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Givers and Takers

In life there are two broad kind of people: Givers, and Takers. And you will come across them in both your personal and professional lives.

While this is the obvious/visible definition/observation, you will find there are two subsets to these as well – kind of like wolves in sheep’s clothing, and also sheep in wolves clothing.

What? Yes, allow me to elaborate. First with the two main types:

The Givers:

People who do things for other people. Provide emotional, physical, financial, and any other kind of support others need – from near and dear ones, to sometimes even random strangers.

What do Givers do: Givers get joy and satisfaction in giving. And you will find a “giver” among family, friends, even colleagues and business associates. These are the ones who drop by with food if you are unwell or when your cook is on leave; they are the ones who stay up at night with you listening to your life’s woes on the phone and give you the much-needed shoulder to cry on; they are the colleagues who will support your ideas in the office even if there’s nothing in it for them; they are the ‘clients’ who give you space and respect for what they’ve hired you for in the first place.

What makes them tick: Them adding to your happiness, well-being and success gives them great joy. Mutual benefit makes them tick.

How to spot a Giver: Look for the happiest smiling person in the room who is surrounded by people who are also happy and smiling that’s probably your man or woman! Think of who you could call in the middle of the night if you have a problem – who you know will do it willingly, not because of a relationship or because it needs to be done – and there’s your “Giver”. Think of the people raising their voice against injustice, poverty and getting down and dirty in the trenches to make a difference… think of those fighting corruption, pollution, poaching and other social, economic, political and environment malaise… they are your “Givers”

The perils of being a Giver: Often unappreciated, often misjudged for their intentions, often taken advantage of… “Givers” are always swimming against the tide of social insensitivity and greed.

Givers are also known to suffer from loss of ‘self’ and a ‘lack of making life good for themselves’, which is a feeling often introduced into their heads by the selfish Takers in their lives in the garb of “but what about you!?

The Takers:

These are the people who only know how to take – take up your time, your hospitality, your support, your money, your credit, your emotions, your strength, and your energies. They are selfish and get off on getting people to do things for them.

What do Takers do: Takers get joy and satisfaction in taking. And unfortunately, you will find a “taker” in every family, friends circle, and among colleagues and business associates. They are the ones who don’t wait in queues, they are the relatives who expect you to do stuff for them and will land up in your home and take it over on every ‘occasion’, they are the bossy colleagues who expect you to do things for them yet won’t reciprocate, they are the ‘clients’ who disrespect you and your team time and efforts, they are the ones who buy bags made of endangered animals, they’re the ones with the huge carbon footprint, and they are the ones who don’t do anything for society and life in general around them.

What makes them tick: Getting people to do things for them is intrinsic to their character. Their wanting everything for themselves and all at one time is what drives them. They imagine they are the center of the universe for everyone. They are motivated by selfishness.

How to spot a Taker: They are the people in any gathering who are surrounded by people – but only as long as they’re in power, rich, popular or something that forces people to be around them. Think of who you cannot call in the middle of the night if you have a problem – or who will respond grudgingly out of a relationship or duty – and there’s your “Taker”. They’re the loud and demanding people in family functions, meetings, restaurants, almost everywhere.

The perils of being a Taker: People tire of “Takers” very quickly, and will dump them even more quickly if there isn’t a strong reason for them to keep the “taker” in their lives.

“Takers” have delusions of their selves and believe people actually like doing or must do things for them – and get a rude shock and behave badly when they realise the contrary! Takers also are deluded into believing they have a right to everything they want, irrespective of the consequences to others, society and life in general.

Now for the sub-types –

The “Taker” Givers:

They masquerade as, and are often mistaken for Givers. But these are the people who only “give” in order to “take”. Their giving is conditional and contains intrinsic expectations of “return gifts”. They give only as much as they think they can get back in return.

Fair-weather friends, or “matlabi people” is how you have often recognized and referred to them.

The “Giver” Takers:

Again masquerading as, and often mistaken as Givers, these are the most complex and difficult ‘Takers’ to spot!

Often, they don’t realize their own motivations. Because they get great joy in ‘giving’, and feel really good when they have ‘made a positive difference and helped‘ someone. And they will go to the ends of the earth to find people with problems and help them out.

In this very ‘seeking out of people with problems‘, lies the “taker” in them. Because their real motivation for ‘giving’ is what they ‘take’ back in return – which is ratification of their own self and their ability to make a difference. They need to be ‘wanted’ and ‘appreciated’. This is a vindication of their own beliefs from the fact that someone is listening to them, and it is helping them.

Therefore the key difference between the pure “Givers” and the “Giver Takers” is motivation.

The purists are motivated by larger good and don’t care if they get back anything, and will be delighted if they wake up one day to find everyone’s problems have been solved and the world is a happy satisfied place.

