guilt http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/195/all en-US 8 Times You Should Never Feel Guilty at Work http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_91752527_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="she shouldn&#039;t feel guilty at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Guilt is not a fun emotion. When we forget someone's birthday, or hurt someone's feelings, we have every right to feel a little guilty. Similarly, if we miss a deadline or make another mistake at work, guilt is an appropriate emotion. But sometimes, it's just not necessary. Here are eight times when you should banish those guilty feelings once and for all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work?ref=seealso">8 Awkward Money Moments Everyone Has at Work</a>)</p> <h2>1. Taking Time Off When You Need It</h2> <p>One of the big complaints the HR department has about its company's employees is that they don't take the appropriate amount of time off. In other countries, people take time off regularly, and the company encourages it. They don't want people to be burned out, or hating their job.</p> <p>In the U.S., however, it appears that people don't want to take any time off because they're afraid of being laid off, or seen as not essential. This is wrong on so many levels. We need time off to recharge, and you should not feel guilty about taking vacation time, personal days, paid leave, or sick time. In fact, when it comes to the latter, use your sick time. Do not come into work when you're ill. Sitting at home feeling awful is one thing, but adding guilt to that mix of nasty symptoms is even worse. The company has figured time off into your position, you should take it without ever feeling guilty.</p> <h2>2. Leaving Early If You Worked Late the Day Before</h2> <p>Salaried employees have certain benefits. For instance, in most salaried positions, if you come to work for just one hour, feel ill, and go home, that counts as a day's work. You do not have to use any sick time. Similarly, if you put in a 14-hour shift on a Monday, and you have all your work done by 3 p.m. the following day, you should not feel guilty about going home. You should of course check with your manager first, but any reasonable boss will be more than happy to let you go early, and for good reason. They have just gotten a whole lot of work out of you, and if they want to see that kind of dedication again, they should be willing to be flexible with your hours. Even if you leave early a week or two after you put in a big shift, don't feel guilty. You have more than worked those hours.</p> <h2>3. Competing With a Colleague for a Promotion</h2> <p>A position has opened up at work that you really want. Then you find out someone else, maybe even a friend or boss, is going for the same role. Should you feel guilty about competing for that title? Absolutely not. This is business, and this is also your career. Concentrate on yourself and your own best interests first, and go for that promotion with all the drive and vigor you can muster. To quote Col. Jessop from the movie <a href="http://amzn.to/2a9EinQ">A Few Good Men</a>, &quot;We went to the Academy together, we were commissioned together, we did our tours in Vietnam together. But I've been promoted up through the chain of command with greater speed and success than you have. Now if that's a source of tension or embarrassment for you, well, I don't give a s**t.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Telling Someone They Have a Bad Idea</h2> <p>Hurt feelings are legitimate in some aspects of life, but they have no place at work. Too often, people feel guilty about telling someone they have a bad idea, so they don't. They say it's fine, or they say nothing at all. This is not good for the business, or the person that had the idea. By saying &quot;your idea sucks&quot; you are not saying that the person who had the idea sucks. Not at all. This is no time to confuse the two issues. A great person can have an awful idea, and it is not only okay to say so&hellip; it's essential. (So long as it's done respectfully.) Otherwise, terrible ideas gain traction, and before you know it, you have to deal with the fallout of that bad decision. Stop a bad idea in its tracks, and never feel guilty about it.</p> <h2>5. Reporting Someone to HR</h2> <p>There are many reasons to report someone to HR. It could be sexual harassment, racism, bullying, favoritism, illegal activities, or anything else that directly violates HR policy. It doesn't matter if that person is your boss, a friend, someone with a family, or any other reason that could put your guilt chip into overload. The fact of the matter is, they are doing something wrong, and if all other attempts to stop them have failed, talking to HR is nothing to feel guilty about. Of course, you should try to reach out to them first, if possible, and avoid escalating it to something that can have far-reaching consequences. If that falls on deaf ears, going to HR should have no guilt attached.