WEEK 3 Theme : Friendship and Gifting
This week I invite you to put your heads around this thorny little devil: gifting. I did a quick google search. This is what I found – the Australian Government has strict gifting rules and conditions on how much of our assets we can legally give away before it affects our future financial health. I expect most countries would be the same. It gets awfully complicated. When I was still working we had to establish a procedure and guidelines for staff about receiving gifts whether it be from agencies (potential bribery) or clients (power differential and professional boundary issues). There had been one too many breaches of ethics.
I had a thorny dilemma when I met a client for a final cup of coffee to celebrate the end of a long time of working together. She was ready to move on. I had decided beforehand that I would pay for both coffees as a final thank you, also knowing that her finances on a disability pension were very limited. However, she trumped me and insisted on paying for mine as she handed me a beautiful thank you card. This was a gracious and heartfelt gift for which she had saved several weeks out of her pension. There was no way I could decline. It touched me deeply and I have never forgotten it. In this instance sticking rigidly to rules would have been rude, disrespectful and hurtful. The real value of this thoughtful and beautiful gift was beyond price.
Gifting between friends of course is a very different issue. There are no professional constraints or legal procedural minefields to traverse. But are there ethical dilemmas and other constraints? Perhaps there are cultural factors to be taken into consideration. Is there a financial inequity that creates discomfort or embarrassment? Who makes the rules? Do you ever discuss gifting? We had a fun tradition for many years with some Aussie friends. We celebrated un-Christmas in mid winter. Gifting, by agreement, was limited to $2 per person initially. As inflation bit, we had to increase it to $3. The fun was in seeing who was the most creative within, or under budget.
Have you ever received a precious, priceless gift from a friend? Or given one yourself? What was it, and what made it so special? OR imagine gifting something priceless to a friend. What would you choose and why?
This week’s warm ups:
New to THE CIRCLE of FRIENDS month of May here at Soul Gifts – Telling Tales?
Here’s how it works. Every Sunday of May I will publish a CIRCLE of FRIENDS topic for the week. You are invited to interpret it in any way you like – a story, a poem, a photograph, a quote, a recipe… there is no limit to how friendships are made, nurtured and rekindled. Post your contribution to your own blog with a link to the Circle of Friends. Every Saturday I will magically pull it all together into a post so everyone can enjoy what has been shared. Here they are –
Not a blogger? Doesn’t matter! You can still take part by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org , commenting at the end of the post , on LinkedIn or my Facebook page.
Take part in as many or as few as you like. The topics I suggest are just that – suggestions. You may have something else in mind entirely. That’s fine too. Or you may want to visit week 1 in week 4. That’s OK too.
© Raili Tanska