Several months ago I friended a friend's friend, who used to hang around with the same group of people I was. She always was tight on money, so when clubbing we shared winnings from sploders with her, or gave her the odd item during a shopping run. Sometimes she IMed whether I could "loan" her some L$ - never much, sometimes 30, sometimes 50. I didn't mind at all - back then Babel Translations was in its beginnings but I always had some Lindens in my account. And I smiled inwardly about the word "loan" since I knew how tight she was, and that I'd never see it again.
However, the requests came more frequent. And from others in the group I learned they experienced the same. It started to annoy me, especially since she usually never started a conversation herself or made any suggestion for activities, unless she asked for money.
One day, she asked again, and I had enough. I told her I'd give her 500 L$ now, but then I want to never get asked for any money again. She fell silent for 2 minutes. And then she replied "Uhm... ok". I sent her 500 L$ and deleted her from my friends list. I never heard from her again.
That was an incredibly sad experience.
In the meantime, I got "rich" for SL standards. Babel ist performing very well, and I got hired for marketing concepts, custom scripts and custom animations. Those close to me know I enjoy sharing and making gifts. My SL riches mean little to me, I enjoy the liberty of not having a fridge to fill or a car to fuel. I like shopping, I enjoy to not have to restrain myself. If I meet a halfway polite and intelligable newbie, I not only give my "Newbie Welcome Folder", but usually offer some L$ as well. I tip in clubs, galleries and museums. To sum it up, I want myself and those close to me or those offering good service to enjoy this wonderful life as much as posible.
I learned some lessons though. I enjoy making gifts, but I learned that gifts can make people embarrased or make them feel obliged. So I learned to ask if they would allow me to give them something. Only recently, my friend Pika politely refused a gift. It had only a value of 150 L$, but she would have felt uncomfortable accepting it. I'm glad she told me, and it was perfectly OK with me that she paid for the item herself. And some weeks later, she gladly accepted one of my own creations - without any commercial value - as a gift.
Others are less shy. One of the newbies I helped out, and with whom I had the occasional chat, seems to mistake me for a Sugar Daddy - according to Wikipedia this is "a rich man who offers money or gifts to a less rich person in return for companionship or sexual favors". How did it start? We had rather normal talks for several months, but one day I suggested we could go shopping together. That's what I said - going shopping together. NOT "chose everything you want and I pay for it". However I seemed to have opened a floodgate. The amount of IM's I got whether I'd be available or have time exploded. During an excpetional bad SL-wheather day, we manage to visit Canimal, and I actually felt compelled to buy her an item. Already when I did, I knew it was probably the worst idea I had. And forseeably it even caused more IM's.
For the world to read: I am not a Sugar Daddy. I will never try to buy affection or companionship. There is much, much more I can offer than money. And true friends don't ask, and don't expect money or gifts.
/me sighs again
Another sad day.