</p> <h2>6. Refusing to Be More Than Colleagues</h2> <p>Some people at work will take a liking to you. They may want to be a friend outside of work. They may want to be more than a friend, and start a personal relationship with you. In either case, you should not feel guilty about rejecting these advances or requests. You may just want to keep your work life separate from your home life. You may, in fact, not really like that person and thing things he or she is into (and let's be honest, that happens a lot). At work, being polite and making it work is the right thing to do, but you should never feel guilty about letting someone know that you want to keep things strictly professional.</p> <h2>7. Reprimanding Someone (Especially a Friend)</h2> <p>It's not easy telling someone off. If that person is a friend, it's even harder. But you must not feel guilty about the admonishment. If someone gets out of line, makes a costly mistake, or acts in a way that embarrasses both you and the company, you must crack the whip. How you do it is up to you. There is no reason to be overly harsh or sadistic, and inversely, being too &quot;nice&quot; will reduce the impact of the reprimand to something forgettable. Find the line, and walk it well. Guilt should play no part in the rebuke &mdash; it's part of working life and if that person cannot handle it, they're clearly in the wrong career.</p> <h2>8. Blowing the Whistle</h2> <p>If your company is doing something illegal, unethical, or otherwise not correct within the organization, you should not feel guilty about blowing the whistle. There is a reason whistleblowing laws exist, and you have the right to be protected and expose any wrongdoing without it coming back to bite you. Yes, your actions may result in some people losing their jobs, but those people were doing something wrong. You cannot afford to feel guilty about that, even if they are really cool people who are fun to be around. Illegal activities can hurt everyone in the company, including you, and if you have the knowledge and ability to stop them from happening, do it. No guilt allowed.</p> <p><em>What other scenarios should you never feel guilty about at work? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-small-gestures-that-go-a-long-way-at-work">10 Small Gestures That Go a Long Way at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work">8 Awkward Money Moments Everyone Has at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-work-worth-doing">Find work worth doing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income General Tips emotions feeling guilty guilt guilty harassment harassment at work work work etiquette work scenarios Thu, 14 Jul 2016 09:00:18 +0000 Paul Michael 1751372 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Stages of Procrastination (Read This Right Now!) http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-procastinating-163388836-small.jpg" alt="procrastinating" title="procrastinating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?</p> <p>If this is your mantra, or if it's how you live even though it's <em>not</em> your mantra, then you, my friend, are a procrastinator.</p> <p>While stories of epic procrastination are badges of honor in a few circles, most of us feel a lot of negative emotions about putting things off. We may feel guilty, ashamed, depressed, hopeless, and more. And what's more, we tend to feel like the procrastination monster is unbeatable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Stop Procrastination &mdash; Now!</a>)</p> <p>However, beating procrastination, while not simple, is a straightforward task that we can set our minds to. Once we know why we procrastinate and how procrastination works in our brains, we can come up with concrete steps to take that can help us overcome procrastination no matter how far along we are in the process when we realize what's going on.</p> <h2>1. Choose a Task</h2> <p>This is the first step towards getting anything done, and even the worst procrastinator usually knows what they are supposed to be doing. Sometimes our tasks are dictated by someone else (like a boss or a professor), and sometimes they are things that we choose. Either way, the very first step any procrastinator takes is to choose what they want to get done.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>Make sure that <a href="http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/11/how-to-beat-procrastination.html">the tasks you choose are manageable</a> and well-defined. It can be easy to say, &quot;I want to write a book this year,&quot; but that's a huge job. Breaking it down into steps like, &quot;I will write at least 500 words every day until the book is done&quot; and &quot;I will research how to form an effective plot,&quot; are more likely to get done because they are doable and it's easy to tell when you're finished.