Giving Produces a Bigger High Than Receiving
If you give someone a really great gift this week, you'll still be feeling the high five days from now, according to a new study. And the buzz from receiving wears off a lot more quickly.
When I got a pedicure last week, the technician that I've been seeing for five years surprised me with a gift. I thought I was supposed to be giving her one! We've become friends and we know all about each other's children, pets, and dating histories and she's someone I would probably buy a present for during the holidays even if it wasn't just good etiquette. It's the right thing to do to give an extra tip to those who offer a personal service and I did that, but that small act of giving was overshadowed by her gift to me that was totally unexpected. She outgave me. And her high will probably last a lot longer than mine.
A new study says the joy of giving is a high that last longer than receiving. Researchers gave people a small gift card to spend, and those that spent the money on someone else kept the buzz going for five days, and those who spent the money on themselves had an initial high that faded quickly. Kinda like those times that we bought a hot new shirt for ourselves that ended up sitting in the closet unworn for six months. We would have been better off giving it to someone else.
The excitement over gifts changes with age, doesn't it? Kids run down the stairs on Christmas morning excited to rip open packages to see what they'll receive. As parents, we want to see their faces light up over what we give them, and we're not so concerned about what we'll open up for ourselves. In theory, at least, making other people happy really does make us happy.
I hope you give some great smartphones, diamonds, and cozy slippers this week, and I hope you get a few too. Merry Christmas.