Givers, Matchers, and Takers

There’s a continuum of givers, matchers, and takers which was first modeled by a Wharton Professor named Adam Grant who wrote a book about it called “Give and Take.”

  1. Takers: they’re always trying to take as much as possible from a person or situation.
  2. Matchers: these are the people that will match your efforts. If you’re a giver, they’ll give back. If they give to you, they expect you to give back. If you’re a taker, you can fuck off.
  3. Givers: those who give unconditionally without needing to have the favor returned. They go out of their way to give and support. So who ends up being the worst performers in life? Givers. And who ends up being the highest performers in life? Also Givers. Givers make up both ends of the spectrum. So the game is to be a successful giver. It’s relatively simple but being aware of these distinctions make it that much more powerful.

5 Tips Around Giving to Givers, Takers, and Matchers

  1. Eliminate giving to takers. It’s the givers who give to takers who end up diminishing their lives. Lots of takers are very suave and very kind and compassionate and they’ll make you feel very validated which is how they get people to give to them and how they keep taking and taking and getting away with it. Being able to spot this will save you lots of time and energy .
  1. Give to givers. This is self-explanatory.
  2. Give to matchers. If you’re a giver you have developed lots of goodwill in the goodwill bank account so to speak. This goodwill is exponential in growth as well. Matchers will want to give back to you and to write matchers off because they won’t give without condition does you a disservice and costs you.
  3. Provide consistent low-effort value to others. Give in ways that take very little effort yet provide value to others. Something I love doing is giving out books and writing letters and sending gratitude with acknowledgments. Been doing that since I’m 16-years-old and over a decade later it’s made a huge impact. I also share resources in general with people that I know would make a huge impact in their life.
  4. Don’t commoditize people. I know that can be counter- intuitive since labeling people as givers and takers and matchers can sound like commoditization. Think of it this way. If a man meets a girl and sees her as a piece of meat and his sole goal is to have sex with her, she’ll feel it and have less of a chance of getting laid. If a man meets a girl and builds chemistry, builds a foundation, and creates an amazing connection where she can completely feel safe, surrender, and give her all around this man—there’s a higher probability it leads to a relationship and a higher probability he gets laid a lot more. Having the attachment to the outcome will actually get in the way of producing the result.

Tony Hsieh On Not Commoditizing Relationships

I think Tony Hsieh says it best:

“I personally really dislike ‘business networking’ events. At almost every one of these events, it seems like the goal is to walk around and find people to trade business cards with, with the hope of meeting someone who can help you out in business and in exchange you can help that person out somehow. I generally try to avoid those types of events, and I rarely carry any business cards around with me. Instead, I really prefer to focus on just building relationships and getting to know people as just people, regardless of their position in the business world or even if they’re not from the business world. I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone—you just have to figure out what that something is. If anything, I’ve found that it’s more interesting to build relationships with people that are not in the business world because they almost always can offer unique perspectives and insights, and also because those relationships tend to be more genuine. If you are able to figure out how to be truly interested in someone you meet, with the goal of building up a friendship instead of trying to get something out of that person, the funny thing is that almost always, something happens later down the line that ends up benefiting either your business or yourself personally. I don’t really know why this happens or why it works, but it seems that the benefit from getting to know someone on a personal level usually happens 2-3 years after you started working on building the relationship. And it’s usually something that you could not have possibly predicted would have happened at the beginning of the relationship. For example, maybe your friend’s sister’s neighbor was just hired as the VP of a company that you’ve been trying to get in touch with, or maybe someone you met 2 years ago now has a new tennis partner who would be the perfect person for that job opening you’ve been trying to fill for the past 6months. has been around for over 10 years now. We grew from no sales in 1999 to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales in 2008. In looking back at the major turning points in the history of the company, it seems that most of them were the result of pure luck. Things happened that we could not have possibly predicted, but they were the result of relationships that we had started building 2-3 years earlier. So my advice is to stop trying to ‘network’ in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you’ll derive both personal and business benefits from your friendships later down the road. You won’t know exactly what those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear 2-3 years later down the road.”

And then I’ll add—why would you be friends with someone who just takes from you?

Deep down if you’re honest with yourself, that’s not very satisfying. Focus on building great connections with great people and keep those boundaries around givers, takers, and matchers in mind and you will tilt things in your favor.

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