</p> <h2>2. See a Distraction</h2> <p>In our busy age, it's almost always possible to find something to distract us, no matter how hard we work to make sure that doesn't happen. Both procrastinators and non-procrastinators are bombarded by distractions, and it's nearly always easier to see all of the things that you could be doing right after you've chosen to focus on some task in particular.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>The computer and the online world are some of the biggest distractions out there. If you don't need them to complete your task, turn them off. All the way off. As in, hit the power switch and let the screen go dark. Same for your phone and your tablet and anything else that connects online. If you do need your computer, try installing an app like <a href="http://anti-social.cc/">Antisocial</a> that will help you use your computer more responsibly.</p> <h2>3. Choose Instant Gratification</h2> <p>This is where procrastinators and non-procrastinators part ways. While a non-procrastinator is often able to deftly avoid getting sucked in by distractions, procrastinators choose the instant gratification that comes from the distractions rather than prolonging gratification and getting on with the task at hand.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>Focus on thinking about the future. Consider how you will feel in an hour, a day, a week, or a month if you give in to your distraction, then think about how you will feel if you don't give in. The <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-avoid-the-temptations-of-immediate-gratification/">ability to delay gratification</a> is tied to the ability to imagine the future, so practicing this will give you skills that you need to choose to focus on the task at hand, rather than on whichever distraction is the most enticing at the moment.</p> <h2>4. Feel Terrible</h2> <p>Most people who procrastinate feel terrible about it, either at the time of procrastination or later, when they realize how much time they've wasted or when they feel the pressure of encroaching deadlines. Guilt is one of the most common of these emotions, though sometimes you may experience anxiety, shame, and depression, too.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>Let the <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5658620/the-now-habit-overcoming-procrastination-and-enjoying-guilt-free-play">guilt teach you</a>. Instead of wallowing in your feelings or letting them overrun you, use them to teach you how to procrastinate less. Use the feelings to remind you that you are in the process of learning skills focusing on self-regulation, which is what will help you overcome your procrastination. If anxiety is key to your procrastination problems, make sure that what you want to accomplish is actually feasible in the period of time you have.</p> <h2>5. Repeat</h2> <p>Procrastinators tend to repeat this cycle with increasingly negative emotions until their deadline looms over them. They begin to feel like there isn't any hope for establishing a new pattern, because they keep finding themselves going through the same patterns over and over and over again.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>When you're feeling like the procrastination cycle might continue forever, remind yourself of past successes. Remember times when you have accomplished a difficult task, or just finished the thing that is before you. Replay these in your mind, rather than replaying your failures.</p> <p>Most procrastinators continue these steps until&hellip;</p> <h2>6. Panic</h2> <p>When you procrastinate long enough, eventually a deadline will loom over you and will press in so close that you panic. There comes a time when you must get something done or the consequences will be dire. You might fail a class, lose a job, or worse. This is when a lot of procrastinators suddenly become highly motivated, because they don't want bad things to happen.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>While panic might make you act (it doesn't work for everyone), it probably won't help you produce your best work. Even if you have procrastinated for a long time, you will need to calm down before you can do the best that you can do in the time you have left. Give yourself a few minutes to breathe, and remember why you care about the project in the first place.</p> <h2>7. Complete the Task</h2> <p>For the most part, procrastinators respond to panic and begin to work in a flurry, eventually producing some sort of attempt at completing the task they originally chose. This may not be their best work, and they may see all of the things that they could have done if they hadn't procrastinated, but many times they will, eventually, finish.</p> <h3>Overcoming the Problem</h3> <p>If time is pressing in and you know you aren't doing the project the way you want to do it, consider other options. These won't always work, but they may help you produce something closer to your ideal result. You can ask for an extension on the project, and then set up accountability to make sure you work in the time that you have. Or, you can change the scope of the project so that you can do a better job in the time that you have left.