No, You Shouldn't Be Triggered By The "What Do You Bring To The Table?" Question.

No, You Shouldn't Be Triggered By The "What Do You Bring To The Table?" Question.

Boy…oh boy…OH BOY. If there is one question that I really wish I could get to the source of who originally asked it — or more importantly, brought it back up — “ So, what do you bring to the table ?” would be in the top five…easily.

And look, it’s not even that I think it’s a bad question. It’s just that it’s become so distorted and even weaponized at this point to where I personally think people have lost sight of how it actually should be processed — and then addressed. I mean, just look at how triggering it is for some people:


#stitch with @jadaamorr its a trick question ladies dnt fall 4 it

See what I mean? So anyway, since the question is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon (chile), I wanted to provide some perspective on it. A perspective that hopefully will make it feel like a genuine question — whether you’re asked it or you decide to ask someone else.

Let’s all take a seat at the table, shall we?

“I Am the Table!” Sounds Arrogant (and a Bit Delusional) AF. Here’s Why.


C’mon. Is it a surprise to any of y’all that 50 percent of individuals say that social media has impacted their relationship in a pretty negative way? Hell, it shouldn’t. And honestly, the many ways that it does is an article all on its own. For now, I want to touch on one that gets overlooked more than it probably should: parroting.

What I mean by that is people who watch someone on TikTok or Instagram say something, it catches on and suddenly everyone thinks that it’s a profound statement. Case in point — when a lot of people are asked, “So, what do you bring to the table?” and the response is (usually quite rudely, I might add), “I AM THE TABLE!” I don’t know why anyone thinks that answer is sufficient or even remotely appealing.

I think we all get that the table is a metaphor for the relationship and trust me, the more you value your time, effort, and energy out in these dating streets, the more you want to know if someone is going to waste those things or not (more on that in a bit).

So, since the table is the relationship in this case, boldly declaring that you ARE the relationship only comes off as sounding entitled and selfish — and who wants to date someone like that? Besides, mimicking what you hear others saying (so damn much) is actually a bit of a cop-out. I mean, imagine asking a man what attributes he brings to a relational dynamic and all he simply says is “myself.” You see how off-putting that is?

In my opinion, social media has caused that question to be far more triggering than it actually should be. No one is “the table.” And anyone who believes that are far better off sitting at their table… alone.

Women Tend to Have Old Testament Scrolls While Men Have “Three Items or Less”


Not too long ago, another relationship coach and I were discussing a similarity that we noticed when it came to what women look for in a man vs. what men look for in a woman. While many women will literally pull out a journal and read off their list for five minutes (LOL), guys tend to keep things very simple:

  • Fit, friendly, feminine
  • F — k us, feed us, need us
  • Sex, sandwich, silence

And yet, when their wants are stated, oftentimes, they are pulled apart to shreds for it. Why is that? Why is there such a social conditioning that it’s okay for us to want the world and men should settle for next-to-nothing? Why are the three things that they oftentimes state really all that big of a deal?

At the end of the day, men and women are different (God made it that way and science cosigns on it all of the time), so our needs, wants and expectations are going to be too. A man who is expected to protect and provide is oftentimes going to want things that will fuel him in order to make that happen (like sex, nourishment, and some peace). Being asked if we can deliver that shouldn’t be something that stresses any of us out. If you are able to deliver that, cool. If not, that’s fine too. But don’t villainize them for asking.

And speaking of asking, when you get a chance, ask five of your male friends what they want a woman to bring to a long-term relationship and see if there are not only similarities but SIMPLICITY in their responses. If there is any part of you that is tempted to go on the defensive, ask yourself why. A relationship is supposed to be full of reciprocity . This means that both people should get what they need out of it…not just one. And if a man is willing to read your scroll (if you have one), you should at least entertain their three-point list. It’s only fair…right?

Wise People INVEST Not SPEND


A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “ Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time? ” Listen, I am a firm believer that you can ABSOLUTELY waste your time with someone. That’s because I’m a word-literal person and I know that waste means “to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander.”

Giving. Without. Receiving. An. Adequate. Return. Is. A. Waste. Of. Your. Time.

