Relationships are tricky. It’s hard to know who to trust and who you can open up to – versus who is taking notes to use against you one day. If only we could sort our friends in to groups so we would know where we stand.
There are, in fact, two categories that we can place everyone we know in – the givers and the takers.
The Givers are the people you notice who don’t ask much from others but are constantly offering their support. They don’t throw your past up in your face, but they offer honest guidance when you ask. They aren’t clingy, they don’t try to come between you and other friends and they let you live your life without judging. These are the people who will take your call in the middle of the night and meet your for breakfast hours later. Their main goal in your friendship is to be a friend to you.
A downside to the giver is that sometimes they martyr themselves and don’t keep their own cups full. This will cause a giver to back away from a relationship and you can lose this friend if you are not aware of your own taking and giving.
The Takers are the people in your business. They give unsolicited advice and constantly criticize your choices. They are there for you – and they don’t let you forget it because you owe them. They are jealous of other friendships and they bring a lot of drama. The worst part of these relationships is that takers keep score. They take notes of your mistakes, they tally up all they have done for you versus what you have done for them. They expect a return for their friendship, and if the score is uneven they will make you pay in guilt trips or passive aggressive behavior. The main goal of their friendship with you is “what’s in it for me?”
An upside of the taker is that they will keep you in your place with brutal honesty. You can count on them to show you the other side of the coin. They may actually believe that they are helping you by being so blunt. Eventually though, you will get tired of being raked across the coals and will choose to care for yourself over this friendship.
Ideally, a healthy balance between the giver and taker would make the best relationships. So, why can’t we walk that line in between? We simply choose not to be mindful of our own behavior and responsibility to ourselves and each other.
We all have relationships in which we are the giver. We all have relationships in which we are the taker. Be mindful of our roles and how we can be more balanced and loving to ourselves and our friends.
Take some time this weekend to meditate on your friendships. Do mending where it needs – maybe take the giver in your life out for a coffee or stand up, kindly, to the taker on your case. It’s all about growing for all of us.