</p> <p><em>Do you procrastinate? What steps do you take to overcome it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-your-projects-always-take-longer-than-you-expect">This Is Why Your Projects Always Take Longer Than You Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-cure-chronic-procrastination-you-should-try-now">The Easy Way to Cure Chronic Procrastination You Should Try Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now">9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating — NOW!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-complete-idiots-guide-to-speed-reading-a-book-review">The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading: A Book Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine">Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Productivity delay gratification guilt procrastination productivity shame Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1171184 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Life Lessons I've Learned Since Becoming a Parent http://www.wisebread.com/3-life-lessons-ive-learned-since-becoming-a-parent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-life-lessons-ive-learned-since-becoming-a-parent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother and son.jpg" alt="Mom and child" title="Mom and child" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The past few months have been a blur as my husband and I welcomed our first child into our lives. Between 3 a.m. feedings, poopy diapers, walking and rocking the baby, and trying to fit a shower into my day, the parenting learning curve has been a steep one. I&rsquo;m learning more every day, and in the midst of this dramatic life change, three glaring lessons have stood out to me since I brought my daughter into the world; three life lessons that took becoming a parent for me to learn. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children">7 Important Lessons Frugal Parents Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don&rsquo;t Judge</h2> <p>I have to confess that before I had a baby, I subconsciously (and let&rsquo;s admit it, consciously) judged other parents. This included parents frantically trying to calm a screaming baby while shopping, mothers quickly mixing a bottle of formula to give their children while on the run, frustrated parents yelling at their kids, parents who put their kids to sleep in a swing, etc&hellip;.</p> <p>I guess the universe had a karmic lesson to teach me &mdash; after my baby was born, I had difficulties breastfeeding, and finally, when my baby wasn&rsquo;t gaining weight, I was forced to supplement with formula. Good gracious, now I was the one feeling judged and guilty when I whipped out a bottle of formula in front of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-breast-feeding-saves-money">other breastfeeding moms</a> in the nursing lounge at the mall! Additionally, while I had sworn I wouldn&rsquo;t be one of those moms who bought every swing, bouncer, or toy available, now I found myself desperately spending money on any gadget that promised to let me put my baby down for a few minutes and have a cup of coffee. Lesson learned &mdash; don&rsquo;t judge other people&rsquo;s parenting choices, or life choices in general. Instead, I&rsquo;m learning to accept that everyone makes the best choices they can given their unique circumstances.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve found a new level of acceptance and camaraderie with other moms, even if they&rsquo;re just strangers I meet at the grocery store. We swap stories of staying up late at night, which swing works best for calming a baby, and &ldquo;crying-it-out&rdquo; versus &ldquo;attachment&rdquo; approaches to sleeping. The best thing is, although we&rsquo;ve all made different choices, our babies are all doing fine.</p> <h2>2. It's OK&nbsp;to Accept Help</h2> <p>Whoever coined the saying &ldquo;It takes a village to raise a child&rdquo; never said a truer word. While I admire superhero moms who seem to manage to take care of their families on their own with nary a helping hand, I accept that I am not one of them. After days without sleeping, I finally accepted offers from family and friends to watch the baby while I napped, or to clean the house while I held the baby. I was grateful to relatives who bought groceries and made dinner, and I stopped feeling bad about asking the in-laws to take the baby for an evening so I could have some time to myself. I realized that although I felt like I was inconveniencing my friends, they were genuinely happy to help, and I finally found the freedom to feel grateful rather than guilty.