Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts [ Guest Post]

Hello Folks. Say Hi to my today’s Guest Blogger Shalini Baisiwala from Shalzmojo. I had the pleasure of meeting her some time back and she comes across as a warm, confident and intelligent woman with inner strength. An interior designer by profession and a blogger by passion. Shalini blogs about her experiences of travel, food, books, mindfulness.

Please join me in welcoming Shalini to my space here and I hope you enjoy her thoughtful and thought-provoking post.
Over to you, Shalini…

I am a big believer of giving gifts. There is something about wrapping it up, writing a pretty handwritten note, finding that perfect ribbon to tie it in and then the surprise on the receiver’s face – it all totals up into a big joy for me. So if I love giving them, logic says I would love receiving them too – right? I mean give and take is the basis of a good healthy relationship.


Much as I love to give out gifts, and receive them too; my focus is always on why someone is giving me a gift. I know they say “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. But I get very uncomfortable when people whom I barely know or have just recently met, start dishing out gifts to me. I start to look at the intention and every time I look at the gift displayed in my house – be it a coloring book, a magnet or a keepsake of any sort, it makes me uncomfortable.

My discomfort defines my feelings towards that relationship/person and it’s actually my intuition telling me to be careful about it.

In the past one year, there were these three new folks that I met who showered me with gifts. Each relationship had its doldrums beneath the smooth and calm surface of fun and friend ship. Each of the three fell apart as I realized I was being used. The fact of the matter was that the other side decided that I was someone who could be “useful” to them somehow and thus befriended me with that intent.

Silly me – here I was flattered for all the attention of being taken out for a movie, picked and dropped for coffee meets and most times the tab was also being picked up by the other person. Plus the gifts that were being showered on me; even though they were fast becoming a thorn in my side.

Why so? I really needed to analyze it. After all it’s the thought that counts right? But what was the thought behind these gifts?

Out of the three, one relationship went down south in the most miserable way as the perp realized I was not as useful as she had thought me to be. Ouch! The missiles in this case were brutal. I let it go thinking she is bipolar or something.

Second relationship was too much of a one way for me. I was always available to lend my able shoulders for a cry on, my softie heart for empathy and my limitless time as of course I had nothing better to do than wait for her to grace me with her presence. This person started getting a gift with very sweet notes of thank you for my being there for her. But when I would call her, message her or try to meet her; there would be radio silence from the other end. Sometimes I would get apologetic messages letting me know how bogged down she is with work/family/shit…….

Never once in past one year have I been able to catch hold of her when I wanted to talk to her. So the next time she tried to give me a gift, I put my foot down and told her that I cannot accept as she has already given me too much. I think I offended her because then she stopped meeting me altogether.

Third person was too sweet to me and some of our common friends cautioned me against her trying to use me. Actually they were right and I realized that to stop this relationship from going further.

See it is the thought that counts and in each case, the person was assuaging their own conscience by making sure there was a “give” to justify the “take” they wanted from me. A very pre-determined take based on their perception of my usefulness to them.

“Gifts have ribbons, not strings.” – Vanna Bonta

But this is surely not the intent of gifting. In my humble opinion it is not so. I send gifts because they make me happy and it makes me happy because I love the person I am doing it for. Oh I have a give-take in play too; my take is to boost the friendship and let the other person know how important they are to me.

I have made some terrific online friends via Secret Santa and other online interactions who now send gifts to me on my bday and otherwise too. We have never met but the bond has been created and there is a happy reciprocation of gifts, thoughts and love between us. We may never meet in the real world, in fact haven’t even spoken on the phone but our hearts are connected.

Gifts are not merely things but can be thoughts, helping hand, and one’s time – all in all they are stuff you do selflessly without any expectation of a return. That for me is the true nature of gifting.

What is your take on gifts? Do you think my reasoning is faulty? What would your advice be to me on this?

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About Shalzmojo

An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love, blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.