Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Taker

Recently someone said to me "I'm more comfortable giving than receiving." They were speaking generally, referring to gifts, attention, help, love, etc.

When I was in group therapy, this was a common theme amongst the participants. It was especially pronounced because we were in a psychotherapy school; i.e. we were learning to be better providers of help, love, and attention to other people.

Me, I'm a taker. I have no problem at all receiving. I love attention, praise, gifts, affection, assistance, all the good stuff. If someone offers me something positive, whether it's a cookie, a cheque, or a friendly hug, I will never lower my eyelashes demurely and say "Oh no, I couldn't possibly." My stock answer is "Yes please!".

I figure if someone offers me something, it's because they would honestly like to see me accept the offer. On the other hand, if they're playing games and offering things they don't want to provide just to be manipulative, too bad for them. I'll still accept. It serves them right for trying to be so sneaky.

If someone gives me a gift, I don't feel guilty if I don't have a gift to give back to them. I mean, of course I always try to reciprocate. But if someone surprises me with, say, a Christmas gift that I wasn't expecting, and I didn't buy one for them, I don't feel bad. A gift, by it's very nature, is not meant to be reciprocated, necessarily. If I demanded a gift of equal value in return for all of my gifts, that's actually not giving at all. That's bartering. So if you want to do a Christmas thing-trade with me, I'd be happy to comply, but warn me in advance, please.

I do also enjoy giving. But, fundamentally, I'm a taker.


whatigotsofar said...

I dispute your claims of being a taker. I offered to give you something and you refused. Not that I'm surprised. I've offered to give things to plenty of women and none of them ever want to take me up on my offer.

Bah, women.

Karen said...

Interesting. I am a good combo of both. Compliments are often difficult to receive and I always feel awkward when receiving an unexpected gift.

Being a graceful acceptor (which I like rather than taker) is wonderful trait.

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: The distinction is that you didn't have anything specific in mind. I usually can't think of anything I want when someone makes me an open-ended offer. But if you actually walked up to me with a chocolate cupcake and offered it to me, I wouldn't say no.

Karen: It's a good thing to be able to receive gracefully. When I do give gifts or time to people, I'd rather see them enjoy the process, rather than feel all guilty and awkward. I guess lately I've been feeling a little selfish, due to being under too much stress, which is why I feel like a "taker" rather than a recipient.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

But when I offered you that cold I had you said you didn't want it?!? I'm not good at recieving, my mind starts wondering what they want, are they playing games, are they trying to influence me??? ummm... guess I'm a little paranoid

Ily said...

You don't hear too many people say "it's better to take than to receive" and I don't think that's what you're saying here. What I get from you is that you're appreciative and enjoy the things people give and do for you. There's nothing wrong with that. I love when someone really loves what I give them! I should learn to take more compliments, but I don't respond well to flattery.

Jameil said...

Lol! What a delightfully honest post! I can say I like to both give and receive. BUT I def. feel bad if people give me something and i don't have something to give them.

Jenski, PhD said...

We had this whole gift conversation with my immediate family at Christmas. My take - if you want to give a gift and have the financial resources, go ahead!! If it is being suggested that you exchange gifts with a cousin through the parents, screw that. :-)

I think I blush when I get things unexpectedly. I agree that getting is great and also people's reactions when go you give.

NicoleB said...

I'm both :)
I think that's ok :)

Dianne said...

I love that you freely admit it. It's a perfectly fine way to be/feel.
I have learned to accept more readily.

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: It's true, some people give in order to be manipulative. It's a problem when you're not sure whether or not to trust that person.

Sparkling Red said...

Ily: Flattery is another thing that some people give honestly, and some give to be manipulative. It's not always easy to tell which is which.

Jameil: The only time I would feel bad is if I were invited to a birthday party and EVERYONE else brought a gift but I forgot. Except that's never happened, because I'm very organized around gift occasions.

Jenski: I know what you mean. I feel very irritated if someone instructs me to show affection to a third person. Either I feel affection and I will express it, or I don't and I won't. If I don't want to give someone a call to say "I love you", you telling me to do it won't make the love part true.

Nicole: In reality, I'm both too.

Dianne: That's good! I find life gets a lot better when you can receive without stress.