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Psychology: Give and Take


All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.

Mahatma Gandhi

This quote seems to suggest that give and take, is just compromise.

In a relationship, give and take can be much more than compromise. Imagine borrowing a little money from a friend to buy a drink or some food. If you pay it back promptly and with thanks, that friend is more likely to lend you money again and more likely to lend you a larger some of money. Give and take is also about building trust within a relationship.


Close friendships are about trust, but they are also about shared experiences. They are about giving each other the benefit of the doubt and providing support. That takes a lot of giving by one friend when the other friend needs to be the recipient within the relationship. It can be very one sided, but it shouldn’t always be one sided. Often we have skills that our friends don’t have and so can give them help and advice using our talents and skills. That skill might be just being a good listener.


In the workplace, give and take is important too. We are social animals and have social skills and these can be used in the work place and in business. Friendly people make better sales people.


There are rules within relationships. We need to be courteous and polite if we want successful relationships. This again is about give and take. We have to have enough respect for other people to be polite and we also have to accept their polite gestures graciously.

Judging people

We all tend to judge others, but we should give people the benefit of the doubt unless we know the full circumstances that influences their behaviour. We may not approve of what some people do. But should we castigate them in public without knowing all the facts? Give and take can  be applied in life  in a wider way, giving almost everyone the benefit of the doubt. This means trying to understand what drives people to behave badly. We don’t have to approve, but we don’t have to condemn people utterly for the slightest transgression of our moral code. After all none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes. It is also important to recognise the difference between deliberate transgressions and genuine mistakes.

What do you think? Do we need more give and take in our everyday lives? Please share your views in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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