Happy Easter – Gives and Gets

Easter EggsSo we’re all familiar with the Christian Easter story, our God ‘gives’ his son Jesus, he sacrifices his one and only and we ‘get’ eternal forgiveness for our alleged sins, but what does God get? It sounds like we get a disproportionately good deal, what a good egg our God is, right?

Well in everyday life, those gives and gets are a lot more difficult to balance, too much giving and we can feel like we’re being taken for granted, not enough gets and we can feel like its all one sided, so how can we balance the gives and gets essential for healthy and rewarding friendships and relationships?

There aren’t many among us that seem to give and get in equal measure, often we’re either more prominent at giving or getting, this can be particularly so in our friendships. As a counsellor, I regularly see what a lot of people choose to endure in their friendships and relationships, I often hear myself saying, human nature being as it is, we will try to get away with as much as we can, which means how much will others allow us to get away with, rarely do we stop and ask ourselves the question, is this fair?

So with that human given comes two distinct types of people, those who are more comfortable giving and those who are natural takers, these stereotypes are complex and are mostly made up in friendships and relationships with one other person. In balanced friendships and relationships the giver and getter may alternate in a balanced way, this is when it works well, meeting each others needs at the right times, so both feel valued and supported. Its not often both people in a relationship will be in need at the same time, however that may happen, but often we have different triggers and deal with things differently and at different times, one may be more in need than the other.

This ‘give/get’ phenomenom quickly establishes itself within a friendship or relationship, we often experience the person’s way, what we don’t often do is understand it or accept so easily, the hurt and disappointments which are felt when needs aren’t met and we see our partner or friend void of the skills or empathy which we feel we would show if the shoe were on the other foot as it were.

Friends talking.So, a useful note to self might be, is my friend or partner doing ok, is there anything I could do to support, comfort or help them? If the question isn’t so easy to answer, you could ask how they are, I’m a great advocate of relationship check-ins, short regular chats about the health of a friendship/relationships, maintenance for the relationship, you won’t find it in any DIY handbook, but the concept works, ask anyone with a healthy relationship and no doubt they are the ones who check-in with each other and deal with the little things, so that they are addressed before they become bigger things.

So here are three simple steps to check whether you need to ‘Give or Get’:

  • Ask yourself how do I feel? Use a scale of 0-10, if you are feeling less ok than a 7, then it’s probably worth doing something about it.
  • Ask your friend or partner the same question.
  • Give or Get, if you both need a ‘get’ then take turns to give, you will soon learn what a useful tool this can be in lifting and supporting each other.

If you would like to read more on relationships, please feel free to have a look at my relationship page

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I would like to wish you a peaceful Easter

Paul Parkin – online counsellor