Here is an interesting theory by Adam Grant, author of
"Give and Taker."
The theory can help you excel in your professional life and Love.
The theory offers a fantastic insight into romantic relationships.
The fairy tale, the dream of finding someone with whom you can spend the rest of your life with has been programmed into your subconscious from as early as you can remember.
The stories, Hollywood, Bollywood…Once upon a time, the prince found his princess, and they lived happily ever after.
Then the high’s and lows of searching for him or her.
When you meet him or her you will just know, there will be a spark, the birds flying tweeting and then the wedding bells.
The truth is we are attracted to people for many different reasons.
Maybe it's physical attraction, the way they make us laugh, their honesty, perhaps because we believe they won't push our buttons or they won't trigger our insecurities. We feel safe and protected with them and by them.
We may feel comfort, affection, protection, etc, but the role of romantic relationships is through growth to help us become the best version of ourselves.
In order to find consistent satisfaction and fulfilment in romantic relationships, requires a space to heal, grow and authentic dedication to your partner.
Grant says that people fall into one of three categories:
Whatever categories you belong to can determine how happy you are in relationships as well as your attractiveness to others.
Have you ever felt, for example, that you were not good enough in a relationship? Has a significant other ever taken advantage of you?
Did you ever feel you were giving your all to someone and ended up completely worn out?
Then you may be what Grant calls a "giver."
The giver style has its downsides; givers are also considered most attractive—and the most likely to have long-term love.
I help my clients craft their message when it comes to finding the one. The number one highly desirable trait men and women look for in a potential partner is kindness.
Affection is a core character trait for givers. A trait that strongly affects the endurance of a relationship.
To understand what your style is and how to make the best of it, here is a brief description:
As you can imagine a givers wants to take care of others and contribute in a positive way. It’s their strongest motivator.
Givers often think about gifts for their partner or about things they can do for them. They take their partner's perspective into consideration. Givers make awesome partners. Who wouldn't want a partner like that?
Everyone likes a giver.
However, in the wrong relationship, givers can think there is something wrong with them because they tend to take the blame. They may even mistakenly think they are unlovable or just not good enough because a giver tends to take responsibility for the health of a relationship rather than blaming their partner or external factors.
With a partner who does not reciprocate this kindness and tendency to take responsibility for their actions, givers can end up burned out, exhausted, dejected and sad.
Matchers keep tabs in a relationship. An expectation is set that when they give, they will receive something in return.
There is an expectation for a transactional relationship. When a matcher receives, they feel they have to give something back.
Matchers are the ones most likely to say things like, "I did this for you, but you didn’t do that for me," or "You paid for this, so I’ll pay for that."
Takers are just what you think they are. They usually treat people well if those people can help them reach their goals. They often appear charming and charismatic.
Takers primary motivation is of self-interest; they know how to work the crowd.
You can recognise a taker by how poorly they treat people they believe will not be able to do anything for them.
You know you’re in a relationship with a taker when you feel like they’re sucking you dry financially, emotionally, and otherwise. They may demote you to the “insignificant” area of their life once they have taken everything they want.
At this point, you're asking which type is most successful in relationships?
Before you read ahead, think about it. Which category do you fit into?
Who do you feel amongst the three styles are the happiest and most successful?
Grant says It’s the givers who are the happiest and successful.
And who is the least successful?
Surprised? How is that possible?
Successfully navigating the world is key, and givers who navigate with matchers and takers fare very well.
What’s not to love about a giver? Everyone trusts them, supports them when they are in need.
SO what makes a giver also the least successful?
Because if they don’t figure out how to navigate the world, people end up taking advantage of them.
If you’re a giver, professionally or personally you’ve probably been there.
Let me tell you about Adam* and Sarah*. Adam is a taker, and Sarah is a giver.
Sarah ended up completely worn out because she spent all her savings time, and energy keeping up with Adam demanding more. Adam would from time to time surprise Sarah with extravagant meals and holidays, just enough to keep Sarah interested and because it suited him.
So, what makes a successful giver?
There is a list of great ideas presented by Grant in his book, but the one that stands out the most is becoming a "mindful giver."
Mindful of what?
Trust your gut when you meet and spend time with people. The world has givers, matchers, and takers, watch people’s words and actions, you will know who's who.
When you navigate romantic relationships, friendships, or business partnerships, investigate which category your potential partner belongs to and don’t get blown away by first impressions.
(Remember, takers are masters of first-impression; they have charm and charisma.)
Let’s take a moment to explore non-romantic relationships; we are all good at that right?
Here is how you can deal with matchers and takers:
Adopt a matcher-like attitude.
Start speaking in terms like:
"OK, so we agree: You will do this, and I will do this."
You're clarifying and confirming rather than assuming.
That’s what happened for Razia shortly after arranging to work with someone on a project she discovered that the person she was working was a taker. She confirmed and clarified roles and responsibilities before the event, so it was clear, and there was no room for “You took over” or “I did that for you”.
What about in romantic relationships?
"In the most successful relationships, both partners are Givers… In other words, when a romantic relationship works, even Matchers and Takers are focused on giving. Both partners might give in different ways, but they should be willing to support each other without expecting something in return. That said, when things get too far out of balance, I think we all become Matchers." ~Adam Grant
Take Zohaib and Sam they care about each other's needs. When they disagreed, they are both quick to offer apologies. They are mindful of each other's needs and best interests.
Now, this did not come without a little work in identifying which one of them was a matcher, giver or taker. They had to dig deep and be honest, the result they are working together in a partnership to grow a flourishing relationship.
As a coach, I am often asked who would make the best partner, let me let you into a secret; it’s in your best interest to find a partner who is a giver.
Because of givers’ affectionate, service-oriented qualities.
Givers need to feel fulfilled and unless you support them as they support you. If they don’t feel fulfilled they will eventually feel worn out and perhaps even leave. That’s what happened to Sarah, and she arrived at the point that she was considering ending the relationship.
As Grant says, givers are the ones who end up being most successful and happy as long as they don't let others take advantage or step all over them.
Data shows that a lifestyle characterised by kindness, compassion & gratitude leads to greater personal fulfillment, as well as health and happiness.
If you want to be happy and successful, start flexing those giving muscles.
Here are some tip I share with my clients:
Seek help and lots of it!
If you want other people to be givers, the sure-fire way is to ask for help.
You're not burdening anyone by asking for help. You're helping someone who is a giver by giving them an opportunity to express their values and feel valued.
And here is the thing if you are a matcher you can count on having an opportunity to reciprocate.
So if you're looking for a spark when you first meet, it’s your responsibility to create a spark.
(Believe it, or not many of my clients said there was not that “spark” when they met their partner, it came over time through the things they did)
So the secrete in creating that spark is reciprocity, giving and taking, asking for what you need and also giving. The same applies to the workplace and business.
Help generously and without thought of return; but don’t forget to ask for what you need as well.
It’s over to you.
Let me know how you are getting on.
I would love to hear from you.
Until next time
*Names have been changed.
PS here is a video of Adam Grant explaining, giver, taker & Matchers.
“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.” ― Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland