I debated sending this in for a while because I’m not sure if it’s really an etiquette breach or just something kind of strange, but here it is.
Ever since third grade, I’ve been overweight. This was a result of a very poor childhood diet and relative inactivity when I was younger. I reached my heaviest around my freshman year of high school – I’m not going to post the numbers, but let’s just say I was quite far into the obese category. I had unbelievably low self-esteem, which was not helped by my crippling social anxiety and the fact that I was extremely sensitive about my weight.
My maternal grandparents are amazing people and love me very much, and obviously they noticed my poor health and unhappiness. For some reason, they (namely my grandfather) decided the best way to help me would be to take me to Taco Bell (?) and propose that, for each pound I lose, they pay me $5.
This caught me completely off-guard because I had not said anything about wanting to lose weight to them (though I very sorely did, but had too low self-esteem to really believe I could). I felt very uncomfortable at the time and kind of insulted even though I knew it was coming from a place of love. I told my mom about it, and she sent them an email to please not talk about weight with me anymore. I felt very awkward about this (you have to understand that I am probably the least confrontational person on the planet, I will go to stupid lengths to spare other people discomfort no matter how much discomfort it causes me, not out of selflessness but because other people being uncomfortable causes me more discomfort than any I would suffer at my own will, if that makes any sense).
Well, my grandparents never responded, and I thought the issue was dead. Then, a year later, after picking up a smidgeon of self-esteem, I began to eat healthier and exercise more and started to drop some weight. We had scheduled a trip in December of that year with my grandparents, and at one time during the trip, my grandfather pulled me aside, beaming from ear-to-ear, and said that I looked amazing and asked how much I’d lost. At that point it was about 20 lbs. He pulled out a $100 and handed it to me.
You have to believe me that I absolutely did not start losing weight because of the monetary incentive (if anything, thinking about it just made me uncomfortable and embarrassed), and that I thought they had backed off for good. And, for the record, I firmly believe that they were not intentionally drudging up an old issue my mom had asked them not to continue with, but simply did not get the email. They have an old computer and are, well, not very good with them, so it’s reasonable it would have been lost in transit.
My social anxiety and non-confrontation-to-a-ridiculous-extent becomes relevant again now, because as he keeps asking me how much I’ve lost (it’s up to 85 lbs now, so you do the math), he keeps paying me. He is so proud and happy when he does it, and I really don’t have the guts to tell him it makes me a bit uncomfortable.
I don’t know, I guess the point of this is, am I breaching etiquette by not telling him? Does my accepting the money make me a gimme-pig? (I’m currently saving the money I’m getting for college, as I’m starting in the fall.) 0426-12
Who initiates the transfer of money is really what defines a “gimme pig”. Gimme pigs “pull” the money from others by asking for it in some manner or by having an expectation that they are owed money. Your grandparents initiated the offer and grandpa is the one “pushing” the money to you so, no, this doesn’t qualify as gimme pig behavior in my opinion.
When I receive unexpected money from someone, such as when I offer my coordinating services for free for a friend and they give me money anyway, I do one of several things. I donate it to a charity or put in the alms giving of my church or I save it to fund a nice party in which the generous friends will be invited. And I always thank the giver and tell them what happened to their money. So, be sure to thank the grandparents.