Why don’t you feel tired of giving?

Esther is a confused human being
5 min readMay 27, 2024


Most humans I meet in my life are either takers or neutralists. Yes, of course, people all give and take at different moments of their lives, but I strive to learn from my friends who are givers. Those who have the ability to take care of others and are sensitive enough to see what other people need.

Takers in the house vs Givers in the house

Let me tell you some taker examples. Some friends who want to stay in my house will bomb me with a simple text, “I’m coming to your city from Jan 3rd to 11th, can you host me?” And then I will need to handle all the stuff…from when to open the door, copy a new key, give them the towels, and worry that they might use my toothcup without asking…If friends are less sensitive, some of them will even call me earlier so I can wait for them downstairs when they arrive. Sure. We are friends, and most of it is unintentional, but it’s a lot of work. However, my roommates do all of these without a complaint, copying many keys for guests and sacrificing her own schedule to open the door. What the hell?

I asked my roommate, “How do you do it? Why don’t you feel annoyed or tired?”

“It’s okay. We are friends,” she gave me no answer.

In addition, whenever she went to people’s houses, she not only made sure people were comfortable with everything, but she also prepared gifts to thank them for hosting. Always a gift. Always treating people to dinner or doing something else. I used to think these kinds of “polite East Asian manners” were stupid because we studied Etiquette (禮). But as I grow, I learn to appreciate the intention to thank people when they give, and her extra effort in giving back and giving more.

So over time, even though people I meet are talented and smart, they come and go, but she stays. Of course, who wants to be with those who are just good at talking? People want to be taken care of and to feel loved. Whenever I’m around her, I remind myself to be grateful to be better and learn from how giving she is. I often practice giving around her, because I know if I notice 1 thing she did for me, it indicates that there are 10 other things I haven’t seen. I can be better.

What my roommate bought me when she traveled back from Japan. Apparently, Esther got too spoiled that she would ask, “Why do you share my cookies with others?! 😤”

Giving is independent of financial status?

I often give more when I’m rich and give less when I’m poor, but apparently financial status didn’t hinder my Taiwanese friend, S. Whenever I went to his house to co-work, not only did he cook really decent food for me, and for free, but he would also insist on paying for my late-night Uber to go home. Whenever we had more food than we needed, he would not save it for himself, but call his friend to pack it home. I find it so hard to do it.

He cooked me Taiwanese beef noodle soup and Scallion pancake after tiring work days. The paper bag is even handmade by his baking sheet.

How did he manage to share when the food was so good, and he could just have it for the next meal?

How did he manage to give me money and food when he is also a very poor student without any income?

I know you might say maybe we aren’t just vanilla friends. But that’s really not true. He isn’t rich, but he supported his girlfriend for the entire trip from Taiwan to SF, with flights, food, and housing, paying all the $2000 he saved in his past internship. Wtf? How?

I asked him, “How do you do it? Won’t you feel very salty if you two are in a terrible relationship?”

“Hmm…I don’t think so. I think the act of giving itself is enjoyable,” he said.

I think I understand but not really. Spending all of the money you earn for many months just for someone else’s traveling experience without promising rewards (because you might break up)? When your friend ate all your food without paying but you still want to pay for their Uber home? That’s crazier than GPT-4 to me.

Last week, when I finally earned money from contract work and happily told him I could pay for our food, do you know what he said?

He asked me to save it. He said, “You should think of our dinner as if you were coming back home to your grandma’s house.”

All the unconditional love I got

Generally, I give a fair share as much as how much people give me. But whenever I’m around these people, my equation breaks down because I always can give more. I know that giving is one of the core capacities of love. Every interaction with them reminds me that I am still very far from them, but in this lifetime, I encourage myself to learn from them and eventually to be similar to them.

He always asked me to take the food first. He will always give me the better the prettier bowl he has, and used the ugly one.