Is transactional giving truly giving?

March 13, 2024

In the shower the other morning I wondered what exactly it means to be a giver. Sure, lots of people give. And a big proportion of that number identify as givers. But are they, really?  What does it mean?

And of course, we all take at one time or another. Is being a “taker” a bad thing?

I don’t know why these things occur to me in the shower, but they do, and then they wander around my mind for hours. So let’s deconstruct.

What is a giver?

There are people who remember birthdays. And people who donate to charities. And those who step up when someone is in trouble but no other time.

Seems to me that true givers think about the needs of others almost instinctively. It’s how they view the world. They see need, even when the person in need might not see it, themselves. When they hear about someone in need or in a difficult situation, their first thought is How can I help?

And in need can mean anything from financial need to emotional need.

For example, if I know a friend is going through a rough emotional patch I’m going to reach out to them. I’m not going to wait to be called, I’m going to be there, holding space. And you already know that I’m a sucker for a Go Fund Me.

Being a true giver (in my opinion) means that our first reaction is to consider how we might best support someone n their time of need. And that could be anyone, from a family member or friend to someone we’ve only met on social media. Or even a charity of some kind.

What is a taker?

child-diesTaking is not a bad thing. It’s truly a gift to be able to receive with grace, isn’t it? It’s hard for me to ask favors but I HAVE asked some of people I love and I do take what they are willing to give.

Giving and taking are not transactional. That is, if I give, I do not expect someone to immediately give back to me. If they take, I do not resent them for not giving. To me, transactional giving is kind of a tit-for-tat trap.

Equilibrium, however, is important in any relationship. When one person os giving more than the other, things can get out of balance. But this is a natural kind of equilibrium.

I have known some takers in my life who think they are givers and might even look at first glance like givers.

But they are really strategic opportunists. They’ll give, but only if it gives or positions them for some kind of benefit, even if the benefit is emotional. It’s not giving for giving’s sake. It’s for their own sake.

Not really a giver.

Bottom line? Nothing feels better than a giving heart, don’t you agree?

I’m always interested in what you think, so feel free to comment.

And if you are in the mood to give to someone who might need some support. I hope you will consider these beautiful tools for healing and grief. Any one of them would make a thoughtful gift and all are easy on the budget. Find them HERE.


4 comments on “Is transactional giving truly giving?
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    Too much giving can come off controlling. And too much taking can seem manipulative. But done in the right balance, both are beautiful things.

  2. Why is it that I have great thoughts in the shower and forget them as soon as I am out? At least you remembered this one.

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