As We Move Forward: Give and Take

Mom and Child

These two words—give and take, can be used to describe what takes place in each of our relationships. Whatever relationships we enter into, we give  who we are and what we bring into the relationship. We take what the other person has to offer that meets our needs. One of the reasons the first smiles of a baby are so much appreciated is the very fact that the beginning of the parent child relationship involves almost total giving on the part of the parents, especially in the infancy stage. It seems as if the newborn takes constantly everything he or she needs to be content. That first smile is seen by the parent as this child giving back love and appreciation.

In early life we learn a lot about the process of give and take in our various relationships. An ongoing question of what is from nature and what is nurture comes from watching a child develop their unique personality and their tendencies to be more of a giver or more of a taker in relationships as they develop.

It is tempting to over simplify our conclusions about where people fall on this give and take scale based on what we think we know about someone. It is easy to conclude that a spoiled, pampered indulged child will show signs of being a chronic taker. While this does sometimes seems like the simplest explanation for certain behavior, it is not always an accurate description of what is happening.

There are certainly occasions where someone who has always seemingly received everything they might want turns out to be more of a giver, while someone who was denied many of these things becomes a taker in their relationships.

What are some of the behaviors that seem characteristic of givers and takers in relationships? Takers seem to be focused on themselves and their needs and wants. They tend to view relationships in terms of what is in the relationship for them and how they can get others to do what they want. In defense of takers, it does seem that. Many of them are unaware of this tendency. They tend to believe that their way of looking at things is the best, if not the only way to see things.

People who tend toward giving have a tendency to see every situation in how it will affect others. Givers often tend to abdicate decision making to takers because they can seem unwilling or unable to make decisions.

Friendships

As we move forward, it can be helpful to look at ourselves and others with whom we are in relationships to see where we line up as givers and takers. As in most things, the goal is to achieve a balance in our relationships. At  the very least, having an understanding of where we fall on this scale in our relationships can help us find the best balance to make all our relationships as productive as they can be.

As we move forward, may we achieve this balance in each of our relationships be our goal.

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