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How to Exercise Influence: The Law of Reciprocity – Part Two

The Law of Reciprocity – The Basis of All Human Interaction

“We Treat Other People the Way We Think That They Are Treating Us”


I trust you will find these corollaries to be helpful to you.

In the last newsletter on the Law of Reciprocity we looked at the first fourteen corollaries to deepen our us understanding as to how human interaction tends to work.

In this edition of the “Whys” leader, we will look at the remaining 23 corollaries.

First, let’s review the definition and meaning of reciprocity.

It is the basis of all human interaction.

If the score is fine, we are OK

I call this being in “Cruise Control”.

If we do not like the score, we think we are losing, our reptilian brain goes crazy.

In other words, the way most of us live is, “You scratch my back. I’ll scratch your back. Yes, but you are not scratching where I am itchy.

Well, you should be itchy where I am itchy.

What’s your (blankety blank) problem, anyway?

And even when you do (scratch where I’m itchy) you are doing for you (to get what you want), not for me (to get what I want).”


In a way, the Golden Rule is wrong; rather than treating others as we would like to be treated, it is wiser and better to treat others as they would like to be treated.

Example: The six year old boy who gives his mother a red fire truck or Nintendo War Game to her for her birthday because that is what he would have liked from her.

There are thirty three first principles or corollaries to the Law of Reciprocity.

The Law of Reciprocity: First Principles (Continued)

 Corollary Fifteen:

There is no growth in our comfort zone and no comfort in our growth zone


Corollary Sixteen:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


Corollary Seventeen:

Communication is the reaction that you get.


Corollary Eighteen:

We do not (cannot, must not) change our nature; we change the nature of our interaction,


Corollary Nineteen:

We tend to judge our spouse by their actions (“What you did is so wrong”) and ourselves by our intentions (“Don’t be so sensitive, you know I didn’t intend to hurt you”), when in fact it should be the exact opposite, that is, love requires us to judge our spouse by their intentions and ourselves by our actions, that is our effect on them.


Corollary Twenty:

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.


Corollary Twenty One:

I am always like this, except when I’m not; and except when I cannot be. (Self, Situation, System)


Corollary Twenty-Two:

 Life is intrinsically dichotomous, thus fundamentally dissonant.


It is a “two edged sword”, “a two sided coin”, “six of one, half dozen of another”, “the lesser of two evils”, “neither this nor that”, the “devil and the deep blue sea”, “people want to have their cake and eat it too”, a “rock and a hard place”.

This means three things:

1)  Both people in an argument are (usually) right, and wrong.

2)  The answer to everything is, “It depends”.

3)  Everybody is “stuck” about something.

When arguing, facilitate the dissonance between each partner’s opposing yet individually valid point of view, by envisioning the whole (what will advance or elevate the marriage), by resisting the temptation to have your side win out at the expense of the other’s, and thereby resolve the tension by creating a solution that meets and exceeds both parties needs; one that contains elements of each partner’s opposing viewpoint, but is superior to each.

More cryptically stated, learn how to elevate the conversation, advance the relationship and in so doing create a transcendent resolution.


Corollary Twenty Three:

All of us are the same, all of the time.

Some of us are the same, some of the time.

None of us are the same, none of the time.


Corollary Twenty Four:

It is natural to want to be married; it is not natural to (know how to) be married.

Corollary Twenty Five:

It is not people who disappoint us, it is their behavior.


Corollary Twenty Six:

The litmus test for having “good” as opposed to “bad” reciprocity in your relationships: your “but what about me” becomes “but what about you”.


Corollary Twenty Seven:

A single problem can have a thousand answers and a single answer can solve a thousand problems.


Corollary Twenty Eight:

Everything is reciprocal and interactional.

So when you are in a positive reciprocal relationship, each of you will end up saying, “I didn’t change, but I am different (better).”

In other words, you changed each other, by insisting that they must not change, but be who they are (See Corollary Fourteen)


Corollary Twenty Nine:

Language determines the conversation.

The conversation determines the relationship.

The relationship determines the outcome.

Language does mean solely words.

And facilitative language certainly does not mean being “nice”, “polite”, “B_ _ _.Shooting” or blowing smoke”

By language I mean: (words + context/situation + intent + mindset + outcome)


Corollary Thirty:

If you don’t know what the right decision is, make the decision in the right way.


Corollary Thirty One:

The problem is the problem; you are not the problem.


Corollary Thirty Two:

The goal is not to be perfect; the goal is to be successful.


Corollary Thirty Three:

The primary paradox of human nature is that when conflicted, people will do anything to make their lives better, except the very thing they need to do. So the question we must keep asking ourselves is, “Why am I making myself out to be so helpless?” And, “If I didn’t make myself feel so helpless, what would I do?”


Corollary Thirty Four

The Anatomy of an Argument: We argue about my pen (whatever), then in two minutes, we are arguing about how we (you) argue!


Corollary Thirty Five:

The Nature of Human Conflict:

“I am a good person and I am so right about this issue…”

  1. “I am trying so hard…”
  2. “There must be something wrong with him/her.

The real problem is that we do not know how to communicate with each other.


Corollary Thirty Six:

What People Really Want?

People want to be right, and they want the glory for being right.


Corollary Thirty Seven:

Nothing in life is difficult, just new.

So there you have it.

The Law of Reciprocity and its’ derivatives.

The important lesson to note is that reciprocity, its’ law and its’ corollaries, is the basis of all human interaction,.

Review, dissect and even scrutinize them well.

I think you will find that they apply across the board quite nicely, thank you.

For more on this topic, we recommend the following


How to Exercise Influence When
You Have No Authority

Political Cunning, Shrewdness, Savvy and Power
for the Unschooled and Disinclined

Click Here For Video and Full Description


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