“The Kobe prime rib?” she said. “I’ll have that.”
I sucked in a breath as I realized a friend for her birthday (in a dinner with only 3 of us) ordered the most expensive item on the menu.
Plus a salad.
And a drink.
For the rest of the week, I was feeling oddly resentful. It wasn’t that she wasn’t a good friend. Or that she didn’t deserve it. But something just felt wrong when I decided that I’ll ignore my reluctance and drop a few hundreds.
Then I realized. It was this thing called the generosity budget.
Every person in your own social network. Friends and family included each individually have a generosity budget. Granted I think in 1s or 2s (and perhaps video games). That the budget expands and contracts based on events that occur.
Perhaps it was someone who helped you find a new job. Or when you went out for ice cream, he says, “I got it” and swats you away when you try to pay in vain. Or someone who drove you all the way back home even though it was more than 20 minutes away. And most of all, the someone who doesn’t judge or criticize in your moments of weakness.
Then there’s the other events. People who don’t returns emails, phone calls, or ims. The one who stares at you in blankness when you need help and you change subject to what they want to hear and they suddenly become animated. Or the one who appears at your parties simply to drink the alcohol, but to talk with you, it’s one word sentences.
It’s funny how we choose our friends. But it’s rather startling to realize this generosity budget.
I am trying not to be a pushover and try not to do the same to others.
Generosity is self-sacrifice. But to sacrifice for what end…for true altruism? I once remember paying for everything. Almost in spite. In the idea that “you’re not worthy to be paying”. Is that generosity? When the gift comes out of hatred but some may view it’s from the heart?
True generosity is to give what they need, not what they want.