When I was a wee, people-pleasing eight grader I over-gifted the bejeezus out of my tenuous social circle.  I was realizing that being popular was important and I was on the cusp of ingratiating myself to the cool kids.

Quick Middle School Anthropology Field Note:  My friend, Lisa and I sat a few feet away from where the popular group sat on the field during lunch.  The proximity was important. Try to look cool and laugh loud enough to show that we were having a great time without them. Then, all we needed is just one person calling to us and saying, "Hey! Why don't you bring your lunches over here?!" and we were soooo in!

I did chores and I didn't even make an allowance!  But I managed to convince my parents I really needed seventy five dollars to get gifts that holiday season.  I was a good girl with straight-As. I earned it.

Seventy five dollars was a lot of money in the late '80s and went a long way in getting costume jewelry and novelty gifts sold in the local mall.  I nicely wrapped over twenty gifts to friends and somewhat-acquaintances, spending all of my free time in the run up to winter break. These somewhat-acquaintances thanked me with a look of surprise, especially since most of them did not get me a gift.

The result?

After winter vacation, I came back, ready to take on the Magruder Middle School social world! I continued to hang out with Lisa on our patch of "Popular-Adjacent" lunchtime real estate.

The Author of this Blog Post, Circa Trying-Too-Hard.