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Things v. experiences

June 29th, 2010 at 02:44 pm

Things v. experiences. I read somewhere over the weekend that people feel that folks who talk about the things they buy come across as self centered whereas people who talk about experiences do not.
I wonder if that is true.

I would say by reading the SA blogs, it is. The folks who blog about experiences often talk about doing for others whether it is family or donating to the food bank Ė they look beyond themselves.

Very few blog about things, and if they do, it is matter of fact, not a brag fest.

I do know a friend who is totally tied up in the acquisition of things. He is not happy unless he is pursuing the purchase of something or purchasing something. And then the bragging begins. He makes decent money, but because of his spending habits, has had to refinance the house so he could vacation. While he was waiting for the refinancing, he was very irritable to be around because he felt he didnít have any money to spend. It has become more and more difficult to talk to him because unless he has something to brag about, he doesnít have much to talk about. I would say heís pretty self-centered. I think heís trying to fill a void in his life by filling it up with things. His idea of a vacation is going shopping. My idea of a vacation is relaxing and seeing things.

Most of the people I do enjoy time with talk about experiences and things they saw and we either learn or laugh. Itís a give and take relationship. We enjoy each otherís company and seem to never run out of things to talk about.

So, what is your take on this? Would you concur that folks who talk about things all the time come across as self-centered?

8 Responses to “Things v. experiences”

  1. creditcardfree Says:
    1277823689

    Yes, I would agree. If the talk is constantly of things they bought or want to buy...it definitely feels self centered or bragging.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:
    1277824572

    For the most part, true.

    I get rather contrary in these debates because I know too many "experience snobs." They can be pretty obnoxious. I rather hang around people who enjoy the simplicities of life. Material-wise or experience-wise.

  3. rob62521 Says:
    1277824824

    MonkeyMama, I can see your point.I'm not talking about trips or things like that. I'm talking about every day occurences.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:
    1277833126

    Generally speaking, I am with MM in that I think both things and experiences can both be either healthy and positive, or self-centered and negative.

    I think your friend's perspective on things (or it could have been experiences as well) leans towards the negative and self-centered side. There is simply no reason to have to approach things or experiences as some form of compensation or perhaps even entitlement.

    As such, I also think you may be on to something about things filling a certain void in his life.

    While I could sympathize with him, that kind of behavior would also irritate me eventually. Were I in your shoes, I don't think I could be friends with someone like that for long....

  5. Ima saver Says:
    1277834925

    I think I read that at the Yahoo site.

  6. retire@50 Says:
    1277840396

    A friend of mine came to visit with her little girl who's 8. The little girl kept talking about all my stuff saying things like how expensive it was, or looked. It really turned me off to hear that from a child. Especially that that was what she was impressed by. She doesn't come from a poor home with a lot of cast-offs or anything, so it was weird. When I look at my stuff I don't even think of the cost. I think, oh I got that on my trip to Canada, or I love the way that chair looks there, it's so comfortable. Or I love that picture or that knick-knack. I don't really think about how much it cost. I could tell you what it cost, because my brain works that way, but it's not what I think about when I look at my things. I wonder if her parents are putting the emphasize on what things look like rather than how they make you feel or enhance your life. I don't get that feeling from them, so not sure where her attitude comes from.

  7. whitestripe Says:
    1277854891

    I find I get really tired and drained listening to people talk about 'things'. Experiences not so much. Although, when someone brags about a holiday that is clearly some sort of status-seeking location and obviously cost a lot, I then file that in the 'things' drawer. I know, it's kind of not, but to me it is. We know a couple who are very into their posessions and appearances (not just personal appearance), and the girlfriend just went on a holiday in Dubai. It was all about WHERE they were going, and what they were going to buy, it wasn't about the city or the culture or anything, which disappoints me.

    Funnily enough DF is sort of a 'things' person. Not anywhere near what some people are, but still. I'm happy to have something and use it until it breaks, whereas DF wants the better things, newer things etc. And DF loves to look through catalogues and go 'we should get this, we should buy this, look at this', and I am much more happy to NOT know about it. It makes my mind hurt thinking of all the things that are constantly developed just so we will buy them.


    @ retire@50: possibly the girl is at a stage where her parents are teaching her about money and the cost of things. sometimes kids don't think about how things sound to other people. while I probably would have been taken aback as well, if it is the case that she is just learning about that, it's probably a good thing.


  8. rob62521 Says:
    1277856598

    BA, it has come to the point we do less and less with this friend. His objective is to constantly spend and isn't happy unless he going to buy something or is buying something. It gets tedious.

    Ima, I believe you are right...I bet I read it on the yahoo site.

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