I was visiting a friend.
Her in-laws had just arrived for a short stay, and she introduced them to me. She was wearing a lovely costume that they had brought for her, and she looked quite fetching. She was also somewhat tense.
When her in-laws retired, I asked her if something was troubling her. She assured me that she was fine and made a disparaging remark about her visitors.
I chided her for her remarks about someone who had just given her a grand present.
She laughed good naturedly. “If you knew what was really happening you’d have used a lot stronger language,” she said.
I was piqued and inquired further.
“They just put another rope around me,” she said.
It turned out that her in-laws remembered every gift they had ever given her. They asked her why she never wore that wonderful dress they got her a few years ago. They were not above asking their son, her husband, if she was annoyed at them because she did not use that adorable handbag they got for her from an exclusive boutique. They even got hurt if she did not remember whether some gewgaw they gave her was for a birthday or an anniversary.
“I have enough going on in my life without having to keep track of all that,” she said good humoredly. “I don’t want that crap anyway.”
What about you?
Do you give gifts with strings attached?
Do you check to see if the painting you gave a friend is displayed? Did they actually read the book you sent them? Does their kid play with the toy you ordered for him?
Life is short. Don’t complicate it. Don’t give gifts with strings attached.