top of page

Giver and takers

The world is full of givers and takers.

Which one are you?

Over the years I have been with couples as they go through the ups and downs of their relationships. There is a personality trait that can start a pattern sabotaging it right under your nose. 

That trait is one partner tending to be a giver while the other seems to be a taker. If you are a giver by nature you might immediately think that the taker is the problem. I was surprised to learn that this is not the case. In fact, according to Adam Grant, author of ‘Give and Take’, givers can make AND break relationships.

For the giver, generosity really is its own reward. Happiness and happiness-related brain activity goes up when giving and leaves givers in a happier overall state than those who tend to be selfish. Takers are self-focused and put their own interests ahead of others. They try to gain as much as possible while contributing as little as they can. This doesn’t hit the happy brain button.

Adam Grant, author of 'Give and Take'

According to Adam, there is another type outside of givers and takers  -  matchers. He says “matchers like to preserve an equal balance of giving and taking.” Their mindset is: “If you take from me, I’ll take from you. If you give to me, I’ll give to you.”

In relationships, there is rarely a perfect balance between giving and taking. 

If you: 

~make your partner the focus of your life 

~make them your everything

~always fulfill their demands, 

this can have serious consequences. 

First, the takers will likely feel pressured by the extreme giver who is constantly doing for them. It can be uncomfortable when someone is always sacrificing. The giver too may find themselves in a situation where their actions are not valued or recognized. They may feel that competition is in play, and their relationship is the gaming circle. Everything they had invested, time, affection, and energy into, they might never recover. Finally, they might feel it was all in vain and their self-esteem goes down. Givers and takers fall into the most unhealthy extremes for relationships, and real happiness is rarely achievable.

It turns out most people behave as matchers while givers and takers represent the two extremes. The generous in our society is definitely the givers, but the matchers play the most important role. They make sure what goes around, comes around. They reward givers for their generous behavior and seek revenge when they, or others, are being taken advantage of.

Love with everything you've got

It’s ok for one person to “invest” a little more, but both members of the couple should commit themselves equally in the relationship, with similar costs and benefits for both. Therefore reciprocity can exist between you. It’s a dynamic and proactive balance where both of you win.

Some people have spent so much time being a “giver” that they do not really know what it means to be a taker from time to time. The same happens in reverse. A person who has spent half a life taking may be pleasantly surprised by the satisfaction of giving.

There’s no need to be obsessed with a 50/50 split between givers and takers. Profit and loss in a relationship needn’t be measured to the penny. We give to people in very different ways and at different times. Give your attention, your ear, and your compliments, the important thing is that there be reciprocity.

Givers who learn to successfully navigate a world with Matchers and Takers fare very well. Everyone loves them, trusts them, and supports them.

Love, Honor, and Respect,



bottom of page