Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Diminshing Gratitude

One line from a post in MR "the memory of the favor-doing event gets distorted, and since people have the desire to see themselves in the best possible light, receivers may think they didn't need all that much help at the time, while givers may think they really went out of their way for the receiver." explains a whole lot of perplexing inter-personal relationship issues.

Often when we are bailed out in a crisis, our gratitude is deep and heartfelt but with time the poignancy of that event is diminished and to that extent the significance of the favor is reduced in our mind. If the favor-doer has likewise moved on and believes their response at the time was proportional to the crisis, there would be no mismatched expectations or broken friendships.

It is not always true that the recipient of the favor does not think they needed all the help that they got at the time. They may just be unable to rerun the intensity of emotions they experienced at the time and in as such be unable to express (and feel) the gratitude quite the same way. For the favor-doer this implies ingratitude when in fact such is not the case.

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