Monday, December 25, 2017

Finding the Right Gift

Written by CEO Ben Arnold (ChatFellow)

(Image: # hot-chocolate-winter-chocolate-hot)

Perhaps one of the most difficult things in the world for a person to do besides speaking in front of an audience, is choosing the right gift for a friend, as one psychologist pointed out, "gift giving seems like it should be simple, but..." (1). And now that we're a global family (2) how do you pick the right gift for somebody who is from another country and culture?

"Some individuals have formed well-meaning relationships with people they’ve never met." (2)

And now the majority of our friends are virtual! Perhaps they're real, perhaps they're who they say they are. This is what I'm going to talk about today is those virtual friends. Because they far outnumber your real friends.

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I remember a story about a lady who fought in the newspaper classifieds with somebody who disagreed with her views. They battled verbally in word, submitted to the classifieds each month, year after year for decades.

Then one day her best friend past away, from old age. She went over to her best friend's home where they were having a gathering in her honor, and people were bringing gifts, and displaying some of her prized possessions, photos, and so on. The friend was startled to discover a book with clippings of the classifieds segment of her arguments with a mystery person. The mystery person was her best friend! All those years she'd been fighting with her best friend, many decades of her life.

Those were years she couldn't get back, moments that could've been happy and shared instead of bitter and remorseful. Now she would feel that regret forever. Is there somebody online who you wish you could do something good for that person? What kind of gifts can we give to our 2,000+ virtual friends on our social networks? In the forums, our email pals, and so on. It wouldn't be safe for everybody online to exchange actual physical addresses. And so how can we send it to them?

"Most of these friendships stay in the digital space; only 20% of all teens have met an online friend in person." (3)

My neighbor met her husband online (him and I became great friends and I even attended their wedding). I have relatives who met their soul mates online (dare I say my parents met online?). And are "happily ever after" fairy tale ending type stories. Just like in the movies. And so I obviously take online relationships very seriously. And there are also horror stories come true, and so it truly needs to be taken seriously. The good and the bad. Those are real people, real emotions, real lives. Aside from the spam bots and killer robots sent from the future to kill us.

I've been thinking about this for many, many years. Because I have nearly 10,000 online friends between all my various forums (when you exclude the fake, spam, robot, cat, dog, etc). And I want all of them to feel special. Of course I'm always wishing them happy birthday, and happy holidays. And I always click "like" or "love" on their posts. And share their posts when appropriate. But it still doesn't feel like I'm doing enough for them.

And so, this year I propose we do something unique. Perhaps you're already way ahead of me. Maybe you send your friends Bitcoins or digital gifts of value (4). Maybe you've discovered ways to afford 10,000 gifts. And send them online to all of your mystery robot friends who might be human.

If so, I truly applaud your genius because it has taken me so many years to finally find ways that I can show friends that I care about them more than just an acquaintance, and not a stalker, but as a true friend. For starters, something I think many are already doing and have been doing for many decades is send your friends a book, because there are many free e-books. A good read can become a cherished memory.

"An experience (massages, getaways, spa treatments, and fun activities such as live concert, show, or sporting event) can be a more meaningful gift than a thing, plus it doesn’t clutter up the house, and [the tickets, coupon, etc] can be purchased completely last-minute." (5)

Certainly there are many other ways, for example artists create artwork for their friends, others write poems or songs. There are so many opportunities, I pray everybody does this and makes those thousands of people feel special this month. Be safe, but have fun.

-Ben Arnold (ChatFellow)

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CEO Ben Arnold (ChatFellow)
Website: www.ChatFellow.CF



(1) The Psychology Behind Choosing a Perfect Gift
(2) Are Cyber-Friendships Taking Over?
(3) Teens, Technology and Friendships
(4) 7+ Great Digital Gifts That Don’t Need Shipping
(5) Great last-minute gifts you can send by email right now