Are Your Gifts Emotionally Affordable? Ravi attended the marriage of his office colleague. When the marriage ceremony was over, as was the local custom, the guests gave money as gifts which was written in a notebook and the names of the donors were read out in a public address system. Ravi had gifted a hundred rupee note and as he was walking out of the hall he was shocked to hear the amount read against his name. “Mr. Ravikumar – Rs.1000/-. Ravi immediately checked his wallet. The hundred Rupee note he had intended to gift was there. But the thousand Rupee note was gone. Sheer mistake. There was no way he could correct the error which had costed him dearly. When the colleague later thanked him for this unexpected munificence Ravi was actually seething within, Ravi had done a classical mistake which most of us do quite often. He has made a gift which he could not emotionally afford. Ravi could easily afford a thousand-Rupee-gift financially. In fact he has gifted more than that when his close friends got married. But this guy was not that close to merit that large a gift. In this case the emotional unaffordability of the gift was clear. Many times it is not. Santhosh returned from his office that day on the top of his moods. He had been promoted with a hefty increment. He conveyed the news to his wife. Later in the evening his wife requested him to drop her at the beauty parlour. “Why drop you, dear? I will be there waiting for you in the car and bring you back home. Is it not my duty?” “That would be great. But Santhosh, I am going for facials today. May take more than an hour. Is it okay?” “Even if its two hours it does not matter. Give me three minutes. I will be ready.” His wife took one and a half hours in the parlour. Santhosh had to wait in the car in the hot summer evening. He could do virtually nothing in that god-forsaken area.His patience lasted only for twenty minutes. Then he was kicking himself for having offered to wait. Now he could not go back on his word. No doubt he sat through the ordeal. His wife emerged out of the parlour on the top of her moods with a shining face. Santhosh was red hot with anger which he could not express immediately. When they reached home on the flimsiest pretext – his clothes were not ironed or that there was less salt in the subjee – he burst out thus venting out his anger for the waiting. A would have been great evening was spoilt for both of them. Santhosh had made a gift to his wife which he could not emotionally afford and that led to the disaster. In the course of human relationships we do make a lot of gifts. In fact the whole art of human relationship consists of giving and receiving gifts. If the wife falls ill and the husband takes time off his work to attend to her, it is a great gift. Believe me, a sensible woman would cherish this gift much more than a trendy diamond necklace. But before we make a gift we should just look within to ensure whether we can emotionally afford the gift. If we can’t afford it is far better to say a graceful no now than to suffer later, eventually spoiling the whole relationship. My friend wanted to borrow my car for a picnic. Having known about his methods of driving I said no, giving some lame excuse. At first he was furious and shouted something and ran out. A few days later he came to me and apologised. It was much later did I learn that he had borrowed another friend’s car which developed problems on the way and there was a minor accident too resulting in damages to the car. There were heated arguments between them as to the cost of repairs, the condition of the car and so on. Looks like they can never be reconciled. Even listening to another person talking, being polite to a person when that person is rude, brushing aside snide remarks and insinuations from friends – all are gifts we make to sustain the relationship. But if we cannot afford the gift the result is sheer hell. A salesman, after undergoing a vigorous training on how to please his customers, started work. A customer walked into his shop whom the salesman did not like at all. The customer was totally ignorant and was asking irrelevant questions. Nevertheless the salesman bearing in his mind the training he had received indulged in an extra-ordinarily pleasing conversation with the customer softly answering all his irritating questions. Ultimately a sale was clinched and the customer left the shop. The salesman whispered to his colleague: “The sale is done and I have gained a friend. But God, what an enemy he has gained.” Psychologists say more than 90% of the stress happens in human relationships. When someone says that her job is highly stressful, most of the time she has in her mind her difficult boss or her demanding customers, and these tend to strain the relationships and increase the stress levels. And relationships are strained because we always make a gift out of fear that if we do not give, our image would get a beating. We do not look into the emotional affordability of the gifts at all. More often than not we would be whispering ‘yes’ to an unreasonable request while our mind would be hollering a big ‘NO.’ Many parents these days lavish their children with costly dresses, sophisticated gadgets and expensive schooling (though expensive schooling is not synonymous with quality education) well beyond their financial means. In most of the cases these gifts are emotionally unaffordable too. This explains why the slightest provocation, the parents enact violent emotional scenes invariably listing the sacrifices they have made to give the best to their children. Had the gifts been emotionally affordable in the first place such outbursts would not arise at all. And the worst thing a parent can do to her child is to list the sacrifices she has made for him. Nothing distances a child farther than that.