Do you find it hard to accept gifts? If you fret about what other people think about you, accepting can be difficult.
Gillian has money woes. She lost financial ground after a job loss and went into debt. Although she’s working now, her usual feeling of control has been replaced with vulnerability and insecurity. She feels she can’t relax until she digs herself out of this hole.
Millie sees the strain on Gillian and wants to help. She’d like to take Gillian out for a pampering day: manicure, dinner, movie; the works. She hopes it would lift Gillian’s spirits; help her see the bigger picture and know that she will be OK.
Now, Millie can afford to treat her friend. She knows that she is blessed with a good job and supportive situation.
The prospect sounds delightful to Gillian; a perfect break from the bleak winter and her seemingly bleak prospects.
So, what did Gillian do when Millie offered? She declined, of course. “Oh, I couldn’t let you do that!”
Why? What was Gillian thinking? She would feel beholden; she would owe Millie. She couldn’t possibly accept; it’s out of the question.
Is it, though? A reality check question is, “What do you want?”
On the one hand, Gillian would love to have a day of fun with her friend. If she had the money, she’d go in a heartbeat. In fact, if she had the money, it would be even more fun if she could make such as offer to Millie!
Now, that’s interesting. So, Gillian sees it as OK for Millie to accept an offer from her, but it’s not OK for her to accept from Millie?
Assuming that Millie made the offer without coercion or manipulation—that it came simply from the generosity of her heart, then Millie gets something valuable, too. She gets the joy of knowing that she has helped. This is not such a small thing.
If Gillian denies her this opportunity to be kind, does that help anyone?
So, Gillian, why not be gracious and say, “Thank you. I accept your offer.” Have a good time. No need to feel indebted. No need to feel awkward or embarrassed or uncomfortable. No need to feel resentful that someone else has more than you.
Instead, be genuinely grateful for a friend who cares about you. Cherish the memory of a delightful day. Then work your plan and get back into fiscal health. And perhaps, in future, you will be able to make an offer yourself. Maybe to Millie, or to someone else who is down on their luck and who could use some kindness.
If you are thinking of making an offer to someone, be grateful that you are in a position to do so. But first ask yourself, “Will I be happy if my recipient accepts this?” If you are secretly hoping they won’t accept; it’s more honest (and perhaps kinder) to not offer at all.
If you receive an honest, non-manipulative offer, consider accepting it. Why deny someone the joy that comes from giving?
Do you easily accept offers from others?