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?
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.
February 13, 2018 9:27 pm|
Interesting post. I would be suspicious of a person who I barely know giving me a gift.
February 15, 2018 8:43 am|
Happy to hear I am not the only one paranoid over it!! 😉 Thank you for dropping by!
February 13, 2018 9:29 pm|
True, Shalz..it’s better to be safe than sorry. You never know the intentions behind the gift giving! In fact, I feel my antenna twitching wildly even when someone talks a bit too sweetly to me, or praises me endlessly. It feels like, ‘dal mein kuch kala hai!’
February 15, 2018 7:47 pm|
Hey yeah me too- I feel so uncomfortable with such gifters; and they have all turned out to be such meanies…
I need to stop being so gullible!
February 14, 2018 12:02 am|
I’ve never experienced this but you are so right Shalini, I would be very uncomfortable. I think I would have to ask, why? I’m terrible at choosing gifts for people under pressure (like the day before someone’s birthday 🙂
February 24, 2018 8:17 am|
Oh I love gifting and its a pleasure to go shopping for them. I pick up my gifts as and when I see them rather than limited to person or the ocassion.
Thanks for agreeing with me on this post Charlie and I hope you never have to go through it; I think the Greeks were certainly onto something 😉
February 14, 2018 12:01 pm|
Unexpected generosity from acquaintances or ‘frenemies’ would certainly raise my antenna and I would be wary of such Greeks bearing gifts.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and it’s so good to have you here, Shalni. Cheers! ♥
February 24, 2018 10:30 am|
Thanks for having me over Shilpa- its such a pleasure to be on your awesome blog.
Eye roll for all the” Frenemies” 😉
February 14, 2018 1:18 pm|
I too would be exactly the same, Shalz. Wary is the word…It does make one suspicious of people gifting anything at all, because you wonder what their actual intentions are. Thanks for sharing your woes with us here. Fortunately, for me too, I can agree that there are some wonderful friendships that we form online which reinstates our belief in this world!
February 24, 2018 10:56 am|
And friendships dont depend on the gifts; but some people na!!!!! So happy to hear your thoughts on this Esha – cheers to our friendship 🙂
February 14, 2018 9:09 pm|
Interesting take and I feel it is so relying today when everything is done with a vested interest. Gone are the days of those handwritten notes and cards.
February 24, 2018 11:02 am|
Ooooh yes. I love the handwritten notes wala zamana too; infact I try to put in a handnote on all my gifts!! Thanks Meha for dropping by 🙂
February 14, 2018 9:10 pm|
February 15, 2018 5:17 am|
I feel extremely uncomfortable if someone I barely know gives me a gift. I am really bad at gift giving too. I don’t give gifts to anyone except when invited for lunch or dinner to someone’s house. It’s terrible that people you thought were friends cheated you that way. But I love how positive you are and still spread the message of love and friendship.
February 27, 2018 6:17 pm|
Thanks so much Raj for making me feel so good about me 🙂 I also love the gesture of taking gifts when I am invited to other peeps homes – it feels good to do that!
February 15, 2018 7:16 am|
It is sickening when people just use us for their needs and dispose the relation with no problem at all. I too have many a bad experiences in this regard. And no one had ever even given me gifts either! I understand why you look at person with doubt when given a gift. I have stopped making friends anymore fearing what might be the intention. A little caution never hurts, right?
March 2, 2018 5:57 pm|
Yup Vinitha a little caution never hurts esp when it comes to the matter of the heart! I agree with how sickening this thing seems when you realise it was to use you! How dumb the other person thinks you are to try this tactic to win your friendship – grrrrr!!!
February 15, 2018 8:10 am|
I doubt if I would accept the gift. At any rate, I would be very suspicious.
March 2, 2018 6:00 pm|
You are so so smart Rachna- I need to become like this and learn to use discretion wisely while meeting new folks!
February 16, 2018 4:28 pm|
I love gift wrapping and sometimes my gifts look more exotic than they really are.
I personally don’t like getting gifts from ‘strangers’, those dumb scented candles or useless bric-a-brac that casual diners bring to your home !
March 2, 2018 6:01 pm|
Hey do share some pics of your gifts- I would love to letch at beautifully wrapped creations!! 🙂
February 16, 2018 6:05 pm|
I agree to your thoughts and like you I don’t like gifts from people I barely know. Plus, anything big makes me uncomfortable. It’s that unnecessary pressure to pay back which I hate. On the three that you had – Gosh! Sorry for you, Shalini!
Shilpa – Thank you for bringing Shalini here 🙂 fun way to learn a little more about her.
February 27, 2018 6:19 pm|
Thanks Parul- yes those three gifts are like an albatross around my neck; I decided to give to someone to make me feel better about it. Give as in not those “gifts” but something new and useful to someone who needed it! 🙂
February 20, 2018 6:30 am|
Nope, I don’t think your reasoning is faulty and I love that quote about gifts having ribbons not strings. The thing is often they do come with strings or at lest with the expectation of reciprocity. Glad you could figure out who your true friends are Shalini.
February 27, 2018 6:18 pm|
Thanks so much Tulika – I loved that quote a lot too. It packs such a punch no! 😉
March 13, 2018 7:25 am|
Gifts from friends not that close would really raise suspicion. But i have loved Secret Santa gift exchange.
I used to leave anonymous gifts for friends in school time.. Made handmade greeting cards for everyone during the New Year or Christmas. Those days were fun.
Now a days I just gift any thing handmade to them who would cherish it and not throw it away after a few weeks..