Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Favours And Expectations

It's true what people say. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Even if it's a treat from your beloved best friend forever (BFF) or Daddy.

We all do favours expecting something in return. Money, goods, services, affections, just anything.

At a drop of a tearful call, your BFF will come rushing to soothe your latest break-up anguish. At a timid point of a finger when strolling through the mall, Daddy will feign gruff rejection but make a mental note in his "What-To-Buy-Princess-For-Christmas-This-Year" list.

In return, your BFF will expect you to come rushing to her side if her relationship is on the ropes next time. And Daddy will expect well-organised family gatherings once his dear princess has all grown up.

It will all get better in time

Not true, some may say, as people are capable of doing unselfish acts without expecting anything in return.

But what if the favour goes unreturned? What if you didn't lend a shoulder to cry on when your BFF really needs one? What if you totally forgot your parents' 25th wedding anniversary? BFF and Daddy would be sorely disappointed.

Disappointment... where does disappointment come from? Where else, but unfulfilled expectations, of course.

The Social Contract

In formal relationships, the exchange of obligations and benefits is set in stone. Employees work, employers pay. Students sit for exams, teachers give grades. Citizens elect leaders, leaders govern the country.

In private relationships, the flow of mutual understanding is fluid and opaque. But it's there. Beneath the surface of happy smiles and unconditional promises. Swirling in the murky undercurrents of emotions and conscience. It's always there. Something, somewhere.

Like any contract, a relationship is bound by rules. And with rules, come great expectations.

It's an escapable part of life. No deed is ever done out of pure goodwill. Goodwill begets goodwill. Even charity. You spare a beggar some loose change, and then sees him totter off to the drugstore and buy a pack of beers. Would you donate to the same beggar ever again? No, because you felt your goodwill was wasted. No, because you want your money to be spent on some other worthier beneficiary or cause.

Don't bother helping these bozos

Purposeful Favours, Great Expectations

Same with doing favours for family or friends. Consciously or subconsciously, we dispense favours tied to expectations. It's not so much about being selfish. It's more about doing deeds for a good purpose.

Everything you do, something good must come out of it. Otherwise, all your efforts and energies will be futile. It may not be you receiving the benefit - it can be someone else or society at large. For instance, instead of letting spoilt and ungrateful children inherit your wealth, you're better off donating it away to a trust foundation that helps starving and sickly kids in Africa.

So dispense purposeful favours, coupled with great expectations.


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