I’d always heard the world was divided into two types of people: givers and takers. But there’s a third group that Adam Grant recently started talking about: matchers.
Givers are easy to spot…and even easier to be around. They make the world feel good and it’s their mission to do so. If you need for anything, a giver will do their best to make sure you are taken care of…sometimes even before you realize you actually needed something. Givers make wonderful friends and partners…until they exhaust themselves. When that happens, they either retreat momentarily to recharge or hopefully have other givers in their lives to help them rest and refuel.
Takers are crafty….to the point that sometimes they aren’t obviously identified. Because their focus is to get as much out of life and from their relationships, they are often charismatic…charming…clever…even fun to be around, at least at first. It may take a while, but eventually a taker shows their true colors. And once you see them for who they are it’s difficult to ever see them as anything different…making continuing a relationship of any sort difficult, at least for me.
Matchers are…well, matchers. When surrounded by givers, matchers do the same. Dealing with a taker, a matcher displays a similar behavior. It’s almost a kameleon type of response. Because everything needs to be equal, the matcher keeps a tally to ensure that no one is giving or taking more than the any one else.
I realized yesterday, I’m a matcher. I’m not sure if I’m proud of this or not…the jury is still out. I certainly don’t want to be a taker…at least not on the regs. I have takers in my life and I’ve slowly started distancing myself from them as I’m coming to terms with it. It’s hard…because they are so much fun at first, but that’s not the type of person I want to be so as a matcher…I have to make a choice.
If I’m honest, I’m not sure I really want to be a giver either. I have several friends that are givers and I love them dearly. They are amazing to be around. I always feel good about myself in their company because I’m emulating their behavior….giving freely and openly, without expectation. And I do this with them because I know they will always do the same. But that’s not how the world is and my fear keeps me from being able to give on a regular or consistent basis when I’m not hanging with other givers.
As a matcher, there are high highs and low lows. It’s a bit of a roller coaster because my approach is dictated by who I’m around…and at gatherings where I might be interacting with both, I can get overwhelmed (and confused) pretty quickly. Maybe this is another place the feeling of not being true to myself stems from…although by matching someone, I am being true to me because that’s who I am. Oh, circular references…how you frustrate me.
For more info, check out Adam Grant’s article in the Huffington Post: