Friday, April 22, 2005

Give and Take

First off - so sorry for my lack of posting. I've been working really hard at writing stuff offline and also, my real life keeps getting in the way of my virtual life, and well, it's higher on the triage.

Topic of the day: Givers and Takers. Which one are you?

As a librarian, I'm innately predisposed to categorizing things. One of the things I've noticed (working in a predominantly sales-oriented company) is that you can categorize people as either givers or takers. Sure, there are those that strike a nice balance between giving and taking, but I find that most people tend to lean further one way than the other.

While this is a horrible generalization, I find that sales people tend to be takers. Which is fine, that's just the way it is. People in support roles tend to be givers. Women are usually givers more than men, but it's not always true. I've also found that being a mother doesn't seem to make you more predisposed to being a giver, either.

So - what's a giver and a taker? I think you can likely figure it out.

Givers tend to want to help people - to solve their problems. They supply more than they demand. They tend not to ask for much, even if they actually want or need something. Givers are not necessarily nicer people than takers. They can be resentful and nasty, and often dole out large plates of guilt. They are more sensitive to the words and actions (or inactions) of others, and generally expect more out of (and are usually more disappointed with) humanity than takers.

Takers, especially when it's most extreme case, take everything they can from the system. They will find every loophole they can to get more, and they don't mind asking for things if it will help them out. Takers don't usually think about how their actions might affect others. They also tend to be less sensitive to the world around them. Again, takers are not better or worse than givers, they're just different. They tend not to expect as much from humanity, as a whole, and have a "look out for #1" attitude as a result.

As I mentioned, some people are able to strike a nice balance. Most are not. I, for one, tend to fit the giver model more, although I have found that as I have taken on some taker qualities over the years. Arthur, on the other hand, is a classic taker, with some latent giver qualities that pop up at unexpected times. It seems to work well for us (most of the time).

In my household, a classic giver-taker debacle creeps up every year around this time. My birthday is quite near. One thing that will make or break my day is to be told "Happy Birthday" the minute I wake up. I know - it's pathetic. But my mom, a classic giver, never disappoints. She calls first thing in the morning - often before Arthur gets up, to wish me a happy birthday. Then my older sister - another classic giver, will call within seconds.

Arthur has struggled with this for years. He often doesn't think to wish me a happy birthday until after work (at which point it doesn't count, in my opinion). He doesn't expect a first-thing-in-the-morning happy birthday greeting himself, so in typical taker style, it doesn't occur to him that I would. Of course, being a giver, I'm hyper-sensitive to his actions, and read more into his non-birthday-wishing than is actually there. 'Clearly', goes my irrational logic, 'my mother and sister love me more than Arthur, who is still selfishly curled up in bed'.

One might think that my recognition and rationalization of this whole scenario would bring a more enlightened and jovial perspective to the big day. Sadly, this isn't the case. I believe Arthur's answer to the problem this year is not to get up earlier to wish me a happy birthday, but to unplug the phone before we go to bed! Whatever works.

Anyway - I put the question out there - which are you: a giver or a taker?


At 5:53 PM, Blogger Kate said...

I am a giver. I think that almost everyone in my family's a giver, except my youngest sister and my dad. They're a lot alike actually, so that makes sense.

At 12:23 AM, Blogger sxKitten said...

I'm a giver, a bit on the extreme side I fear. It's a guilt thing - I feel like everyone around me deserves more than I do. However I am, a little late in life, finally learning to ask for what I really need, but it's hard. Dean's a giver too, though, so it's easier than asking my extreme-taker ex, who always made me feel guilty for needing anything at all.

My mom's a giver, although she sometimes gets resentful if people are too demanding - she prefers to give without being asked. My dad doesn't really ask for anything, but he generally doesn't volunteer, either - he'll do anything for anyone but you have to ask.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Retroboy said...

I'm neither........

Not interested enough to be a giver, and too preoccupied to be a taker.......

I'm, lazy!!

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Rich Rosenthal II said...

I like the unplugging the phone option. It's a creative solution.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Carmi said...

I'm a giver. And, yes, I'm a bitter, resentful person because the takers among us don't see fit to even say thank you most of the time.

Maybe I'll feel better about the world if I start taking a little more.

Yeah, that's it!

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Diva said...

I used to be a giver to the point where I felt like a doormat. I worked on this and think I am now able to be a giver when it's deserved and needed and not when someone is just a taker.

So in that respect, I consider myself more balanced.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Eddie said...

I am a taker, although I think I can be a giver at times. As in most circumstances marriage brings the balance in that my wife tends to the giver side. Maybe this is one of those unconscious things you seek in a mate.

BTW retroboy is so full of shit! He is the biggest taker I know and could not help but think exclusively of him in reading your definition (especially the exploiting the loopholes stuff.)

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I think the trick is to convince the takers that they're striving after the wrong things. I'm perfectly happy if my sweet little taker greedily devours my affection.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Trillian said...

I think you all described yourselves the way I would have thought (for the most part), and I agree wholeheartedly with Eddie's description of Retroboy - he is, actually the biggest taker I know!

BTW: Arthur woke me up at midnight to wish me a happy birthday and snuck another one in first thing in the morning for good measure, with at least two hours to spare before mom called! I do believe the phone stayed on the hook.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Peach said...

I'm a taker. But I like to think that I'm a polite taker.

"Please, may I have the last beer and slice of pizza?"

"Thank you for recognizing that my beleaguered sighs mean I'm getting impatient waiting for you to decide between regular or decaf."

Points for effort, right?


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