Monday, February 6, 2012

Make A Difference Monday: Some Words About Giving

Lately, I’ve noticed that there are two kinds of givers.  I call them the YouGiver and the MeGiver.

The YouGiver  is the kind of person who gives you a gift because she is certain that you will enjoy it, because she has been listening to you talk about something you need or want, and because it’s for YOU. The YouGiver is all about you. All the YouGiver wants is a thank you – and then? She never wants to talk about it again. She won’t ask you if you love the gift, she won’t ask you if you are using the gift, if you wear the gift, she won’t mention in front of other people “Oh, I GAVE that to you!” – in short, she’s pretty much not going talk about it ever again. For the YouGiver, the pleasure in the gift exists with the recipient – making the recipient happy. That’s it. That’s the point.

The MeGiver, on the other hand, takes her pleasure in the act of giving. It’s not about the recipient at all – the recipient is incidental. The MeGiver loves to give things because she likes to demonstrate that she is generous and thoughtful. If a MeGiver gives you a sweater, and should be with you when someone compliments you on said sweater, the MeGiver is very happy to announce “I bought that for her.” A MeGiver will definitely bring up a gift in conversation regularly. 

A YouGiver is sensitive to what people need. A YouGiver, for example, might offer to throw you a birthday party… but if you say, “I love that you thought of that, but I really feel like spending my birthday chilling out with a bottle of wine and a movie this year – do you want to come over and hang out?” The YouGiver will be happy to bring the wine and maybe cupcakes for a low key event.

Given the same scenario, a MeGiver will not be happy. A MeGiver will argue with you, because she thinks you should WANT a party – because she wants to throw you one. A MeGiver will be angry that you are denying her the opportunity to do something for you. A MeGiver will grouse and grump. Because, again, it’s not as much about you as it is about her. 

There are a million ways we can all make a difference in the world, and there are countless types of giving.  I would ask, though, that as you consider giving – of your time, of your money, of your talents –  what kind of giver you are. Because, to be honest,  giving is rarely about glory or honour. That’s not the point. The point is setting yourself aside, putting your ego down, and rolling up your sleeves to make a difference, big or small – because that’s You, Giving.

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