A favor is when you perform an act of kindness without demanding anything in return.
A trade is when you offer something of value in exchange for something else of value.
Neither one of these is superior to the other. There’s a time for doing favors and there’s a time for engaging in acts of trade.
The most important factor is that you’re honest with yourself and clear with others about which one you’re actually doing. Whether you expect something or not, always make it known.
Don’t do anyone any favors unless you’re truly okay with getting nothing in return except for the satisfaction of knowing you were a blessing to someone else.
If you’re the type of person who gets bitter and upset about people not responding to your acts of kindness in a certain way, then the burden of communication is on you to make your expectations clear.
If you perform a helpful gesture with the hope that it will benefit you, don’t pretend as if you’re doing a favor. Those types of games will only lead to conflict and resentment.
Be truthful with yourself and be confident in your dealings with others. Simply call it what it is–an act of trade in which you scratch someone’s back with the expectation that they will do the same.
If you do that, you’ll not only be more likely to get what you need, but you’ll also help defeat the misconception that there’s anything wrong with putting a price tag on your offerings of value.
That’s my two cents (with no expectation of anything in return),