The Science Behind Companionizing Gifts

Yep, sharing *really* is caring. Here are five gifts to put the science in action.

You’re probably familiar with those corny friendship necklaces from middle school. You know. The ones with a heart severed jaggedly down the center? One side reading, “Best;” the other side reading, “Friends.” Now that we’re all adults here, we’ve moved onto more mature matching situations like cocktail glasses, planners, and tattoos. We’re *so* refined now.  And there’s never been a better time to be matchy-matchy with your partner, best friend, or co-worker because the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found proof that sharing really is caring.

Well, “sharing” to the extent that two people have matching copies of the same object. “The fact that a gift is shared with the giver makes it a better gift in the eyes of the receiver,” says Evan Polman, marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “They like a companionized gift more, and they even feel closer to the giver.”

Researchers asked hundreds of participants to rate the experience of receiving gifts with different messages written on the attached card. Cards reading things like, “Got myself the same one. We’re matching!” were the most popular among those surveyed. “There’s an inexorable link between similarity and liking. The more similar you are to someone, typically the more you like them,” explained Polman.

So next time you’re struggling to pick out a gift, (whether it’s for your bestie or your estranged cousin) try buying them something that you, yourself have owned and loved. And be sure to slip in the fact that you’ve got the very same one, thus establishing the companionship bond.  So what are you waiting for? We’re giving you an excuse to shop for yourself and for another. Giving may be better than receiving. But companionizing transcends both.  Here are five gifts to kick-off epic companionships. (You’re welcome).


These bands will create an epic bond between you and your running partner. We suggest choosing an inspirational quote that will propel you two forward even after you’ve hit the wall.

Elephant Pants

A little bit of twinning in yoga never hurt anyone. Plus, for every purchase made, the company donates 10% of the proceeds to saving the elephants. Go ahead—bond over that great cause.

Book of the Month

Literary alliance? Yes, please. This box gives you the excuse to meet up for a mini-book club every month. We’re taking our friendship reading with a side of coffee (or maybe some red wine).

Pixie Tracking Device

If keeping track of your things isn’t exactly the forte of your friend group, try ordering a matching set of these. Attach one to your keys, cell phone, or fitness tracker to make sure the most important things in your life are never out of GPS range.

Eat Drink Move Sleep: A Health Tracking Journal

A little healthy competition can only strengthen a friendship. Right? Invite your friend to swap progress pics each night to keep both of you on top of your game.


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