We tend to reciprocate like with like. It’s an automatic way of responding to situations we find ourselves in. So when we’re in an argument, we add to the arguing. When we feel criticised, we look for faults in others. We instinctively give back whatever it is that we receive. So can you do anything to change the nature of a tense situation? Try changing tactics. If you take someone by surprise with a generous gesture, you may be surprised by what they offer in return.