Networking and relationships have been very topical in the business community over the past few years. It seems that our innate ability to communicate and to form close relationships with others who have a common goal or interest has died.

It has even got to the stage that individuals have developed business networking models to help us to do what comes naturally. Perhaps that is a reflection of our hectic working life, and our time poor lifestyles.

Perhaps too, it is a reflection of our education and upbringing.

I came across an article in the “strategy+business” the other day on this very subject. It outlined four very distinct types of relationships that we may come across, and discussed in detail exactly what they meant in the context of business. I guess that context could be extended to personal relationships.

In essence the author investigated the balance between what I can do to you, what you can do for me, what I expect and what do you expect from the relationship.

What it did highlight was that every relationship that is to go the distance relies entirely on a mutual understanding and respect, a preparedness to offer something with no expectation of a reward, and to accept that something freely offered does not necessarily require a payment in kind or otherwise.

Naturally, in a business sense there is no business model that can be sustained where there is no monetary exchange at some point.

The article concluded by inviting the reader to consider the range of relationships that they have, and to assess them to see if they can be sustained long-term, or whether those relationships are a one-way street and are likely to remain so into the future.

The wise among us will know however, that this assessment will encompass many things past the dollar value.