Once I got a new friend. We exchanged our own memories of an old time, the experiences we had made and found areas where we had a common link. I felt a good connection with him even though we were only communicating in writing.
He was about my age, but even though we both enjoyed writing, he had published books, while for me writing is more cozy and hobby. He worked with a new book, and it would probably be on the market soon.
At one point he said he was going to send me a couple of books he’d released. I didn’t protest, but said it would be nice. It was obvious to me that it should be a gift.
The books came and they were fine, both the pictures and the following text.
I know I thanked him as I was supposed to. But it became clear to me that this had not been enough. After some time he disappeared for me, I was not able to search him up anywhere.
It all led me to a lot of thinking. If it was a gift, should I have offered payment? Should I offer much, equivalent to the full price of the books? Or maybe just a little?
If I had offered money, the value as a gift would have been reduced. The more I possibly offered, the more would I reduce the value of our friendship. The less I offered, the more would I look at our relationship as a friendship.
The more I would have offered as payment, the more would I look at him as a businessman who had sent me books to increase his sales and reduce the rest of his stock. The less I should offer the businessman, the more should I be cheap saving my money for myself.
I remember how I was thinking that time: He offered me the books as a nice gesture, a gift, totally unsolicited, without suggesting that he wanted anything back. I would not be rude and say: No, do not send me the books. He had books left over which he had no longer in the accounts/stock, so this was no big cost for him, even though postage came in as cash cost to him. But my thoughts had obviously been wrong.
We had no friendship. He was a businessman, I was cheap.
I know there is a culture to give approximate same value in return when one receive a gift. Maybe too long time passed until that came to my mind.