Selfish Gifting

Exchanging gifts is a strange human art.

Many people are frustrated with the whole concept, perhaps because their analytic reasoning sees it as a useless exchange of money; or maybe they don't like the pressure of choosing an appropriate gift for every situation.

Gift-giving can be a complicated ordeal, but only because it is so deeply rooted in our social culture; and anything social is complicated.

Have you ever opened the gift from an egocentric giver?

Egocentric - "thinking only of oneself without regard for the feelings or desires of others; self-centered"

The gift is usually exactly what the giver would have wanted. In fact, he/she probably bought one for him/herself. They will write something in the card like, "I really love these", with the implication of, "and so should you".

I think this type of gifting displays something rather sad--the giver spent more time thinking about him/herself than you.

I'm not advocating you get angry and smash the gift in front of them or make a public display to humiliate them. I'm also not writing this so you or I can think back to every time this has happened and "defriend" those people on Facebook. 

I'm writing this as a reminder to not give egocentrically.

Some of the worst offenders are people that believe they have the right to coerce you into being something different than who you are. 

I hate to say it, but parents do this quite often. They see their child as brain surgeon, but really the kid faints at the sight of blood and loves to garden and play guitar. What does the kid get for their birthday? Books about clinical medicine and an all-inclusive trip to science camp.

The Dad loves cars, and his son would rather write poetry. For Christmas he gets a subscription to a muscle car magazine. Hurray! Thanks.

But friends can do it too. Anyone who thinks more about him/herself than the recipient can be the egocentric giver. Whether the giver is aware or not, they are shrouding their agenda in kindness.

Next time your faced with the opportunity to show someone kindness through a gift, think about that person and the clues they've left for you. Ask some questions of people that know them, and by all means, don't choose a gift based on what you like!

Image credits:
Gift in hands image from
Someecards gift quote image from
Woman talking cartoon from

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