The Givers and the Takers… who wins or loses?

The Givers and the Takers

I have been kicking around some ideas about the type of people that get into relationships.  For the sake of this article I have broken down people into

two separate and distinct categories.

Givers and Takers.



In a relationship you can have combinations.  For example you can have two Takers together.  The relationship is maybe politically motivated, financial motivated or even status motivated to help a career (Hollywood comes to mind).  Each takes all they can while they can for personal and or selfish gains.  As long as each has a lot to take from, the relationship endures.  But it isn’t deep or satisfying to the soul that we all hope relationships could be.  Once there is no more to take, the parties split up and look elsewhere.

It can be a single Mom raising kids that grabs a guy for the security of her family.  She is only in it to take what she can to ensure her children have a home and a roof over their heads.  Why that is noble for her to want to protect her offspring, she is taking from the other not giving, and for self serving reasons.  She may even put up with abuse and bad behavior as long as she can take enough back to keep the family in food and clothes.  The man believes he gets to act out and mistreat her, get sex and do what he wants because he is taking from her and not giving anything back.  Sad to see those types of relationships continue for years and eventually screw up the children.

While there maybe other labels you can attach to this type of behavior, one or both are taking from each other constantly.

Givers and Takers

Then you can have a Giver and a Taker together.  The giver by nature brings all they can into a relationship, sacrifices much to add to the relationship and give to the other.  The Taker, meanwhile, has discovered a free ride, does no heavy lifting, and takes as much as they can for as long as they can.  They may even coerce or guilt the giver into giving more.  In the end the giver is used up, heartbroken and the taker just walks away with all their needs met.  Often times in a new relationship in a matter of weeks.

Takers can spot a giver a mile away and prey upon them like an animal for hunting.   Givers tend not to be able to spot a taker very easily early in life.  Often times it takes several ruined relationships to grasp what has been the problem.  And it becomes a challenge for the giver to stand up for themselves and avoid being sucked into another one-sided relationship.  Sometimes anger and resentment builds to the point hat they will say out loud they never want to be with someone again.  While the taker is already out hunting again for their next victim and has no such fears or concerns.


For whatever reason, takers can spot a giver a mile away.  They have learned how to do and say the right things to worm there way into the nest.  Once in they change quickly and start on the cycle of taking while the giver is unsuspecting and believing this is just part of a committed relationship.  They are convinced the need to give more and then everything will get better.  Compromise is just a code word for the taker to take more while the giver looses more.

Two Givers. 



Since this author has never been in a relationship that has had two givers in it, I will speculate on how it might be like.  Being a giver and not a taker, I now find myself wanting to be with someone that is a giver.  I imagine each willing to give more in a relationship then they ever expect to receive and then, getting more back as a result of their mate doing the same. I envision each taking the time to put the needs of their partner ahead of their own and finding their partner doing the same down the road and enriching their lives, not sucking the life out of them.


I imagine this type of relationship would be deeper and more meaningful if such a way to measure relationships where available.  I’d expect the caring for each other to be much more genuine and enjoyable.


So how do you spot one or the other?  Let me give you some examples in my own experience that has given me some semblance of a sniffer to detect these two types.


A giver will cook a meal and make leftovers available to the other person on the days that person works late.  A taker will wait and not cook anything and when you walk in the door will ask you what’s for dinner.  Or even worse if the taker finally get’s hungry will cook the minimalist amount for themselves and then claim they didn’t make any for you cause they didn’t know when you were coming home.

You can use any other example that comes to mind.  I only washed my clothes because I didn’t want to ruin yours.  A giver will invest their time with you and a taker will ignore you and spend the minimalist amount of time with you to get what they need. If they can find a newer victim to take from, out the door they go.

On a date the taker will pay attention to everyone else except the other person.  For example I took a taker to a basketball game and she spent all night talking to a perfect stranger to her side and said nary a word to me the entire game.  She did high fives and fun stuff with the neighbor and not once did she lean over to me to have any meaningful communication. Why should she, I was already in the corral and didn’t need any attention.

The taker will interrupt and always try to direct the conversation.  They will never acknowledge how and what the other said and seldom attempts to ask any questions to find out more about the other person.  It’s all their experiences and how they relate to the topic.  They prey upon a givers ability to allow others to come first and never stop to pay attention.


Recently I was out with a nice woman that during our conversation said “tell me more!”  I was almost tongue tied and surprised that she wanted to know more about me.  My mind went blank for a bit because I was not used to someone else caring or giving enough to put my needs/thoughts ahead of hers.   I really had a moment here trying to grasp the concept of someone asking me about me!  I finally blurted out the answer to her request with “Rice Milk” which led to even more discussions we would have never had.  It actually was a deep and meaningful discussion about diet and taking care of ourselves.

If you are a giver you crave this kind of discussion.  You want to know about the other person so you can connect with them on a deeper lever. Spending an hour talking/listening is an enjoyable thing. However, if you are a taker, you want to move to the next target and see what is there to exploit.  You won’t even remember the salient points of the discussion later on.

Use of I and me in speech and writing.


During the last election to men were running for sheriff in a local county.  The Captain/giver (and now Sheriff) spoke about his department with us and we.  While his opponent, Mr. Taker, was an “I and me” guy and wanted everyone to know how good he was and that he’d be taking all the credit for things (Classic taker).  I can remember texting the Captain during a radio show debate about his opponent’s use of the language and how self serving it was.  It was actually sickening after an hour to hear The Taker go on about himself.  After campaigning and getting to know the Sheriff I can say he fits the mold of the giver and just what the sheriff department needed.  His speech was a way into how he perceived things.

Pay attention to how the other person speaks or writes.  It may be a give away to which category they fit into.


While this is just a cursory glimpse of givers and takers, it is incumbent on us to know what we are walking into in this area.  Can two takers co-exist?  Sure, until one runs out of goods or one of the takers finds another to take from.  I don’t believe this type of relationship is very deep or meaningful.  I know these people and I don’t let them too far into my life.

Takers and givers may survive a long time until events transpire to shock the giver into reality.  The giver may become bitter as they wake up and realize what they have allowed to happen to them, and for how long.  I’ve met a few.  The Taker may realize the gravy train is about to end and head elsewhere while feigning love for the giver and stringing them along.  But in the end the Taker is off to the next victim and the Giver is heartbroken and angry at themselves.


Givers are givers by nature.  Taking is a foreign concept and we don’t even think that way.  We seek people out to help by our very nature.  But as we get older we have come to realize we want the same given back to us from a mate.  No more empty giver-taker relationships.  And when you find a giver, you don’t want that person to pass you by.

What and who are you really?  I am not convinced you can change your personality over a long period of time.  You can fool someone for a time, but eventually the real you will show through.

I have always believed it is “better to give than receive” and I will add, “Just don’t take advantage of me because I am wiser now!”


Paul Smith

Former Two Time Candidate for Congress

Concert Bassoonist

Salsa Dancer


Short URL: http://www.smithheggumreport.com/?p=2749

Posted by on Nov 11 2012. Filed under Current, Paul Smith, Political, Sacramento, United States. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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