In a friendship there’s the giver and the taker. Obviously we strive and strain to make it a reciprocal relationship, a dynamic equilibrium, balanced, equal. Yet inevitably the roles end up being quite sturdily defined. With each different relationship you swing closer to one or the other, sometimes depending on the time frame, positions fluctuate as relationships mature or enter into differing circumstances.
I like to think in general I play the giver. I like giving advice, giving my time, giving insight, giving food. Partly its in my nature, if I’m honest I also think it started as a form of self-affirmation. Knowing that there’s something of worth you can give to the relationship makes you feel important, feel part of that relationship and not a temporal fixture that will blow away as the seasons migrate.
After a while though positions can get ‘concretised.’ We get accustomed to turning to the ‘giver’, and the giver gets accustomed to refusing to take. They hold up the bravado of strength. It’s ok, I’m there for you, you don’t need to be there for me.
Yet, to all the ‘givers’ out there, it is the greatest pleasure those few times when you realise you just need to and can take. Finally being the one in the dilemma and knowing instinctively that i could email my friend, blast out my problems, and receive a prompt response really strengthened me last night. Logging in this evening and seeing the reply – and not a generic or uninterested response where standard words of affirmation that often have nothing to do with said dilemma are unconsciously regurgitated. Example:
Giver: I just failed my exam.
Generic Answer from Constant Taker : Aww babes, don’t worry, your beautiful, he just can’t see it.
Giver: My exam…is a piece of paper
Generic Answer from Constant Taker : Your amazing, just be you
Giver:…thanks, I knew I could count on you…
I got a real, personalised and empowering response. It reminded me that receiving is such a precious thing – and it makes you a better giver when you can recharge your batteries after actually recuperating to a state wholesomeness, instead of hiding like a block of swiss cheese behind a sheet of cheddar.
To all you Constant Givers out there. Calm down, you have an important role in that relationship, you are worth something to that friendship, but you need to Take. It makes the other person feel good, and makes you better for it. You also end up lasting longer, learning more and therefore become better at what you love to do – give.