Author Topic: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends  (Read 4373 times)

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Adelaide

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I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« on: January 11, 2012, 12:01:04 AM »
I've made friends with quite a few people over my college career, and 5 of them gave me a Christmas gift this year. I accepted the gifts enthusiastically and thanked them, but now I'm apprehensive. I know that eHell says you can't do anything about people who want to give you gifts, but I'm worried that they expect me to buy them something. What should I do? Go out and buy them a belated gift? Not do anything? I feel like saying "Look, I don't want to exchange gifts or anything during holidays" would be pretty rude. But I feel like not getting them anything may make them think I'm rude anyway. What should I do? I had the "let's stop exchanging gifts" conversation with my high school friends 4 years ago before we split for college, but that was rather awkward, even if it needed to be done.

Ceallach

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 12:11:19 AM »
I find this awkward as well, but the problem is if you *do* reciprocate then it becomes an ongoing thing.   It's very hard to reciprocate once then never again.   So I thank them sincerely and give them a card or similar.  I feel like a heel, but I don't see any other way around it and I don't want to feel forced to buy gifts for people.   Sometimes I'll get something small in exchange if I have the time, money and inclination, and then hope that they don't do it again.

But you're correct, you can't tell people not to give you a gift - it's their choice to do so, and hopefully they are not giving with the expectation of anything in return, but giving from the heart because it makes them happy.
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Adelaide

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 12:17:32 AM »
I find this awkward as well, but the problem is if you *do* reciprocate then it becomes an ongoing thing.   It's very hard to reciprocate once then never again.   So I thank them sincerely and give them a card or similar.  I feel like a heel, but I don't see any other way around it and I don't want to feel forced to buy gifts for people.   Sometimes I'll get something small in exchange if I have the time, money and inclination, and then hope that they don't do it again.

But you're correct, you can't tell people not to give you a gift - it's their choice to do so, and hopefully they are not giving with the expectation of anything in return, but giving from the heart because it makes them happy.

The only thing that I'm worried about is that they might be expecting a gift back and I have no way of telling it. If the people on eHell were on the other side-that is, if you were giving the gift-would you be hurt if someone didn't reciprocate, even if exchanging gifts had never been mentioned?

Bijou

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 01:53:02 AM »
Maybe if you just thank them kindly and do not reciprocate they will get the message, and probably be relieved.
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shhh its me

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 03:59:01 PM »
I find this awkward as well, but the problem is if you *do* reciprocate then it becomes an ongoing thing.   It's very hard to reciprocate once then never again.   So I thank them sincerely and give them a card or similar.  I feel like a heel, but I don't see any other way around it and I don't want to feel forced to buy gifts for people.   Sometimes I'll get something small in exchange if I have the time, money and inclination, and then hope that they don't do it again.

But you're correct, you can't tell people not to give you a gift - it's their choice to do so, and hopefully they are not giving with the expectation of anything in return, but giving from the heart because it makes them happy.

The only thing that I'm worried about is that they might be expecting a gift back and I have no way of telling it. If the people on eHell were on the other side-that is, if you were giving the gift-would you be hurt if someone didn't reciprocate, even if exchanging gifts had never been mentioned?

To the bolded only if I was in a romantic relationship with the person. 

EMuir

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 04:06:49 PM »
I have actually spoken with a group of friends about not giving birthday presents and they were all relieved.  I think that if you told them that you aren't expecting a present, that getting together with them is enough, that would be fine.  Or, just don't give them a present this next year, they'll get the point that you don't want to exchange gifts.

Captain Hastings

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 04:10:07 PM »
The only thing that I'm worried about is that they might be expecting a gift back and I have no way of telling it. If the people on eHell were on the other side-that is, if you were giving the gift-would you be hurt if someone didn't reciprocate, even if exchanging gifts had never been mentioned?

I have (very recently) been on the giving side of this--I gave friends birthday gifts, but received nothing in return from either of them when my birthday came along.

Did it hurt? Well sure, a little. Gift exchanges are fun for me and I look forward to them. But it also sent a clear, polite, confrontation-free message. I didn't have to ask if they wanted to exchange gifts for Christmas, I just assumed they were no longer interested (and I was right.)

It did NOT change our friendship, it did not make things awkward--I figure these are the things you might be concerned about.

P.S. Something to think about is, do you believe these people would happy receiving a gift from you if they knew how little you wanted to give it? My vote is no. (Obviously there are gimme pigs out there, but you said these people are your friends!) Disappointed as I was with my friends' decision, I would feel much worse if I thought they were being unpleasantly burdened in gifting me.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 04:28:20 PM by Captain Hastings »

Ceallach

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Re: I don't want to exchange gifts with friends
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 07:15:01 PM »
I find this awkward as well, but the problem is if you *do* reciprocate then it becomes an ongoing thing.   It's very hard to reciprocate once then never again.   So I thank them sincerely and give them a card or similar.  I feel like a heel, but I don't see any other way around it and I don't want to feel forced to buy gifts for people.   Sometimes I'll get something small in exchange if I have the time, money and inclination, and then hope that they don't do it again.

But you're correct, you can't tell people not to give you a gift - it's their choice to do so, and hopefully they are not giving with the expectation of anything in return, but giving from the heart because it makes them happy.

The only thing that I'm worried about is that they might be expecting a gift back and I have no way of telling it. If the people on eHell were on the other side-that is, if you were giving the gift-would you be hurt if someone didn't reciprocate, even if exchanging gifts had never been mentioned?

To the bolded only if I was in a romantic relationship with the person.

I agree.   
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"