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The Power of Exclusion

When is the right time to axe a member of your group?

We all know people who are takers. Takers are self-serving: They love to get more than they give, and use others for personal gain. Luckily, most people don’t approach their interactions this way. After studying these dynamics for a decade, it turns out that the vast majority of people operate like matchers, striving to keep an even balance of giving and receiving. Matchers follow the norm of reciprocity, trading favors quid pro quo.

For some of us, our focus isn’t on taking or matching, but on giving. I’m not necessarily talking about philanthropy or volunteering—I mean being the kind of person who enjoys helping others and often does it without any strings attached. If you’re a giver, you go out of your way to share knowledge, make introductions, offer advice, or provide mentoring without expecting anything in return.

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