</p> <p>In fact, I&rsquo;m starting to believe that modern American life is not conducive to raising children well. Think about it &mdash; in traditional cultures, the entire extended family lives in close proximity, so that grandparents, as well as aunts and uncles, are close participants in the raising of a child. It&rsquo;s not all on the mom or dad. But in our modern culture, where extended families are separated by large distances, all the responsibility falls on the two parents, one or both of whom are probably working full time. Instead of relying on a network of relatives, parents now have to find community through parenting groups, play dates, lactation workshops, and other modern inventions. There&rsquo;s probably nothing we can do about the culture, but it&rsquo;s helpful to realize that we were meant to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby">raise our kids in a community</a>, and that there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with needing help.</p> <h2>3. Beware of False Guilt</h2> <p>There are so many things that make you feel guilty as a parent, as I&rsquo;m sure all you seasoned parents can attest. As a first-time mom, I tend to feel guilty about everything. A short list includes giving my baby a pacifier, letting my baby sleep in her swing, bonking my baby&rsquo;s head on the car seat handle, and more. That&rsquo;s not to mention the guilt I feel when well-meaning friends ask me <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">what I do all day at home</a> (because I should be working) or when I have to decline doing someone a favor because it will interfere with my daughter&rsquo;s naptime.</p> <p>As a natural people-pleaser, there are days when I feel like everything I&rsquo;m doing is wrong. But I&rsquo;m slowly starting to learn that I have the right to make mistakes and say no to other people&rsquo;s requests, and I don&rsquo;t have to feel bad about it. I&rsquo;m able to bring a lot more happiness and joy into my family&rsquo;s life when I&rsquo;m not guilt-ridden. In fact, I hope that my daughter will learn the same lesson and will eventually grow up to be a joyful, confident person who can learn from her mistakes and stand up for herself without being burdened by false guilt.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-life-lessons-ive-learned-since-becoming-a-parent">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-rules-thatll-save-you-big-in-babys-first-year">5 Money Rules That&#039;ll Save You Big in Baby&#039;s First Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-parenting-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about">7 Parenting Mistakes Everyone Makes But No One Talks About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Personal Development baby guilt Help life lessons parenting Tue, 22 May 2012 10:00:12 +0000 Camilla Cheung 929267 at http://www.wisebread.com Dissecting "Gift Guilt" - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad? http://www.wisebread.com/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="374" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever since I was a child, I have been taught that when you receive a gift you should be happy about it and then give something back in return. To this day I still believe that is good manners, but sometimes receiving gifts is stressful for me because of what I call &quot;gift guilt&quot;. Read on to see what I mean.</p> <p>The most common kind of gift guilt occurs when someone gives me something but I do not have something to give back or I did not intend to buy a gift for that person. This has happened a few times at work, and most of the times I just said thank you and carried on. I think this is the easiest type of gift guilt to deal with because I can just give something in return.</p> <p>Another type of gift guilt is when I sincerely do not want or cannot use the gift. For example, I have received clothes from relatives in China that I cannot wear. I could not send the clothes back or return them to a store so they were given away to random people. It is sad that I cannot appreciate the gift, but sometimes that is how thing are, and I feel guilty for not liking or using a gift. </p> <p>Then there is the unsettling guilty feeling brought on by an extremely large gift. I feel indebted to people when they give me gifts with a large monetary value, and if the gift came from someone I barely know I would probably return it just to feel at ease. Maybe I am just paranoid, but I suspect that accepting a ginormous gift from an acquaintance could come back and bite me.</p> <p>The worst kind of gift guilt I get is when friends in debt give something to me. I do appreciate the gesture, but I feel bad about it because I feel that their need for the money is more than my need for a gift. At the same time it is also hard to say &quot;I cannot accept this gift because I know you need the money to pay off your debts.&quot; That just sounds really condescending, but sometimes I really do feel like screaming, &quot;pay off your credit card bills first before you give me something!&quot; I think this way because I do care about them, but it is hard for me to say it out loud.