The Constants

In any relationship there is the presence of two constants. The first is the concept of quid pro quo. This is a Latin term meaning “something for something.” In a more common understanding it simply means a barter for an exchange.

Quid pro quo in its simplest form is no more than the common exchange of “good morning.” Party A extends this greeting and the return is Party B saying, “yes, good morning”. This is an exchange and it began with what we call a common courtesy. Of course, quid pro quo can be far more complex than this. My only point is every relationship has the constant of quid pro quo.

A Barter for an Exchange

Now some may ask where is the barter in that example? Well, barter is defined as the action or system of exchanging goods or services without using money. Some definitions use the word commodities instead of the word services. A commodity is something of great value. Who can argue common courtesy is not something of great value?

So yes, every relationship has a constant of quid pro quo. Now one may say “I do what I do with no expectation of return“. That is not quite honest. The expectation, in this instance, is your actions will bring a visible and sincere joy to another. There is the exchange, your actions bring joy to another. You in return get to see the other’s joy. It becomes even better when the other demonstrates their appreciation.

The Other Constant

Which brings us to the other constant. That is reciprocity. Reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for a mutual benefit. In other words, I do for others with the understanding that later in time they will do for me.

Now do not confuse this. We do not do for others always with a hidden agenda or motive. Often we do what we do out of kindness. However, the act of kindness towards others often motivates the desire to do for you. That is how we come to the phrase, “I owe you one.”

So Why Currency?

So what does all this have to do with currency? Currency, or money, is simply a symbol of the constants above. However, I would submit currency is more than a symbol. It is a phenomenon.

We accumulate currency so that when we need something we have something to offer for what we need. It is that simple! It works the same in relationships. We accumulate currency by doing deeds for or giving desirable objects to another. One very desirable object is appreciation and or gratitude. Gratitude expressed through an attitude of thankfulness. If we practice this, we are building currency.

With sufficient currency we can often get what we need or even want. So the idea is to make frequent deposits so that when we need to make a withdraw we have currency available.

Conflict and Currency

I have clients that are in conflict with each other. Conflict places burdens on the constants. When one is in conflict it mitigates against the free flow of currency. It replaces the constants with a concept called Entitlement. Entitlement is the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges). There is no need for reciprocity or even quid pro quo. This idea of entitlement often exists whether merited or not. Hence, giving way to the cycle of conflict.


My suggestion! Think of your checking account. You deposit currency so when necessary you can make withdraws. No deposits, no available currency. Then just when you want, or need it, the most, instead you get that dreaded Notice of Insufficient Funds.

That is the currency of relationships.