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Are You a Giver or a Taker? Why Does it Matter?

By Blogger
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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

I think that most people fall into one of two categories: givers and takers. The givers are those whose personalities guide them to doing for others, going out of their way to please, volunteering, and generally giving of themselves, their time, and their resources for the good of others. The takers are those whose personalities tend to place them on the receiving end of the givers’ giving.

Everyone changes roles occasionally, such as during the holidays when the takers give gifts to the givers which then turns the givers into takers. But I’m talking about personalities here--the tendency for someone to be one or the other.

The reason I bring this up is because the givers can sometimes tire of always feeling like the generous and thoughtful one in a relationship, and that can lead to resentment and stress. The point: takers need to give the givers a break once in a while and give to them. Conversely, the givers need to allow themselves a break and accept the giving from the taker.

I think most of us like to think of ourselves as givers, but that just isn’t true for everyone. Oftentimes it never even occurs to the takers to give once in awhile. Conversely, the givers have a hard time taking. Please note that there is no judgment here; it simply is what it is.

For example, I know a woman who is caring for her two children and her very ill husband. She is, by nature, a giver and her husband is, by nature, a taker. She is under tremendous stress trying to take care of everyone’s needs, often at the expense of meeting her own. Once in a while, however, she is at the end of her rope and is ready to explode.

That’s what happened recently, and she said, “I’m the giver in this relationship and just once I’d like to be the taker, even if only for a little while!”

Her husband replied, “It would be bad if there were two takers.”

How about two givers? It never even occurred to him! Again, no judgment here, just the facts.

To all of you takers out there: please give your givers a break and switch roles for a while.

To all of you givers out there: LET THEM!

Add a Comment4 Comments


Thank you for your comments. I'm sorry to hear of your breakup, and even sorrier to hear that you were doing all of the giving. Something tells me that I'm not going to hear from any "takers" in these comments!

February 5, 2011 - 6:34am
EmpowHER Guest

I would agree with that. It wasn't until the breakup of a relationship that I realised that I had been doing all the giving (emotionally speaking). My ex-partner who I had adored was really a taker, but you know whats its like when you are in the depths of the relationship and you love someone... you don't perhaps notice it until after its over.What you thought was there.. wasn't really.

February 5, 2011 - 3:51am

David! Thank you for addressing this disparity in human relationships. Your article is truly meaningful and pertinent. We all need to take a step back and truly look at the roles we play in our relationships and whether they are nurturing or draining. Thank you and congratulations on a well written and insightful article.

December 31, 2010 - 5:35am
Blogger (reply to GYPSY)

Thank you for your kind words - it was very "giving" of you to take the time to express them here... hmmm, I wonder which role you find yourself in the most...

February 5, 2011 - 6:33am
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