Whether you’ve just met a man you really like…
Or you’re wondering whether to commit…
There’s one question you must ask yourself:
Is this man generous with his heart, time, and energy?
Or is he more interested in what he can get than what he can give?
Keep reading to find out whether this man is a Giver, a Taker, or a Matcher.
It could guide your decisions about this relationship.
The 3 Reciprocity Styles
Mutual giving is the fuel of lasting love relationships.
It’s when you do nice things for each other “just because.” You don’t keep score.
Relationships where couples keep track of what each person has done for the other, or where the giving and receiving are imbalanced, are much less happy.
How do you know whether a man will take too much, keep score, or give generously in a relationship?
You find out his reciprocity style.
According to organizational psychologist Adam Grant, each of us has a preference for how much we take and give.
Givers prefer to give rather than receive. They help everyone, even if there’s nothing in it for them. Giving makes them feel good about themselves.
Their favorite question is, “What can I do for you?”
Takers prefer to come out on top of every interaction. They’re calculating and competitive. They can still behave generously, but only if they get something out of it, like a reputation boost or a favor in return.
Their favorite question is, “What’s in it for me?”
Matchers are focused on fairness. They believe that giving and receiving should be balanced.
Their favorite saying is, “I’ll treat you exactly how you treat me.”
These Styles Aren’t Set in Stone
Now, just because someone is a Giver doesn’t mean they can’t adopt a different strategy when it suits them.
Givers often act like Matchers at work, because their giving nature can work against them in a cutthroat business environment.
Matchers change tactics based on the reciprocity style of the person they’re with. Matchers are generous with other Givers. Pair a Matcher with a Taker, however, and he’ll pay the Taker back in kind.
What’s His Reciprocity Style?
Now that you know the basics of these three styles, how can you find out which one describes the man you’re interested in?
Here are some traits to look for in Takers.
Takers are more likely to use the words “I” and “me” compared to “we” and “us.” They’re great at self-promotion. Their dating profile shows them off in the very best light. They see themselves as special and worthy of getting what they want.
Here are some traits to look for in Matchers.
Matchers start out with small commitments. A Matcher will buy you a coffee but expects you to reciprocate by offering to pay next time. A Matcher will text you only as much as you text him. He’ll want to see that both of you are making an equal investment in the relationship.
Here are some traits to look for in Givers.
Givers lead with trust and generosity. They assume the best in people. They want to be someone who helps others. They get just as much pleasure out of other people’s success as their own.
There are two subtypes of Givers.
Selfless Givers are quintessential “Nice Guys” who have a hard time saying no. They don’t have strong boundaries and agree for the sake of agreeing. They’re people-pleasers who often get taken advantage of.
Otherish Givers focus on others, but they also have a high degree of self-interest. They limit their charitable work to causes they personally care about. They know when to cut their losses and won’t invest time and energy into something that isn’t going anywhere.
When Adam Grant surveyed the research on different reciprocity styles, he found that Selfless Givers were more likely to come in last, while Otherish Givers were the most likely to succeed.
Giving was a winning strategy as long as you make sure to look after your own needs and goals, too.
If you’re a Giver who often finds yourself drained and being taken advantage of, here are 3 tips that Grant recommends.
1. Keep an eye out for Takers. You can still help Takers as long as you act like a Matcher. Never do more for them than they do for you.
2. Limit your giving to a specific day of the week or chunk of time. Don’t spread yourself thin by being available 24-7.
3. Only give what you enjoy giving. Don’t try to help people with everything they need help with. Specialize in a few things that you enjoy doing, and offer help in just those areas.