Givers vs. Takers

We as a species aren’t divided by gender…eye color…ethnicity…social class…education…or intellect  We’re  divided into two phyla:  those who give and those who take.

I can remember being a taker.  It was decades ago before I wizened to the ways of  recompense and retribution and how the two aren’t happy until they’ve taken their pound of flesh, gray matter or endorphins.  Often times, at the same time.

I have evolved into a giver who’s rapidly entering murky waters.   I can feel the altruism draining from my soul and pooling around my well manicured feet, callous free courtesy of a one 22 year old Na Nguyen who now in Houston go by name “Amber”.  You got boyfriend????  

I don’t like feeling this way.  I am at any given moment, perilously poised on the precipice of loss.  Of my humanity mainly, but of my generosity ,too.,  My patience.. my time, so much of what’s supposed to make me feel better makes me feel compromised.   

So, I ask a very direct question:  who has the bigger problem here?   Those who give until the font runs dry or those why helped the dehydration process?  

As you ponder that query, I’ll add this to the pile of compost and kindling.   What we are missing in this world are generous takers who don’t care who take.  I’d love to be one of those people. To give with abandon and not resent the hand that’s constantly extended before me.  There’s a right way to give.  There’s a selflessness to it.  That Ghandi/Mother Theresa vibe that as much as I would love to be content to meditate for days at a time in a 4’x8′ ashram, swatting curry flies, I still like my ‘stuff’.   Maybe I give for the wrong reasons and that’s why its so unsettling.  Perhaps I give to the wrong people.   Need vs greed.

And then again, didn’t I in some way, teach these people how to do this?  Didn’t my ‘never fail’ approach and dependability hammer this home?   I gave too much too freely and expected people to have the decency to say no thanks, when I couldn’t stop.  Liberal guilt?   A need to be liked?  A willingness to pay to be popular?   Maybe 25 years ago when Clearasil was part of my daily ritual but not so much now.   Not now.

I would give because I could and I saw people with genuine need.   I loved helping.  It felt good.  I could give and I wanted to.   And then my giving and their taking became a conditioned response.  They began to expect the perks, the extras, the lagniappe, if you will.  

What the world news now, Miss Warwick is love sweet love of course,but it also needs a soupçon of behavior modification.   The world also needs people who desperately need to learn how to give.  I aspire to be a better giver; one that can dispense without the building resentment.  The world also needs people who know how to take.     They need to say thank you, be gracious without fawning or deifying and pay back their debt by paying it forward.    Help others when they can.  Instead they only pray to the Hindu god Kali that they know nothing of, simply for more hands.   

I have spent a lifetime giving more to relationships than any relationship gave to me.  I broke that habit recently.  I now have to learn a way to apply the same restraint in my everyday life.    In some ways I admit this with righteous indignation.  I also say it’s an admission fraught with regret.     

I hate that I’ve become so damn jaded.   Thank God I look good in green. 



  1. Laurie I just love your insight in all things..from lint on the floor to righteous indignation…its always a good read that leaves me pondering! Keep them coming..

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