Are You Giving or Getting?

March 25, 2013

Give takeI’m a firm believer in focusing on giving rather than getting, especially in relationships. That’s not some warm, fuzzy platitude about being a good person, though givers are invariably nicer to be around than getters, or takers. Rather, giving is good strategy. There is a large body of research that shows giving makes people happy. Generosity and its twin Gratitude are infinitely more personally rewarding than Selfishness and its twin Want. The former reflects an attitude of continual abundance, the latter of perpetual scarcity. 

Consider the following phrases, all of which describe today’s mating environment:

  • Get a number.
  • Get IOIs (indicators of interest).
  • Get a date.
  • Get stood up.
  • Get the upper hand.
  • Get laid.
  • Get her jealous.
  • Get suspicious.
  • Get off.
  • Get a blow job.
  • Get LJBF’d.
  • Get some on the side.
  • Get an STD.
  • Get pregnant.
  • Get used.
  • Get taken advantage of.
  • Get dumped.
  • Take a break.
  • Take off.
  • Take control.

See how that works? Getting is all about You.

Now consider the opposite:

  • Give time and attention.
  • Give encouragement.
  • Give your number.
  • Give him a shot.
  • Give respect.
  • Give the truth.
  • Give consent.
  • Give appreciation.
  • Give hugs.
  • Give affection.
  • Give treats.
  • Give compliments.
  • Give support.
  • Give your word.
  • Give an orgasm.
  • Give trust.
  • Give the benefit of the doubt.
  • Give love.
  • Give yourself in marriage.

Giving is all about The Other.

There’s the constructive effort of making:

  • Make love.
  • Make a commitment.
  • Make a life.
  • Make a home.
  • Make a baby.

Making is all about We.

I can already anticipate your protests:

“When I give I just get taken advantage of.”

“No woman wants a doormat.”

“Chicks dig jerks.”

“I demand respect.”

Being a Giver does not mean getting shafted, provided you bestow your gifts on a fellow Giver. Where Givers most often go wrong is in trying to make things work with Takers. Let Takers get with other Takers – they can enjoy making one another miserable with their adversarial dynamic. Competition makes for very dysfunctional relationships.

Your best strategy, as always, is to filter aggressively to weed out Takers. When you find a fellow Giver, go all in. Give it everything you’ve got. The rest will take care of itself.