With the festive season winding down I thought it was an opportune time to discuss the psychology of gift giving. This seemingly simple piece of human behaviour is indeed quite complex and fraught with all sorts of twists and turns that one finds in all forms of human communication. And indeed can lead to quite significant distressing feelings and conflict in relationships.
This is the first part of a two part series on the psychology of gift giving.
With all those christmas gifts now having been exchanged one is confronted with that most heinous of human behaviour - Regifting
Now lets face facts, who has never regifted?
Very few will say they have never regifted and those who do are partial to fabrication.
Someone gives you a gift that is not liked all that much. You keep it and at a later time you give that same gift to someone else as a present. The unstated transaction when you regift is that you thought of a gift for the receiver, you went out and bought it with your hard earned dollars, wrapped it and then gifted it to the receiver. That is the great regifting lie.
What really happened is someone gave you a present that you did not particularly like, you kept it and simply passed it on to someone else at a later time. You save the money because you don’t have to buy it and all the time and effort going into deciding on the present, purchasing it and then wrapping it.
However regifting can be a dangerous thing to attempt as you can be exposed as a regifter and thus suffer considerable shame and humiliation that goes along with such an unmasking. You must make sure the gift you are about to regift is clear of any identifying signs that will show regifting has occurred. If you are regifting a bottle of wine in a carry bag you must make sure there is no little card down the bottom thanking you for something by someone else. The regift receiver may find it and then you are exposed. Some times it may have been regifted half a dozen times and the people mentioned on the card are completely unknown to you.
Regifting a book can also be hazardous. You must make sure the gift giver has not written a little message to you somewhere in the book. You must check more closely than just the cover page. Sometimes the gift giver may suspect that you will attempt to regift it and write a note to you in a less obvious place. Or if you simply want to stop any attempt to have your gift regifted later simply write your loving little statement obviously on the cover page and that will stop any subsequent regifting.
Then one can simply forget who gave you the gift in the first place, especially if you regift on a large scale. And you regift back to the person who gave you the gift in the first place. If they recognize such a thing then you have been found out as a regifter.
As I mentioned before regifting can lead to embarrassing and painful feelings by all concerned. So what do you do if you discover that you have received a present that has been regifted?
An ominous question forebodes - Do you expose the regifter? My wise counsel to such a person considering such a question is to recall the words once said by a very wise man.
He who is without sin cast the first stone.
1. If you have regifted in the past how can you live with yourself if you now expose someone else as a regifter.
2. If you expose a regifter as the heinous individual she is, that leaves you open to subsequent exposure as a regifter in the future. Should that happen then ones sense of shame and humiliation at such exposure is magnified ten times as you painfully fall from the high moral ground upon which you have placed yourself.
Be careful you don't end up like this.
On that biblical note here endeth Part 1.