</p> <p>With that said, I do like giving gifts more than receiving them because there is less paranoia and guilt involved and I have never regretted giving out something. Perhaps I just think too much about this, and I should always just say thank you and move on, but sometimes I just cannot help feeling guilty about receiving something. Have you ever felt weird about receiving an undesired, unexpected, or unnecessarily generous gift? What did you do about it?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-things-that-money-just-cant-buy">The things that money just can&#039;t buy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle friends gifting gifts guilt money Sat, 08 Mar 2008 06:06:25 +0000 Xin Lu 1894 at http://www.wisebread.com Can I Conquer My Vanity for the Sake of My Sanity? http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014497194_Double.jpg" alt="spoiled princess" title="spoiled princess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm worried that becoming frugal will force me to give up a certain amount of pride. And at the same time, I'm hoping that becoming frugal will help me to give up a certain amount of pride.</p> <p>It's hard for me to be frugal. I don't mean that it's difficult to clip coupons, or to restrict spending, or to limit spendy nights out on the town. All of those things are difficult, too, but they are not the root of the problem with finding frugality. The root of the problem, for me, is selfishness &mdash; the selfish need to be seen as NOT selfish.</p> <p>As of today, I have $18.74 in my savings account. I have an IRA with a couple of thousand dollars that I used to open the account, and have yet to add to. I do own a home, but given that the first several years of mortgage payments go to interest, I literally own about $500 worth of my house. I pay over $400 a month for my new car, the first new car I've ever owned. Despite making a very healthy income, I live paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>This just about drives my boyfriend bonkers. He's a first generation American, and his immigrant parents raised him to be the epitome of frugal. If he buys anything, he buys the best (on sale, with free shipping), but he rarely does. Despite making less money than I have for the past three years, he has amassed a savings of well over 60K simply by depositing the maximum allowed percentage of his paycheck in his 401(k), by not buying a new wardrobe at Target every few weeks, and by not purchasing every new NPR-recommended book on Amazon. I am in awe of him, but at the same time, I am repulsed by his frugality in the same way that he is repulsed by my careless spending.</p> <h2>Vanity, Oh Fair Vanity</h2> <p>The truth is, frugality terrifies me because it assaults my vanity, and makes me fear for my dignity. It's gotten so bad that I will go through with an unexpectedly expensive purchase, and return merchandise later, rather than to tell a cashier that I'm going to put some items back, or that I can't afford that fourth pair of Spanx. Nordstrom is obviously a great place for me to shop, since their returns policy is so liberal.</p> <p>At one point in my life, when I was determined to frugalize, I went to Amazon and, devoid of any sense of irony, spent well over $100 on how-to-be-frugal books. I subscribed to About.com's Frugal Living newsletter, where host Pat Verreto's outdated thumbnail image convinced me that frugality meant that I was doomed to a life of white turtleneck sweaters and large Coke bottle glasses. Frugal Living suggested that I ask the supermarket for their about-to-be-discarded vegetables (&quot;Just trim the rotten leaves! Boil the carrots, and you'l forget that they haven't been crisp for weeks!&quot;), and suggested that I could grow my own patio vegetable garden cheaply &mdash; all I needed to do was spray paint some discarded milk jugs, add some dirt, and voila! Cheaper than terracotta pots!</p> <p>Cheaper, but infinitely more humiliating. I unsubscribed after a couple of weeks, shuddering over the idea that I would be dumpster digging at my local supermarket in order to eat the last three good leaves on a head of romaine.</p> <p>To be fair, Verretto speaks from experience and has a lot of good advice to offer. She's a kindly mentor. But something about the idea of planting tomatoes in milk jugs, or weaving a rug from plastic grocery bags, makes me want to cry.</p> <p>I don't want to be like my crazy Russian grandmother, who wore a shower cap when it rained, even though she owned several hats, and dressed like a bag lady when she went to Safeway to stock up during those two-for-one deals on cat litter. When she died, we found a four-year supply of toilet paper in a previously unknown closet &mdash; apparently she had stocked up in (disturbingly gleeful) anticipation of Y2K. I think of the pitying looks she used to receive from people who assumed that she was poor, even though she had everything that she needed. I think of the sad way in which she carried herself and my mind screams out &quot;Don't turn out like Nana!