So what’s the secret to long-term relationships? It is said that some of us are givers and some are takers. But this suggests that you can’t do both.
The EQ-i 2.0 describes Interpersonal Relationships as “the ability to develop and maintain mutually satisfying relationships.” If you take much more in your relationships over time, many of them are unsustainable – think of your own experiences or former friends whom you now consider as selfish. It’s only by giving that you can balance the relationship. Even if you had power or wealth to draw others to assist you, their motivations would be superficial. In extreme cases of manipulation, relationships eventually come to a tragic halt.
What about those who generously give much more in their relationships? They demonstrate a wonderful ethic; yet, there is a delicate balance. Research suggests that they might be perceived as needy or agreeable by others. Reflect again on your own experiences or friends whose efforts you take for granted. Yes, even those that give freely can better support the relationship by learning where to draw the line, assert themselves or take. Respect is earned when you give and take, even if the taking amounts to standing up for your needs. As for selfless giving, that is the subject of another article.
Sometimes, there is a feeling of a community giving, in their hopes that one day, you might be successful and even give back. Consider universities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), from where I draw my example of Toastmasters International. Since joining them, seasoned Toastmasters shared with me both their time and knowledge through mentoring. In turn, I now attempt to give back by mentoring members as a seasoned Toastmaster myself.
I want to end by taking the opportunity to thank those Toastmasters who have made a difference in my public speaking development and club experience: Sean Lin for hours of Table Topics coaching in 2014, Bilal Arshad for hours of International Speech coaching in 2015 and Mark Young for just the right comment at just the right time. My hat is off to all of you, and wherever I reside, I look forward to serving our communities in both formal and informal leadership roles.