Lesson No. 12: Oh Wad That The Giftie Gie Us…

According to a personality inventory quiz I recently took, I’m an introvert. Not altogether surprised about that, since I never really enjoyed meeting new people, and being in a crowd saps my energy. But it did give me a chance to do a bit of introspection. And I figured out something about myself: I often gave people gifts so they’d like me. I’m not talking about family members. I wanted to give them things—wished I could have given them more. I’m talking about people I barely knew, people I worked with, neighbors and people I went to church with. And I often gave people things that cost more than my modest income would comfortably allow.

Realizations: 1. Giving gifts or deferring to someone in hopes it will make that person like you doesn’t work; they’ll just take your flattery/gifts and despise or mistreat you anyway. My mind flashes on the image of a puppy with its tail between its legs, piddling on the floor in an act of submission. 2. Giving overly expensive gifts is in reality a passive-aggressive way to put the receiver in your debt, making them uncomfortably aware that they owe you. Of course, if that’s the intention, give oh give away. But understand that along with feeling beholden, they’ll resent you. 3. While I’ve not had the mixed blessing of falling into this category, giving an overly-expensive gift could be a way to tell the world you’ve arrived, you’re wealthy, you’re relevant. 4. Or perhaps you feel guilty you’re a HAVE, while those around you are HAVE NOTS.

Don’t get me wrong—I still believe it’s better to give than to receive. In fact, I feel stronger than ever about the importance of helping those in need. It’s not just important, it’s something I believe we’ll be called on to answer for. But I’m not discussing altruistic behavior. I’m talking about covert ways to control someone else’s feelings or behavior.

So I’ve decided to try to make my gifts appropriate to the recipient. And I realize just because something costs a lot doesn’t necessarily mean it has value.

4 thoughts on “Lesson No. 12: Oh Wad That The Giftie Gie Us…”

  1. Olive,
    Your last two gave me pause. There was a lot to process and I am still thinking on it. Your comments on punishment and your dad being “a product of his own generation” really struck home. My dad’s punishment methods would cross the abuse line today and like you they were something I wanted to avoid but unfortunately seemed to find fairly regularly. But one thing they also mad clear in abundance was that they loved me. As gifts go, they don’t get much better than that. That does not diminish the temporal disappointment of a skipped birthday however!

    We thought of you and Victor as we passed through Albuquerque. I wish we could have stopped for a visit but needed to get to Colorado to see my mom who is now 90. Maybe next time at that great restaurant in Los Lunas!

    1. Hey Tom!
      So good to hear from you. Thank you for your comment.
      Sorry we couldn’t get together when you came through. I hope you enjoyed the visit with your mom. What a gift that you still have her.
      Please do let us know next time you’re passing through here. We’d love to have lunch with you guys.
      Safe travels.

      1. Olive,
        Thanks and you are right having my Mom at 90 years old is a great thing. We did consider calling you on our way through but we were running late. We left AZ on the 1st of April and went to Trinidad then on to C Springs to see my daughter. On the way the motorhome puked and we stayed and extra week to get it fixed. Layed over in Ft. Collins so I could get in two work days (I still consult 4 days a month) and then after leaving Laramie the motorhome puked again with the same exact problem! I don’t think we will ever get home…will keep you posted.

        Take care

        1. Hey Tom,
          So sorry to hear about your trials. Frustrating thing, a puking motor home. Here’s hoping things get better.
          Safe travels. And a pox on all things mechanical that don’t work right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *