Pricing Relationship

When gift-shopping turns out to be relationship-pricing, it is hard for Jiann Chyuan not to notice how everyone prices their relationship subconsciously.

It is the time of the year again, Christmas. Indeed, it is not the kind of celebration I am used to cheering out loud, though it has become the most commercialised celebration around the world nowadays.

Again, I’m in Europe now. What is extraordinary has very often transformed to be ordinary to me now. A recent shopping for gifts has made me realised the fact that everyone does actually has a top price in someone else’s heart.

I was not shopping for Christmas gifts. But I was shopping for some little souvenirs to my two Norwegian flat mates for the past couple of months. How sweet you may think. However, when idealism ironically meets with reality, I was thrown with the question: How much am I going (and willing) to spend on these two acquaintances in my life?

The question was provoked by Stella actually, since she was accompanying me and to purchase gifts for her house mates, whom apparently closer to me than my own. When we were on our way to down town, this question centred our conversation, and I certainly do think that it worth for thoughts.

We are not rich, and gifts are always expensive in winter season, especially in Norway. And just so you know, we are no stingy people and we do have money to spend. But still, why is the question even exists if there isn’t any blocking condition?

At first we agreed upon not to be bothered by the question. But it came back to haunt us when we were faced with options: to pay more for something better, or to pay less for something not so bad?

It is very often not challenging to realise that we actually do price our relationship when it comes to gifts. I’m not sure about anyone else, but at least this is applicable to me, and apparently to Stella as well. Do we judge the value of friendships with the value of gifts?

Another example in pricing a relationship would be the ‘ang pow’ we receive during every Chinese new year. If we do not value how much a relationship worth, why do we even bother to pack, and afterwards to check the amount of money inside the red packet?

Is it ethically wrong to ponder how much we should spend on someone or am I just acting too sensitively? But if we do not price the relationship, will we end up being cheapskate or an over-spender?

Certainly, it is not the topic about being a smart consumer. But I can’t help but wonder would pricing relationships make us a wise shopper and eventually saving our pocket from the unnecessary fire-burning accidents?

I’m not sure whether you have had similar situations as I did, I remember there were occasions when I had in mind what to give for someone, it turned out that the perfect gift was a little too pricey. Was it not affordable to me? Not really. But why would I having such kind of feeling? I refuse to admit it, but I think the very probable answer is that I actually do have a top price for every relationship I am involving in.

If you were shopping for gifts lately, did you face the same dilemma? If you did, perhaps it is time to revise whether the prices of relationships have been updated.