I recently gave a gift to someone. It wasn’t well received. I really thought I was doing the right thing, but apparently I had not thought it through. And, I didn’t realize I’d made a mistake until the person didn’t thank me and actually became upset with me.
It led me to thinking about gift giving. Why do we give gifts? I hope we do so to make someone happy and feel good … to let them know how we feel about them. But, do we really think about what the other person wants? Do we really do it all for them or is part of it for us? What should we do when the receiver is unhappy with the gift?
Giving has been a subject of studies on human behavior by psychologists, economists and retailers. Giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction that helps to define relationships and strengthen ties with family and friends. Psychologists say that it is often the giver, more than the receiver, who gets the greatest psychological return from a gift.
Unconditional gift-giving starts by sharing a piece of yourself – the love you feel for someone, shown by the time taken to select a gift in a considerate manner, and combining it with not wanting anything at all in return. It is not about how much you spend, it’s about how much thought went into it.
Giving to another reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel happier. It is a reflection of our gratitude (even when it is not so well received).
The important thing about gift giving is to remember that everyone is different and we can’t expect smiles or “thank you” every time. However, if we’ve given with a good heart, the receiver’s reaction or lack thereof, should not bother us (in a perfect world – and in this instance, I was not perfect!).
Despite the fact that this one didn’t work, I’ll still keep giving gifts … it’s totally my nature! However, I’ll be a bit more careful about the gift, to whom it’s going and whether it’s the right thing for the person on the receiving end. I’ll also make sure that I’m not hoping for a thank you or acknowledgement of some sort. Lesson learned. And, it only took 51 years!
Oh, I should say … I love any kind of gift and “thanks” comes pretty easily to me so don’t hesitate to try!!! 🙂