$ How are things?
$ Awful. I ended up having a row.
$ Who did you talk to?
$ A colleague from my department. A taker. My name displayed on the screen of his mobile, he picked up, without saying good morning, he scolded me reminding me that we started work at 9.00 am and it was 7.58 am, so I’d better have a good reason to drag him away from the shower. And I am his superior! Can you imagine that?! So I told him I would call him anytime I want to and that his bloody duty is to pick up the phone and do what I tell him to and if he doesn’t, I’ll find 10 people who would kill for that job, even today. Then I told him I would come later today what he commented: rules are for employees not for the boss. And like an idiot, I started explaining that this year I hadn’t come late for work a single time and then I hung up without saying goodbye. I fucked up my whole day. Before work I will come back home, remake up and have breakfast at the Mc Donald’s. Today I can’t afford being on a diet.
$ Does this colleague of yours have an appetite to steal your position?
$ Now when you mentioned this… O, gosh! I can’t stand it!
$ Appetite is only appetite; nevertheless, nobody is able to threaten your experience and competence.
$ Not everybody pays attention merely to the competence.
$ Of course not. Competence without emotional intelligence or managerial skills are definitely not enough. Being a giver, you automatically have an advantage because it’s in the givers’ nature to be empathic, consequently you are a natural leader.
$ Is it so?
$ O, yes! And three more things. That was your first performance in the role of a taker. You are learning. You have a right not to know, to get lost, feel out of place in this new outfit. It may be expected that it is going to be like this for some time so make up your mind to break tensions related to such situations in ways different from eating at it. E.g. spend at home the time that you wanted to spend at the fast food chain after making up: dance to your favorite music, watch a part of your favorite comedy.
$ I have no time for this!
$ I mean only the time you would have spent in the fast food place. Secondly, people are happy when givers are around, at least they feel comfortable, so if a giver signals: giving is over, people around them protest and resist.
- Make me a coffee, please.
- I’m busy with my Catalan now.
- So what? Maybe you’ll also stop cooking dinners because you’re so busy learning Catalan?! What do I need a wife for who speaks Catalan and neglects our house?!
I exaggerated this dialogue on purpose. In order to take, a taker asks, demands, negotiates, manipulates a little or even blackmails and attacks weak points. Please, believe that you have got everything you need to take care of yourself and create a balance between giving and taking in all your relationships. Open for punches, take off the mental and physical armor, you are able to deflect attacks back.
$ How do you recognize whether there is balance or not?
$ It’s hardly ever fifty-fifty. Especially with kids and animals. It is a very individual question. For some people a given situation is ideal; for others a similar situation is totally unacceptable. I know a girl who had been single for many years. In other – ancient – terms, she was a spinster most of her life. Her carrier was very successful, she was very rich, which made men interested in her react the way the dogs do when they see a burglar. And one day she met a gardener on a wheelchair, a father of two children. In an accident, the mother died and he smashed his legs. So imagine them: education gap, income gap, opportunity gap. The children seduced her. They met in a park or at a swimming pool, the children started the conversation, they went through the phase of common games, then she suggested asking the parents whether she could invite the children to have some ice cream together. The kids said they only had a father and that they would ask him. And the father came to the appointment, too. I don’t know where it came from: from the attitude of the children towards her? from his experience? He suffered so much that he had a distance to what many couples fight for to death (money, who’s better, who’s right, whose mother-in-law is worse). Anyway, she was like a goddess to him: calm, cheerful, communicative, entrepreneurial, upbeat lady. He fell in love with her and spoiled her in his own way, as much as he could. He knew how many things he couldn’t give her due to his disability, so what he could give, he gave double and treble: attention, patience, admiration, sex, yielding, ductility. Her leeway to mould her husband was very limited (earn more!, help me tidying up! – no way), so she didn’t even try to change him and he returned the same. She worked overtime, she had unexpected business trips, it was all right to him. Are you suggesting I should sell our flat and move into your house? Ok. Are we going on holiday in December? Great. Christmas at your family’s? Sounds good. When I met them, the two children from the first marriage had a brother and a sister – their own children. They have a house with a huge garden and paths as wide as his wheelchair. And this is practically the only area, where he commands and she obeys. He designed the garden, chose seeds, seedlings and a watering system and now she uproots the weeds, cuts the plants, sprays etc. under his dictation.
$ What a beautiful story!