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Would you like some more? A short tutorial in giving.

February 11, 2010

Politeness is stressful to say the least. I don’t trust it. It pressurizes me to uncover ulterior motives. The pursuit leads to guilt for having thought of the aforementioned ulterior motives in the face of seemingly harmless niceties. Then there is oh-when-I-could-trust nostalgia followed by loss-of-innocence despair followed by oh-well-you-gotta-grow-up-sometime reassurance. Uncomfortable memories are rekindled. The media is blamed. Peace is restored. The moment however, is lost.

What can I say, worldly wisdom insists that life works on game-theory, that relationships are transactional, that there is no ‘give’ without ‘take’ and that basically we’re all waiting wolves in granny’s petticoat. Which is true.

But common human understanding also says that giving feels bloody good. Do the whole ‘serve yourself before you serve others’ bit but also know that the ‘serve others’ bit puts you on ’em clouds! Yes we’ve heard that, read that, seen that and above all, felt that. That it also gets others to give to you, is something you know if you were born a marketeer.

My problem is, ‘gift‘ has stolen all the glamor and thunder from ‘giving’. There is a lot of ‘stuff’ to show. ‘Thought’ and ‘intent’ struggle to be seen. More often than not, they get coated by run-of-the-mill politeness and fall prey to disregard. And there is no one to be blamed, except the noise and the noise doesn’t give a s***.

Unless it’s politeness that spears through it all.

Consider this: We order a pizza. You offer me a slice with a “want?” or “have some?” or “do you like some pizza” or “take a bite?” or “try it” or simply push the box towards me. There is some good pizza yes, but no real offering. If you were to say “would you like some?” and then “would you like some more?”, I’ll be zapped into the moment. Because now, it is about me. Pizza and conversation would’ve happened either way. A moment, however, would’ve happened now – a moment of genuine connect because you made the connection.

Language, words and mannerisms affect us in ways we can’t comprehend unless we’re the nerds behind ’em “latest study shows” articles. Most of us are not, we’re just people looking to have a nice time. If you don’t have a gift for your valentine this year, just go “would you like some more” after a pizza-slice or a dance or a kiss or well…you get the drift.

Or simply try it at random.

Watch its unsettling effect on people. If that works for you.

Happy giving!

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