Nice Things Make You Feel Nice, But Only If You’re The One Buying Them

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As a basic human truth, we like nice things. Nice things make us feel good about ourselves. But in a strange twist, it turns out it’s not enough to have just a taste of Dom Pérignon to feel like you’re living large — you’ve got to own the entire $200 bottle for the good feels to really start flowing. At least, that’s what researchers report in a recent study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.

To find out whether owning a luxury item affects the way people feel about themselves while using that item, the researchers had 307 subjects carry out fake product evaluations for luxury items like expensive chocolates and pens. In one set of evaluations, the subjects were told they were only allowed to use the products, not keep them. In another instance, the subjects were told they could take the products home with them. The subjects who were allowed to use but not keep the luxury items appeared to experience a decreased satisfaction with life, implying you’ll maybe have a way worse time sailing on your friend’s yacht than you would on your own. Which makes sense — who wants to be reminded of that friend who owns a yacht?

TL;DR Our friends’ teetering self esteem is the reason why we can’t have nice things, guys.

[h/t Pacific Standard]