How Successful Givers Avoid Being Taken Advantage Of

One powerful strategy is to assess the generosity of the people you’re helping. If they’ve consistently operated selfishly, like takers, it may be wise to shift from giving to matching. Instead of assisting them without any strings attached, help them on the condition that they pay it back to you—or pay it forward to benefit someone else.

A second approach is to set clear boundaries for helping time versus personal productivity. For example, there’s a Fortune 500 software company that has encouraged engineers to set “quiet time” three mornings a week from 9am until noon to make sure that constant interruptions don’t interfere with their progress.

A third option is to develop giving networks, bringing together groups of people to make and grant requests in a meeting or on a listserv. By making giving visible, taking is discouraged, and a marketplace often emerges that connects people with those who are best suited to help them.”–Adam Grant