It might be time to throw away some old-fashioned social norms. In particular, I am speaking of gift giving and invitations.
No, I’m not saying we should STOP giving gifts and STOP inviting people to things. Rather, I feel it is time to stop having negative emotional responses to them.
Hear me out here. Gift giving a a thoughtful process, right? You see something that you think someone else will enjoy, so you buy it for them. Sometimes it is spontaneous and sometimes it’s for a specific occasion.
But here’s where the obsolete social norm comes into play. If someone gives us a gift, we feel compelled to return the favor. Right? WHY? I mean, really…why? Isn’t the whole idea of a gift….well, giving? I know someone who keeps a closet full of random, wrapped gifts, just in case someone brings a gift over and they were caught un-prepared.
“Oh, my! Thank you for this amazing print of the cover art from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It just so happens, I have something for you too! Haven’t you always wanted a set of Tiffany glasses???”
I’m sorry…I would almost be MORE offended for getting a thoughtless reciprocated-induced gift, than no gift at all. The best gifts are the genuine gifts. Not gifts for gifts sake.
Which brings us to invitations. Invites are a funny thing. Have you ever invited someone because you felt you had to? How about NOT inviting someone because you thought they wouldn’t have fun or wouldn’t be able to make it anyway?
Hogwash to both, I say. Again, the purpose of invitations is to invite people to a certain gathering or occasion you are organizing. There should be a definite reason and desire behind each invitation. Invites should NOT be influenced by what someone may or may not think about said invitation. They should be focused on whether or not YOU want them at the occasion.
On the flip side, if you don’t get invited, try not to be too harsh on the invitee. There could be NUMEROUS reasons you don’t get invited. If it truly bothers you, then you should ask them directly, but not offensively. This could be the third social norm that is outdated.
“I don’t want to ask them because they might get offended.” Wait, so you would rather stew about being offended, then have a conversation about it? Not healthy, my friends. Not healthy at all.
The idea here is to stay genuine. Genuine gifts leads to genuine happiness. Genuine invites leads to genuine happiness. Genuine conversations leads to….well, genuine answers, which is where we should all strive to be. It’s how we all become better and happier in the long run….genuinely.