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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Gifts, Favours and Thanks.

    Do you return gifts and favours, how soon or do you ever feel indebted to someone when they dont suggest that you are or attempt to call in the debt?

  2. #2
    curiouser and curiouser bluestripes's Avatar
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    to the first question: yes.

    to the second question: it depends. i am about as disorganized when it comes to this as i am with anything else. sometimes i look into my desk drawer and discover a gift i bought for a friend several years ago and forgot about, which has been lying there and gathering dust. so i take it and hand it over. or i can fail to send a package for weeks or months (for a variety of reasons - not having enough money, not finding the time to go to the post office, forgetfulness etc.) so people eventually receive their birthday or christmas gifts when the next birthday/christmas season is already approaching.

    poor organizational skills aside, it is not the time that seems to matter most - it is what i give and how much thought has been put into selecting it. granted, if i know that the person is more punctual about this, i try to find a suitable gift as soon as i can, or, if this is impossible, i tell them outright that i need more time to get what they requested/what i feel is right for them - all my friends are fine with that.

    to the third question: i suppose i can, but on a deeper level i don't think this is about "owing" anyone anything, or about any mechanical exchange of objects. if a person has given me a present, it means they wanted to make me happier; perhaps their guess was not entirely correct and i didn't exactly like the gift, but at least they have tried, and it is the intention that matters most. so i want to make them happier in turn. it feels right to do do. gift-giving is one of the most essential ways i express affection, too, so that whole sequence can become very significant.
    Last edited by bluestripes; 01-05-2012 at 02:45 PM.
    "i love deadlines. i like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (c) douglas adams

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    "if only i could grow with my eyes - like these leaves - into the depth" (c) sergei esenin

    "god is in the details" (c) proverb

  3. #3
    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Do you return gifts and favours, how soon or do you ever feel indebted to someone when they dont suggest that you are or attempt to call in the debt?
    I usually try to return favors as soon as I can because I hate that feeling of having it hang over me.

    As for gifts...I usually explicitly tell people I don't expect a return for them and I actually get annoyed when people insist on returning the favor or not accepting the gift. I haven't quite put my finger on why, it just irritates the hell out of me. I think it's because I feel like they're rejecting me when they do that.

    I know, irrational. I'm a Feeler, deal with it.
    "The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."
    ― Woodrow Wilson

  4. #4
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    No. I hardly ever feel obligated to do anything. I might have a few moments of empathic remorse if a friend remembers my birthday, or gives me an unrequited gift, but overall, the feeling passes quickly, like water under a bridge. I enjoy the gift and appreciate the thought without too much guilt or obligation. Because I know when I give a gift, it's all about the giving, not the receiving, so I assume the same for my givers as well. And, after all, it's a form of materialism and doesn't really matter much in the scheme of life, does it?



    I love giving gifts to others though, when they aren't required. But like with a birthday party--nah, I have a hard time finding a good one. I like to give gifts spontaneously, and not necessarily on the day they are considered traditional. The exception to this is my kids' birthdays and Christmas gifts. I like to plan for that. Otherwise, giving for me is as I feel it in my heart.


    (i know this isn't how infj's are 'supposed' to be with holidays, gifts, etc.)
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinker683 View Post
    I usually try to return favors as soon as I can because I hate that feeling of having it hang over me.

    As for gifts...I usually explicitly tell people I don't expect a return for them and I actually get annoyed when people insist on returning the favor or not accepting the gift. I haven't quite put my finger on why, it just irritates the hell out of me. I think it's because I feel like they're rejecting me when they do that.

    I know, irrational. I'm a Feeler, deal with it.
    This is the subject of a book by a guy called marcel maus who is one of my favourite writers, its anthropology and he studied "the gift relationship" and he concluded that there was a universal expectation that all gifts would be reciprocated and with something the same value or greater than that received originally.

    He described how the modern welfare states were the first real break with this and how there existed universally in the form of stories as many condemnations of altruism to a fault, he was a social democrat and anti-communist but thought some sorts of benefits were in principle more close to communism than social democratic thinking.

  6. #6
    curiouser and curiouser bluestripes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AphroditeGoneAwry View Post
    I love giving gifts to others though, when they aren't required. But like with a birthday party--nah, I have a hard time finding a good one. I like to give gifts spontaneously, and not necessarily on the day they are considered traditional. The exception to this is my kids' birthdays and Christmas gifts. I like to plan for that. Otherwise, giving for me is as I feel it in my heart.
    i feel much the same way. though i guess i view holidays as a handy pretext for getting gifts. at least some of the people i know would refuse to accept one without a "legitimate" reason, or they would attempt to find out why i am doing this. what could i tell them - that i did it "just because" or that i was at the store and saw this thing that i felt was just right for them, and was unable to resist buying it? for some that explanation does not work well at all.

    (i have one friend who has told me to never give her any gifts, even during traditional holidays, because this makes her uncomfortable. i'm glad she was honest about this - now i know the doesn't want/need this and would prefer me to show warmth in other ways, which is fine with me. but somewhere deep down, this does leave me frustrated. it is as if i haven't done something i ought to have done).

    two things that would put me off -

    - buying whatever happens to be at hand just for the sake of bringing a gift, even if it is useless or there is no thought/"soul"/whatever behind it;

    - calculating the actual price of the gift received from a friend to make sure that yours is going to cost as much or more (as opposed to being valuable or useful - which may or may not entail a high cost).

    i've seen people do both and i suppose it is natural for them, but it doesn't feel so for me. something about it grates on me.
    "i love deadlines. i like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (c) douglas adams

    "there are only two ways to live your life. one is as though nothing is a miracle. the other is as though everything is a miracle." (c) albert einstein

    "if only i could grow with my eyes - like these leaves - into the depth" (c) sergei esenin

    "god is in the details" (c) proverb

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