&quot;</p> <p>Will being frugal make me like that? Will people look at me with loathing or sympathy when I break out my stack of coupons? I don't want to furnish my home with plastic rugs! I want a cool, urban abode. I want to stalk haughtily to work in patent leather high heels, with my Starbucks cup in one hand and a leather briefcase in the other. I like being a yuppie.</p> <h2>Bourgeoisie Guilt</h2> <p>My parents have a decent amount of money. Both have worked hard and saved all their lives, and made some fantastic investment decisions. As a result, both kids graduated from college without having to take out loans, and my parents now own several properties and are set for a comfortable retirement. My sister and I grew up with almost everything we wanted. (Mom drew the line at expensive clothes &mdash; we shopped at K-Mart for that.) And my parents are extremely generous &mdash; they've raised not only my sister and I, but a bevy of our friends and classmates who came from broken and/or highly dysfunctional families.</p> <p>Despite, or rather, because of the attitude of classmates who assumed I was a spoiled rich bitch (spoiled &mdash; yes; bitch &mdash; but of course; rich&hellip; um &mdash; just upper middle class at the time, thanks), I have always felt that it is my obligation to spend money in order to treat both myself and others to comforting things. Be it an evening of pizza and gabbing, expensive snooty drinks at a ridiculously hip bar, or an expensive gift card to a job recruiter who landed me a lucrative contract at Microsoft, I have toiled under the impression that I OWE people the debt of my generosity.</p> <p>In college, I ran up a huge credit card debt taking care of friends who were struggling financially. Gasoline, dinner, clothing, interest-free loans &mdash; I paid for it all. And then I paid for it again when the credit card companies caught up with me a couple of years later. I reveled in the idea that I could fix my friends' problems by providing a scrumptious meal that was beyond their means. I also feared that by not doing so, I would risk losing friends who knew that I had money/credit that I could TECHNICALLY afford to spend on them, but chose not to.</p> <p>It's a terrible way to live. First, it assumes that there's not much else about me that someone would value, or that economics would trump the value of my friendship. It also assumes that my friends are cynical bastards (they're not) who wouldn't like me as much if I wasn't paying for their dinner. And it's condescending, assuming that because my friend might make less money than me, they must not have set aside enough cash for an evening out, and I'm alleviating a bunch of stress for them by paying for their martini.</p> <p>Bollocks! Spending your way into debt, in order to prove that you have enough money to give away &mdash; is there a better definition of &quot;senseless?&quot;</p> <h2>Baby Steps to the Elevator</h2> <p>I'm getting a head start on New Year's resolutions, because I'm bothered to be this close to age 30 without a 401(k). It means making some very large changes to my life.</p> <p>It means splitting the bill with friends rather than insisting that I pay for the whole thing. It means offering to cook a meal for a friend, rather than ordering the priciest pizza for a night of girly bonding. It means loving pho more than sushi. It means breaking out that library card and being patient enough to allow that I might not receive the book right away, or even within a few days. It means learning to live with less-than-instant gratification.</p> <p>But most of all, it means (cue inspirational music) that my friends love me, not because I treat them to dinner, but because I'm lovable. It means dropping the stupid Rich Girl's Burden that's plagued me since high school, and accepting that my friends are probably better at budgeting than I am, and thus able to pay for their own martinis.</p> <p>And yes, it means clipping coupons, something that I have never done before. Something I plan to do with my head held high, my scissors sharpened, and my shower cap secured.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-natural-for-me-to-spend-as-i-do-0">It&#039;s NATURAL for me to spend as I do!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">Jettison the Junk: Why Clutter Clouds Your Mind and Saps Your Energy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-you-might-not-know-about-your-local-thrift-store">Things You Might Not Know About Your Local Thrift Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-is-more-than-a-way-to-spend-money-part-1">Frugal is More than a Way to Spend Money, Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cs-to-keep-you-frugal-while-shopping">6 C&#039;s to Keep You Frugal While Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle frugal frugality guilt overspending saving money shopping spendthrift Fri, 22 Dec 2006 16:52:53 +0000 Andrea Karim 100 at http://www.wisebread.com