The Giver Takers on the other hand are motivated by the need of other people to receive – and if they actually wake up one morning to a world of happy and satisfied people, they would be extremely unhappy ~ because they’re suddenly out of a job and their reason d’être.

In Summary most people in this world are takers, albeit with different degrees of selfishness. The world of Takers is driven by selfish agenda, and the world we live in today, is proof of this problem.

On the other hand, there are very few selfless giving people in the world. But it is these tiny lot of “giving” people who make a big difference – with their little acts of kindness, their gentle nurturing ways, their selfless support, their own lack of ego, and their placing society and others ahead of themselves.

These are the “Giving” people who are going around today, changing the way we deal with one another, changing business ethics, bringing progressive social change, enriching civil society, and overall changing global culture.

The irony is most of us claim to be religious people – of one faith or another. Yet almost every one of us forgets, that at the core of each and every religion – lies the virtue of selfless giving. Amen.

At work, I tend to Brands and nurture ideas that help people and businesses bloom. I am a writer of all things that catch my eye. I travel to discover myself, as much as I do to discover the world. I am a foodie at heart, and am open to tasting anything that's edible!


  1. […] In life there are two broad kind of people: Givers, and Takers. And you will come across them in both your personal and professional lives. While this is the obvious/visible definition/observation, you will find there are two subsets to these as well – kind of like wolves in sheep's clothing, and also sheep in wolves clothing. What? Yes, allow me to elaborate. First with the two main types: The Givers: People who do things for other people. Provi … Read More […]

    • Thank You James, for the compliments, wishes, and the re-blog!

      I visited your site and notice an interesting range of subject and posts… I will be following 🙂

      Best Regards,

  2. A very interesting and thought provoking post. I must add, in my point of view, we are all givers and takers at various points and situations in our lives. Even Gandhian philosophies made a lot of enemies along the way! To do good for just good’s sake is achievable but highly difficult. Kudos to those who can manage…

  3. Yes, we have all been one or the other at times in our lives. I think when we mature the real personality is apparent. I know when I was younger I was very self-absorbed, but I didn’t use people. I still don’t. I would have to say that I am more of a giver than a taker. Sometimes taking is justified or else who would givers give to? At the moment a very young woman has attached herself to me and is a taker. She used me for my car, my gas and my time, then wanted me to drive her to a fast food place. She ordered for herself, and did not even ask if I wanted a soda, nor did she offer even a dollar for the gas I expended. She called me later that day and again tried to coerce me to take her someplace (she has no car, is 23, lives at home). She could not care less that I am suffering financial problems, having a rough time finding a job, have a bad back, or that I don’t have a free roof over my head. This person is 23 and has not yet left home or had her own place. She wrecked her car. She has whined endlessly about a broken relationship and about her mother. And all of this in 48 hours. Today I simply and politely told her I had too many problems of my own to bear hers at this time. Sometimes you just have to say NO.

  4. . MY STORY…
    My wife was very demanding, I worked 60 hr weeks and also rebuilt a house we had purchased at the same time. She also demanded thte usual in fashioin clothes, expensive holidays and all the rest, a shopaholic…… I was in serious debt trying to buy her happiness….. but of course it didn’t happen, we divorced and I went bankrupt to save the family home for my beautiful children. Of course I was stupid in letting it happen in the first place. But that is what a givers fault is. We feel useless. We can never give enouigh. By then I was an emotional and physical wreck… Since then I have obvisously been caring for my children but I suffer from Panic Disorder mainly due to serving in the Armed Forces UK (during my marriage) but after leaving (although it was very much a struggle) I managed to carry on a successful career but I was eventually eroded away after 6 years of fight to just get to my place of work and had to leave. so, I got divorced and my parrents health went rapidly downhill…. For the pst 7 years I have dedicated my time to caring for my parents whilst my sisters carried on with their careers. It has been incredibly hard! Then I found a relese! I had an epiphany earlier this week when my sister called to shout at me for not managing to drive the 20 miles upto my parents house ( I have paroblems driving due to pannic attacks, but I bloody well fight them), to check they were okay and for the first time in my life I realised that nobody really cared? That they were just using me. That they just expected me. That they just got so used to me running around that they in themselves were also blinded. I have spent most of thte week feeling better about myself and I’ve already confronted my sisters. They took it badly, but I just fel like laughing. I think they’re in shock! ANyway love to all u guys out sruggling. maybe I’ll get back with an ulpdate. tc x my email is… (Noshtradamus: Email concealed to protect Michael from spam. If you want to write to him, please write to me and I will forward it to him)

    • Hi Michael,

      This is a great story, and a important learning for us.

      We all need to stand for something, and then stand up for ourselves – which is what you have done. Good for you!

      Thank you for sharing. And we look forward to more updates from you.



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