According to new research, you’re better off buying the flowers if you want to play it safe this Valentine’s Day.

As we noted yesterday in the news, researchers from the University of Texas found that bad shared experiences — such as eating out, seeing a concert or play, or even going on vacation — stay with us a lot longer than receiving a “bad” gift (think “toaster” instead of “diamond”).

But is this any surprise to anyone? Experiences enter into our long-term memory, whether they’re bad or good, while material gifts often do not. And while a thoughtful gift may make us smile, a memorable vacation to France or Alaska is going to stick with most people longer. A shared experience is really the making of hundreds of memories at a time, while a gift makes only one. So if your shared experience has 80 bad memories and 20 good ones, compared to one bad memory of a gift, you can see which one is going to take up more of our space for memories.

The good news is the flip side is also true — share a wonderful, exhilarating and memorable experience, and it’s going to mean a lot more 20 years from now than when you bought your loved one that diamond-encrusted piece of jewelry.

But life is short. Take the risk. Enjoy your time with your special someone and focus on creating dozens of new memories with a shared experience rather than (or in addition to) a simple gift. After all, there is no greater gift you can give in this life than your time (even a rich person has the same amount of time as you and I).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Read the full article: Is Happiness Tied to Emotions or Material Gifts?

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 0 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2009). Are You Better Off Buying Flowers or Dinner?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 28, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/14/are-you-better-off-buying-flowers-or-dinner/

 

Recent Comments
  • Divorcing: My wife became depressed and negative after our child died. It started the day after, when she exploded at...
  • Joseph: My family think im crazy when i tell them that i smell bad everyday. Whenever im at school or in a public...
  • Kristina: I liked the way you worded the title to grab attention of your readers. While I agreed with most of what...
  • Piniewski MD: Well said. Regardless of our positions on this topic, the behavior :using Dr Google is unlikely to...
  • Starfate: I’m 61 and trying to determine the “best” way to tell my AS spouse that I’m leaving...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 6436
Join Us Now!