‘There always will be homicides, tyrants, thieves, adulterers, ravishers, sacrilegious traitors: worse than all these is the ungrateful man.’ - Seneca
It hurts when someone is ungrateful.
Story time: I gave an ex-boyfriend's mother some chocolates on meeting her for the first time. I thought long and hard about what to give her and then lost my mind. I ended up spending two hours and £40 on chocolates from Fortnum and Masons (I know this is ridiculous, I was young and my mind wasn't fully developed)
When I handed the box to her she said: 'Oh, God. I really don't like these!' and then handed the box back to me.
I could've cried. I can't remember if i did actually cry, but i do remember that hot burning feeling at the back of my throat, the kind of feeling you get before you're about to weep yourself into dehydration.
She was (and still is presumably) exceptionally rude, there was no doubt about that.
I couldn't change her behaviour, but I could certainly change mine.
I came up with a tongue-in-cheek series of questions to help me deal with ingratitude. I will share them with you:
1. How good was the gift?
The gold-standard of gift giving is donating an organ
The silver standard of giving a person is something they want
The bronze standard is giving someone something useful
Does your gift win any medals?
2. Can I change the way I present gifts?
If you give gifts with great theatrical fanfare and make a spectacle of it, then it's likely that any response will disappoint you. If you give in a sensible, humble and quiet way, you are more likely to be satisfied by the response you get.
3. Should I stop giving this person a gift?
Know when to cut your losses. It’s difficult to know when to strike someone off your present list. Sit down and work out whether you have, on balance, spent more thought on them (in life, not just in the gift-giving arena) than they have on you. If that’s the case it’s not good enough! Cut them loose!
If you feel that you have to give them a gift, asking them what they actually want could benefit you both.
And my final thought:
Don’t ruminate on ingratitude
After you’ve figure out your plan of action to either improve your gift-giving game or to cut someone loose, don’t think about the past. If you think about any negative past events too much, you’ll become depressed. Focus on the future.