Why "Givers" in Relationships Are the Most Attractive

Updated 08/06/19

Psychologist, professor, and New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant literally wrote the book on cultivating success through relationships. The runaway best seller, titled Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, offers his well-researched theories and opinions about how different personality types affect our success in life.

Named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal, in addition to landing a coveted spot on Oprah's riveting reads list and Harvard Business Review's "ideas that shaped management" list, the book is based on the simple idea that our ability to interact and communicate effectively is what holds the key to success in the modern world.

giver personality type
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Within the 320 pages, Grant argues that people fall into one of three categories: givers, takers, and matchers. In a nutshell, givers are motivated to take care of others, takers' primary motivation is self-interest, and matchers typically give to others with the expectation of getting something back. While most of his book focuses on how these three personality types operate in a professional environment, he spoke with MindBodyGreen's Emma Seppälä about how they function in a romantic sense.

Put simply, Seppälä relays that Grant categorizes the givers as the most romantically successful and attractive of the three types, but at a cost. These people are kind, selfless, loving, and supportive in relationships. "The trait people most highly value in potential romantic partners (both men and women) is kindness," he explains. "Givers also tend to be affectionate, a trait that strongly affects the longevity of a relationship."

Of course, being a giver also has its drawbacks. "Givers' strongest motivation is to take care of others and to contribute to their lives in positive ways," he continues. "As a giver, you may often think about gifts for your partner or about things you can do for them." But this type of selflessness can result in them taking the blame for things or even thinking they're unlovable or not good enough since they tend to take responsibility for the relationship. 

Because of this, he further argues that "in the most successful relationships, both partners are givers… In other words, when a romantic relationship works, even matchers and takers are focused on giving. Both partners might give in different ways, but they should be willing to support each other without expecting something in return. That said, when things get too far out of balance, I think we all become matchers."

Pick up a copy of Give and Take to learn more about Grant's theory.

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