Image of a couple holding hands and near a table with fruits on it
October 19, 2022

When Conversations Lead to More than Words

Author: Shayne Sommer
Category: Financial Freedom

Olivia looked out over at the sand and waves as they crashed into the shore – clearly Sienna had chosen this café for the view and had paid no attention to the exorbitant prices on the menu. Olivia was trying to eat healthy, yet all the smoothies were well more expensive than the milkshakes. Her phone pinged, and Olivia sighed. A message from Sienna, she was unwell and would miss this project catch up with Jake.

The three of them were heading a project for the company. They’d decided to catch up in person and spend the day planning their next steps. The sea breeze intensified across the balcony and Olivia started to feel the chill.

Jake joined her on the balcony. “Just heard from Sienna,” he said with a knowing look. She hadn’t been the most reliable on this project.

Olivia didn’t expect to be sharing Monday morning on the beachside balcony with Jake, but it was a welcome change. He really suited the backdrop, beach-blond hair that was probably combed but never looked it, eyes the blue of the sea and his wrists clad in leather woven bands and a specialist surfer’s watch.

He asked about her weekend. “Not quite as hoped,” she offered. Olivia had been invited on a date with Matt, who she’d fancied for some time. It seemed like a perfect date, something just a little bit special; attending a gala sports event at his employer’s expense. Walking past all the usual merchandising stands, take away food outlets and regular punters to an exclusive space, with canapes and drinks on arrival, private bar and people waiting on you hand and foot.

Matt took her on his arm and it was all going so well. They sipped champagne pre-game and she met some of Matt’s colleagues and superiors. They even managed to find their own little quiet space to engage in some small talk. And that’s where it all went wrong.

Upon talking about their next steps in their careers, Olivia confided in Matt that she was very committed to making the most of her current role and knew this project could play a large part in her success. However, Matt was ready to leave his job behind and take a year hostel-hopping and partying abroad.

“So disappointing,” she said, “it wasn’t just the work stuff, we really weren’t suited at all.”

“Probably good you got that out of the way before anything serious though,” Jake added. Olivia nodded and asked,“How are things with Louisa, anyway?”

“Louisa? Oh, that ended months ago –Louisa was quite keen on seeing how far the contents of my wallet could stretch, and when I tried to reign it in, she decided I wasn’t the right guy for her.”

“Another difficult, but soul-saving, conversation?” Olivia suggested. Jake nodded, “I’m glad to hear you’re committed to the project though, I’m keen on making a statement with it also.”

Jake noticed Olivia feeling the cold and offered her his jacket. She was a little taken aback that he offered, they’d always been professional colleagues and nothing more. But a warm jacket around her shoulders felt rather snug and she’d never noticed that particular glint in his eye before.

“Sienna suggested I self-medicate with some retail therapyto soothe the disappointment of my date with Matt, but that just means I end up with a bunch of expensive, empty possessions I don’t want, and depleted savings!”

“You don’t have to spend like Sienna does,” Jake offered. “What’s something that you want, right now?” he asked.

“A smoothie!” she replied, “but have you seen these prices? I’m just trying to eat healthier, but wow!”

Jake laughed and made a suggestion, “Let’s go and purchase a ‘retail therapy’ blender – my place is only a few blocks away and we can go and blend our own smoothies.”  The idea of mixing up smoothies at Jake’s was quite attractive.

Jake helped Olivia collect her things and his hand briefly brushed hers. “Seems our goals are pretty aligned,” she teased as she pawed at his jacket keeping her warm, and she breathed in the alluring scent of his cologne that resonated in the soft fabric.

“Yeah, we could be closer than you think,” he tempted. Olivia smiled and pondered spending the day with Jake. Heading out to purchase a blender and eating healthy had never been more enticing.

Psychological studies show that spending money on things that match our personalities can cause an increase in happiness. The research suggests that spending on products that help us express our individuality can be as important to our overall wellbeing as finding the right job, the right place to live or even the right friends and partners.

Reference:

Matz, Sandra C., Joe J. Gladstone and David Stillwell. “Money Buys Happiness When Spending Fits Our Personality”. Psychological Science Vol 27, Issue 5, pp 715-725

Referenced in:

Butler, J “Money Moments”, 2017

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