Relationship Advice: The Givers And The Takers

relationship advice

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

Yesterday could possibly have been one of the most stressful days of my entire life (as it pertains to work). I was seriously exhausted from all of the anxiety I felt all day long, trying to fix a serious computer glitch that was really hurting my business.


Not a computer tech-savvy person whatsoever, I reached out to several web designers to try to help me with my problem. Of course, they all have other clients, and I didn’t expect anyone to drop everything to help me first. But, the responses I got made me realize something about people. There are the givers and the takers.



It all started when one web designer who I have done business with in the past responded by saying that she couldn’t even look into the problem until next week. She said she was too busy with other clients and that the problem seemed “extensive.” Did she do anything wrong? Nope. I mean, what does she really owe me? But, her cold, impersonal response was depressing. Especially since she knows me and knew it really was an emergency situation. She is now classified as a taker in my book, especially because I have given her at least five client referrals.


But for every taker in this world, I truly believe there are two givers, which is exactly the experience I had. First, another web designer who I have worked with in the past spent a few minutes listening to my problem. He said he would call me back and within an hour, he had someone lined up to help me solve the problem the same day! Another web designer, who I barely know, spent at least a half hour researching my issue and sending me WordPress plugins to help me fix the issue. He actually ended up leading me to solving my nightmare issue.


For both of these web designers, there was nothing nothing nothing in it for them. Sure, maybe they hoped to get future business from me, but then I found out one of them isn’t even accepting new clients!


When it comes to givers and takers, it is a concept anyone can relate to both in business and in relationships. Think about it. How many times do you do favors for people in business and they never do anything in return? Takers. On the flip side, how many times has someone done something for you in business for no other reason than because they wanted to help you? Givers.


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With giving and taking, I try not to keep score, and I feel like it all evens itself out. I try to help as many people as possible (even if it doesn’t benefit me) and I hope that when I need something urgently (like I did yesterday) there are people out there who will come to my rescue. I don’t resent the takers, I actually feel kind of sorry for them. Givers, in general are such happier people.


The givers and the takers also show up in relationships. Actually, they especially show up in relationships. I’ve been involved with both givers and takers.


The taker zaps your energy. He makes you feel unloved because he isn’t giving anything to you and all you do is give, give, give. He makes you feel unimportant because he isn’t giving anything to you. He makes you feel bad about yourself because he isn’t giving anything to you. He makes you feel like you have to keep giving and giving because that’s the way the relationship has always been. And then you look in the mirror and you really feel zapped; drained of everything because you don’t even have anything to give anymore. It’s exhausting.


Now onto the givers. Oh, the dear, sweet, kind, adorable givers. I love them so much. They are angels. They make you feel like you are on top of the world. They make you feel loved and adored like never before. And they make you want to give back. Big time.


Here is a great example. A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend (big time giver) told me he was unable to come to a wedding with me because of some obligations he had with his son. I was really sad but completely understood. I went to the wedding and right after the cocktail hour, I saw him walking in and looking around for me. I honestly had never felt so happy to see someone in my life. Not because I didn’t’ want to go to a wedding by myself–I’m sure I would have had a really nice time either way, but rather because I knew how difficult it was for him to get there, and that he came to make me happy. It truly meant the world to me and I will seriously never forget the joy I felt, knowing how important I am to him. I felt like Cinderella. It is an example of true giving behavior.




It doesn’t even matter what someone gives. It could be a diamond bracelet or an expensive watch, and that should mean the same as bringing over chicken soup when you are sick or rubbing your feet when they are tired or planning a date, or getting you motivated to go to the gym or even just texting something to make your spouse feel good.


Many, many people email me to tell me that they are having issues with their sex life: that either they or their spouse or both don’t have sex anymore, and that they are unhappy about it. Well, guess what? What happens in bed (or what doesn’t) is a direct result of everything else that happens outside the bedroom.


What I mean by that is, if you are a giver and you want sex, you will get it. You will get it because your spouse will adore you for being giving. He or she will feel special and loved and respected and appreciated and those feelings will make him or her want to rip your clothes off.


No one wants to have sex with someone who is mean to them, who ignores them, who they feel doesn’t appreciate or care about them, or who doesn’t go out of his or her way and make an effort to show their love. It’s not sexy. It makes you feel bored and bad about yourself and eventually, you lose interest and you start to resent the person. Not someone you want to get naked with.


Good sex is all about the turn on that stems from everything that happens that has nothing to do with being physical. And, when you have good sex, it connects you in a deeper, more meaningful way. And then, the good sex sustains the giving to each other and the cycle continues. It’s a beautiful thing.


In closing, remember that it’s pretty easy to be a giver. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and it doesn’t even require a lot of time. Being a giver entails being thoughtful: thinking to yourself, ‘What would make him or her happy? What does he or she need right now? What will help their pain? What will motivate them? What will make him or her feel good about themselves?’ It can be anything—even a handwritten Post-it note.


If you haven’t read the children’s book, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, it is truly the most basic lesson on giving. To the takers, the giver will eventually stop giving. To the givers, you are angels. Thank you!

Like this post? Check out my article, “Dating Advice: The Hot And Cold Guy”


Buy novels by Jackie Pilossoph





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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

3 Responses to “Relationship Advice: The Givers And The Takers”

  1. Ruth

    I like this but I think you over-simplified the bit about how givers get good sex. Sometimes when you are with a taker, they are oblivious to what you give. It’s the genuine givers who are grateful for what you’ve given them. Takers tend to take it for granted. I was with a taker for more than 10 years. Whatever was given in love was regarded as ‘well you’re my wife, so you should do [insert whatever]’

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      good point! Maybe I should have said givers get good sex if the other person is a giver too.


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