• May 23, 2018, 07:45:55 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: gift from co-worker  (Read 5856 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Member
  • Posts: 966
gift from co-worker
« on: July 09, 2013, 06:37:33 PM »
I apologize for any rambling to come, I will try to keep myself corralled somewhat  ::)

My co-worker gave me a birthday gift today.  This is not standard in this office (I have been here just over a year).  I received an e-certificate in my personal email (exchanged when i first started to use the yahoo messenger feature).  This was just after we got back from getting a birthday donut for breakfast (his treat).

I did not give a gift at his birthday.  I did make a cheesecake for his birthday, a month late.  I gave a small token gift to him and my other immediate co-worker at Christmas.

My immediate response (via IM) was 'This (e-gift) was unnecessary' (some paraphase thereof). 

And now I feel both rude for my immediate rejection of a gift, AND I would feel rude/weird to use the gift.

I have social anxiety issues, and would like advice on the least awkard way to proceed.  Should I email the e-certificate back to him (having already rejected the gift/idea of a gift) or should I write a short thank you note, formally accepting the gift (as I have done for gifts received at the office, at my previous job).  Other alternatives welcome, these are just the two I can see. 

Advice before tomorrow morning would help, but if I can't figure out what to do by then, I will probably just do the (spineless, I know) 'Ignore and pretend it doesn't exist' - I am pretty good at that at least.


  • Member
  • Posts: 1154
Re: gift from co-worker
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 06:50:39 PM »
Write a thank you note and accept the gift. You did give him a birthday gift if you made him a cheesecake -- even if it was late. He's reciprocating (store bought donut does not equal homemade cheesecake unless it was a really fabulous donut or you only gave him a tiny slice of cheesecake and ate the rest). Unless it is for a really outrageous amount or you are sure there are strings attached, returning the gift would be insulting and so would "ignore and pretend it doesn't exist."

If you feel guilty spending it on yourself, maybe buy something the whole office can enjoy: nice coffee, treats, supplies.
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." Douglas Adams


  • Member
  • Posts: 2225
Re: gift from co-worker
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 06:52:05 PM »
I find it hard to comment without knowing exactly what you said (vs a paraphrase).  Others may be more helpful.

(if you said, "Thanks, but you didn't have to do that", then I'd let it go).


  • Member
  • Posts: 555
  • Quid plura?
Re: gift from co-worker
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 06:55:45 PM »
Can you tell us a little more about the situation? How expensive was the gift? Has this co-worker behaved inappropriately ever, or has he always been professional and friendly? Is the certificate for something more personal/feminine - like a massage or a card to Victoria's Secret - or something generic - like a gift certificate to Starbucks?

In general, if co-worker has been friendly and appropriate in the past, the gift is relatively inexpensive, and it's not creepy - you should send him a thank you note and accept the gift graciously. It might not hurt to add a little apology for your abrupt message earlier, and just say that you were surprised by the gift. In this case, it's a nice gesture between coworkers and he may just be acknowledging the time and cost of ingredients that go into making a cheesecake - buying a cheesecake ready-made isn't cheap, after all, so he mayb be valuing it that way, and he may have wanted to return the gesture but not have any baking abilities so instead just went the gift card route.

If, however, the gift exceeds boundaries in some way, or if co-worker has been flirty or too personal previously, then you might just send him a quick note thanking him for thinking of you but saying you cannot accept the gift and you'd prefer to keep your relationship professional.


  • Member
  • Posts: 966
Re: gift from co-worker
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 07:11:32 PM »
The gift is an Amazon certificate, right at the upper edge of what I would spend on a gift for someone at work. 

Co-worker makes some off color jokes, and I reciprocate, but sometimes it feels a bit much?

I am perhaps overly fond of my boundaries, and it feels like weakens them in some inexplicable way?

I do not have a lot of interaction experience with peers, coworkers, very few friends, so I don't really have too much of a baseline.  I had a few, very intense friendships in college, where this kind of gift would not be any question to me at all.  But (wow, issues, sorry) not much other than family since then, so I guess I'm asking for 'Is this normal?' first, and then onto, how do I de-awkward what's already happened.  (And I may just be WAY over-thinking too).)


  • Member
  • Posts: 2988
  • YOU'RE.. MAKING.. ME.. BEAT.. UP.. GRASS! - Rocket
Re: gift from co-worker
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 01:08:31 PM »
See, it is things like this that make me tell my coworkers that my birthday is February 31st.

Try a quick remark in passing "By the way, thank you again for the gift." and then keep walking.