I love to read, and one of my favourite books is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. In it, Mark explains three categories people fall into: Givers, Takers, and Matchers.
You’re probably wondering what those are, so here’s a quick rundown:
Givers pour forth and give whenever it’s needed, sometimes too much.
Takers take whenever they need to but also keep taking past the point of where they should.
Matchers will match what they experience. They will give to a giver and ask for what they need from a taker. They will keep score and act according to what they see as fair.
So, here is the big question:
Are the people around you givers, takers, or matchers?
And which one are you?
Let’s go into these in a bit more detail, starting with:
What is a taker?
Now, takers are in no way the enemy, but their approach to life could be disruptive at best and destructive at worst. Often they are unaware of the impact they are having, or sometimes, sadly, they simply lack care for others.
Let me tell you a story.
A few years ago, I went out to eat with a group of very wealthy friends. We agreed to split the check – however, as I was the last to pay, I realised no one had included anything extra to tip the server. So, it fell to me to tip for the entire table, which I gladly did, as I used to wait tables myself and know how difficult it can be – anyone who’s worked in hospitality will agree, I’m sure.
When I pointed this out to the rest of the party, they merely laughed and said they’d remember next time. But next time, the same thing happened.
Whether they intentionally avoided tipping or simply forgot again, it showed their lack of consideration for others, like they had no awareness of how their behaviour affected the people around them.
In this example, these takers were disruptive, yet the situation was manageable. However, in some situations, takers can be destructive and slowly drain everything from you.
Learn to steward your energy when you’re around takers — and by steward, I mean be aware of where your energy is going and conscious of what’s happening around you.
Also, avoid having takers in your inner circle. Rather than cutting people out of your life (unless you feel drawn to do so), you can limit their accessibility to you – and you can always choose to do this in a kind way.
So, moving on – What is a giver?
Back to my story – during that dinner, I was the giver. My first thought was of the server and making sure they got their tip. A giver makes sure everyone has their needs met. They can be taken advantage of, so givers need to have either givers or matchers in their inner circle. Otherwise, they end up being drained and very much undervalued, eventually becoming takers themselves.
And finally – What is a matcher?
Had anyone at that table been a matcher, they would have said, ‘Oh, are you adding the tip? Let me split it with you.’ A matcher will give and take in equal measure, matching the energy exchange around them. Everything is equal; no one is taken for a ride.
A matcher helps a giver avoid giving too much – teaching them to receive – and stops a taker in their greedy little tracks and helps them shift back to their natural giving state.
Now, there’s a disclaimer to go with this: Some takers are narcissists/sociopaths and may struggle all their lives to give – so it’s best to avoid these. And some takers are actually givers who’ve overextended and need a gentle nudge to help them return to their natural ways. Keep your eyes open and practice discernment.
So! Wondering which one you are? You might be a combination of all three, but you will be one predominantly. How do you tell?
If you’re a Giver:
Your first thought is often of other people.
You get excited to be able to share something with others.
You love giving gifts.
If you’re a Matcher:
Your first thought is always, ‘How do I give back to this person?’
You have a strong sense of justice and fairness.
You love reciprocating.
If you’re a Taker:
Your first thought is, ‘What’s in it for me?’
You often forget to say please and thank you, and often people have to remind you.
People tend to fall out of your life.
Obviously, I’m sure you’re hoping to be a giver or matcher. But what if you feel like you’re a giver but have been behaving like a taker?
Givers pride themselves on giving and can find it hard to receive. If you give too much, the victim mindset rears its nasty head, and you can become a taker. The best approach in this instance is radical self-care to help restore balance in a responsible way. Set healthy boundaries and provide a balanced energy exchange – for example, pay people to help you rather than demanding it.
I used to work with a self-appointed ‘guru’ who refused to pay for treatments (massages, colonics, etc.). She felt that being ‘allowed’ to be around her energy was a gift, and people should be grateful for the opportunity to work on her – even the ones giving her colonics. Now that’s some sacred shit! She’s an extreme example – and a narcissistic sociopath – but I use her to illustrate a point. When you gift yourself self-care, avoid doing it at the expense of others. And always pay someone who has to look at your butthole. Just saying.