Training Partners to be Helpful
Some relationships feel like all give and no get. The flexible nurturing and receiving that flows back and forth in a healthy relationship becomes stuck in master/slave or thankless/martyred roles. Often, “givers” think that if they just give enough, others will follow their example. Because they anticipate others’ needs, they think people should be equally capable of foreseeing theirs. When givers finally do ask for help, often it is done with so much complaining that others don’t feel like responding. They know that after all the nagging, givers will end up taking care of things themselves. The truth is that giving is not a sign of love and caring—it is a sign of good training! There is much that givers can do to teach people around them to be more thoughtful:
Some strategies for partner training are adapted from Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray (HarperCollins, 1992).