Is he a giver or a taker?

You can tell a lot about a person by how generous he is not only with money, but with effort and spirit. Sometimes a person can be generous with words of acknowledgement but nothing else. Sometimes it’s the reverse.

A man I started to date 4 years ago moved into the friend zone after a couple of dates when I started seriously dating another man. We got along well and I enjoyed his intellect and humor so asked if we could remain friends. He agreed.

We’ve kept in touch, seeing each other a handful of times a year for dinner or he’ll ask to stay in my guest room when he has a meeting in my area, about an hour from his. We always go Dutch on any meal, and he never brings anything to my house, not even a bottle of wine. I know he’s a bit of a laggard in this area, but how do you tell someone they don’t have very good guest manners?

He’s had some hard economic times the past few years, mostly because of his lack of ambition and making some very poor choices about money and jobs. However, he got a new, well-paying job recently and has said when he gets caught up with his bills, he’d like to date me again.

A few weeks ago he asked if he could stay in my guest room for two nights. I was going to be out until after dinner the first one, so he ate somewhere else before arriving. I’d suggested we use a Groupon I’d bought for the second night and he said he could at least come up with his half of the balance and would most likely treat me.

When he arrived for the second night and we got ready to leave for dinner, he asked if I could drive. My experience is most men prefer to drive and that’s fine with me. He offered no explanation on why he wanted me to drive.

You’re probably ahead of me — the bill came after dinner and he put in his half of the balance. No mention of picking up my half, even though I’d paid for the Groupon and he was staying at my house for two nights. I didn’t say anything as I know he’s not yet in a good financial place. But why would he even mention he’d treat if he had no intention of that?

But after that the clincher came which will ensure we will never date again. On the way home from dinner, we stopped at a Redbox to rent a movie we’d discussed seeing together. I started to get out of the car and noticed a shady looking guy lurking in the shadows. My pal may or may not have seen him, but he said, “I’ll just stay here.” So he was going to let me get out in the dark with this guy lurking a few feet away. I said, “I need a body guard. You’re 6’3″ and raised in the projects. You’re coming with me.” He laughed and accompanied me to the Redbox. We made our selection and then it came time to pay for the movie. He made no attempt to get out his credit card to pay for it. The dude couldn’t even cough up $1.20 for the movie???

My friend is a taker. He is intelligent and funny, but I need a man who can pull his own weight.

Should I have said something? I’ve made comments in the past when I thought he was being self-absorbed. I can’t say it’s made a difference. Yes, people can change at any age, but one has to want to change. My friend doesn’t apparently want to change. After all, it must be nice to have people do so much for you and you don’t have to lift a finger or actually treat for something.

What’s your experience with takers? Have you seen one turn around and become a giver?


Dating over 40Want to know other behaviors to look for when deciding if you should date — or continue to date — someone? Get your copy of Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?



4 responses to “Is he a giver or a taker?”

  1. Cate Avatar

    I’ve noticed that many man make such a minimal effort — and I’ve chosen not to hit the ball back and usually the small bloom wilt on the vine. I am happy to get the full picture early rather than hoping he will change.

    Is it because they expect older (mid 50’s) middle-aged women to be so grateful for any attention… Or if enough women are looking friends with benefits, that the guys don’t need to do anything more? I do meet a rare man who follows through and shows he values me.

    Yes, many have hit hard financial times — BUT there are ways they can make the effort without big expenses. IF THEY REALLY CARED.

  2. Kate Richlin-Zack Avatar
    Kate Richlin-Zack

    Sounds like you are far to generous. Don’t let him (or anyone else) take advantage of your kindness! It’s up to you to protect it.

  3. lisa Avatar

    I think it is good thing to watch out for–how someone appreciates your generosity and offers something in return. On a friendship level, you just have to accept someone’s flaws and silently put limits on what you will/will not do for them, but I would not consider dating a man who does not recognize and appreciate generosity.

    This man is being very rude in not appreciating your generosity in letting him stay for free with you and not recognizing or thanking you for your paying for things. If he is not even aware he is being rude, I don’t know if there is much hope that someone like that would change.

    I have a friend who said he doesn’t feel he needs to say “thank you” to wait staff because they are just doing their job, and it is only necessary to thank someone if they do something not expected!! He is a good person at heart but is a little lacking in the social skills department and just thinks way too “practically.” Needless to say, I could not date someone like that.

  4. TWVB Avatar

    Time to cut him loose. Another example of men who are lazy, selfish and plain rude.