This is why I’m all about coffee dates on the first date (why should he spend hundreds of dollars or you have to sit with him for two hours if one or both of you aren’t feeling any real chemistry or potential connection?) This is also why I don’t mind the “table question” coming up within the second or third date , especially since there are a significant amount of studies that say a lot of people have sex within the first month if not on the first date (check out “ How Many Dates Should You Wait to Have Sex? ”) — and believe me, once oxytocin has its way, it’s easy to throw all kinds of common sense and discernment out of the window.

Asking someone what they bring to the table , early on can help you see if they are a good fit for what you need at said table. If they aren’t, that’s not a slight on them or you (if you don’t meet their needs). It’s simply a way to make sure that you’re not spending who you are and what you have to offer on someone/something that’s already showing signs that it will never turn out to be a wise investment.

And just what’s the difference between spending and investing?

SPEND: to pass (time) in a particular manner, place, etc.; to use up, consume, or exhaust
INVEST: to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something; to furnish with power, authority, rank, etc.; to furnish or endow with a power, right, etc.; vest

If someone wanted you to invest in their business, you’d want to see some solid intel that would prove it to be a wise decision — a wise investment. Just giving away money and hoping for the best is how you can end up spending which has a huge chance of turning into wasting .

When it comes to relationships, asking what someone brings to the table and being asked the same thing in return basically means, “We both should invest wisely. Let’s discuss if that will be the case,” instead of assuming that time will eventually reveal these things once we are already…caught up in each other.

“Bringing” Means QUALIFIED


Anytime I hear someone go on and on about what they deserve in a relationship, the definition of deserve is what immediately comes to mind. “Hmph. So, what you’re saying is you are QUALIFIED for what you want?”

Qualified: having the qualities, accomplishments, etc., that fit a person for some function, office, or the like.

I will forever die on the hill that a part of what it means to be entitled when it comes to relationships is someone expecting — or worse, demanding — what they themselves are not. For instance, folks will be out here talking about how they won’t settle for less than six figures when they are in five-figure debt while not even making half of that. Other folks will say that they deserve someone in great shape when they haven’t seen the inside of a gym in years.

And perhaps that’s part of the reason why some men and women struggle so much with being asked about what they bring to the table. It’s because it keeps them from being able to deflect from the question of if they are indeed qualified for what they are expecting themselves.

Another way to look at this is, why would it be stressful for someone to ask you what you bring to the table or what qualifies you to want the things that you do in the relationship if you have solid answers? And not a resume rundown either because a resume is for a job, not a relationship. If you feel like you deserve to have a long-term spouse and you know that you have qualities that fit the bill of that type of relationship , being asked what those are isn’t annoying — it’s your time to shine.

Qualified people are never afraid of being asked to show their qualifications. I’ll just leave it at that.

A Set Table Is a Prepared One


Remember how much it used to suck to get a pop quiz when you didn’t do the reading that was already assigned? It’s almost like we tried to cop an attitude with the teacher because we were ill-prepared.

And that’s basically what a lack of self-accountability looks like and baby, it’s an epidemic out in these streets, just how many people are severely lacking in that area. When you know that you are a solid candidate for a long-term relationship, folks can ask away — matter of fact, you are almost thrilled to share what you’ve got to offer. Oh, but when you’re lacking, you’re unsure of yourself or you prefer to focus more on what they can do for you than what you can do for them…suddenly their making inquiries feels like a personal attack.

At the end of the day, tables look different in different homes based on personal preference and need. Same for relationships. So, while the “So, what do you bring to the table?” question doesn’t — and quite frankly, shouldn’t — have the same answer for everyone, let’s get away from acting like it’s the most offensive question on the planet…when really, it’s about as realistic and practical as they come.

Nothing’s wrong with being asked what you bring to the table…when you know what you’ve got to offer and that it’s something that’s mind-blowingly good.

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Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find , there’s no denying that she is that girl.

Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.


How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can't have it all?” Do you think there’s any truth to it? The more I resonate with the thought, I realize it just depends on what one considers “all.” In this “How We Met” story, I chatted with two individuals who have reached an unusual level of success but, for years, celebrated it alone. Now, they have a beautiful marriage centered around faith, family, and legacy.

But the journey to getting there required them to be uniquely intentional, submit fully to God, and practice an amount of vulnerability that I think most people would find uncomfortable – especially on the first date.