get anything in return.

Be considerate and you will succeed

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


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