“If you buy a friend a knife, they must give something in return or it will cut the friendship”


My informant told me of this quote explaining how valid it was for his experiences amongst his friends. He said he actually did buy a friend a knife for his birthday and when time came for his own birthday, his friend forgot to get him a gift. Long story short, their friendship ran into multiple fights and arguments over the years. It wasn’t because the other friend forgot to buy a gift, it was just that their friendship no longer meant anything to either of them. My informant claims his ex friend started becoming distant and less caring long before the forgotten gift incident. He believes in the saying because it was passed down from his brother who also had similar experiences of not getting the same care and thought returned from a friend.


To me, the quote has meanings of interdependence within a friendship. The knife stands as a metaphor meaning that one must return the same kind of care and respect one receives. The saying seems to warn us of selfishness. But I also getting the feeling from the quote that repayment is required or else the friendship will fail. I agree along the lines of showing appreciation where it is due, but if the quote is implying we must repay tangible gifts, then I dont necessarily agree that its a crucial component of friendship.