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How to ask a friend to stop giving me presents

(73 Posts)
SixPackWellies Sun 25-Aug-13 10:45:49

I am really at my wits end on this. I have a friend that i see once every two weeks or so. Every time i see her she is giving me things. Last time I saw her, for example, she gave me two books, three magazines, a t-shirt for my youngest, lego, a pack of maltesers and a pot of jam. For Christmas she gave me 4 recipe books, two bottles of wine, a necklace etc. Literally, every time I see her she has bought something for me and usually the children. I keep saying to her to please stop it. Last week i said quite forcefully 'please stop buying me things', literally that blunt, and her husband rolled his eyes and said that he kept telling her to stop to because it is 'not as if you reciprocate'. (Damn right i don't. it would spiral out of control). She just laughed and said 'you can't stop me'.

I really cannot stand it. I buy her a small gift for birthday and Christmas, but that is it, and that's normal right? i have no idea why she keeps doing it and i have said subtly over the past year to stop before i really laid it out last week to stop, and she just ignores me. It makes me feel uncomfortable and I really do not want to see her.

I have tried the subtle approach and the blunt approach. i have said to her outright that it makes me feel uncomfortable. But she literally just laughed in my face.

Short of just refusing to see her (which is where i am heading) how can I get her to stop?

somersethouse Sun 25-Aug-13 10:49:33

Don't know, but watching advice with interest.
I have a friend who is not 'as bad' as yours, but, she buys SO many presents for every reason - I really wish she would stop doing this too.

Small token gift at birtthday and Christmas - perfect. Now I have DD it has made it worse. All the present giving is indeed spiralling out of control.

somersethouse Sun 25-Aug-13 10:50:23

In fact, I am in my 40's - I don't need presents for my birthday to be honest. A card is lovely and will suffice smile

SixPackWellies Sun 25-Aug-13 10:55:13

same with me. A card is quite enough for birthdays!

MexicanHat Sun 25-Aug-13 11:00:54

What is your actual problem with it? Just that it makes you feel uncomforable? I can empathise with you as I have a similar friend.

Everytime she visits she has flowers, present for me and something for my DC. When I visit her (I take flowers or bottle of wine now!) she has a present for me then too. I think it just gives her pleasure so now I just go with it.

We use to buy each other birthday/xmas presents but I suggested we just buy something small for each others DCs. Well that didn't happen. I did buy something small for her DCs but we got the usual santa sack. It was slighty embarrassing the first time. We have been friends for years, I want her in my life (not just for the presents!) so I just let her get on with it now.

I don't really know what to suggesst, would it really be a friendship ender for you? Sounds like her H may have a problem with it too. Do you know if she's like this with other friends?

SavoyCabbage Sun 25-Aug-13 11:02:23

I've got a friend like this. It's how she shows she cares. She places a high value on material objects. She's a hoarder.

I think it is that different people measure love in different ways. For me, it's a being there measurement. I will take the day of to watch school athletics. I will make you a lasagne when your mum is in hospital, if I say I'll pick you up from the station on tuesday, I will.

For others it's telling people they love them.

For my friend it's giving me things. She would never pick me up from the station though!

somersethouse Sun 25-Aug-13 11:05:32

It is certainly not a friendship ender for me (I am not the OP) but it just makes me uncomfortable, yes Mexican as they are always expensive gifts and she doesn't have much money. I love her for her not her presents. I keep telling her.

I keep asking her not to - but like you, every time she ups the anti I have to do so also - ie going round with wine and flowers etc and I just want o go round for a chat or sure, take a bottle of wine and share it. But I don't need a present each and every time and neither does DD.

It is SO generous of her, she is SO lovely and my best friend, I don't want her spending her hard earned cash on me, I really, really don't.

princesspeabody Sun 25-Aug-13 11:06:48

If it makes you uncomfortable and she won't listen to you then stop seeing her.

somersethouse Sun 25-Aug-13 11:09:34

savoy you have summed it up perfectly. My sister is also a big present giver and expects big presents back. She will give masses (ridiculous amounts) of presents to DD (who is overwhlemed by them and doesn't appreciate them which I explain time and time again) but all I want is her to be consistent and reliable and spend time with DD. This I can't count on and this is what matters most to me. Presents matter not one jot and mean nothing to me. My sister then likes to go on and on about what she has bought and how much it cost hmm My dear friend is NOT like this though!

Each to their own I suppose smile

SixPackWellies Sun 25-Aug-13 11:12:48

It makes me feel massively uncomfortable because it makes me feel under an obligation, or like she is trying to buy me. I like her, not the gifts, and I am certainly in no position to reciprocate. Also, when she just laughed at me and said 'You can't stop me' it made me feel as if she was being quite aggressive, IFSWIM. She does buy things for others, but usually quite small. Last time i saw her for example we were with another friend., She got maltesers only, not the swagload of gifts. I have asked her to stop, and have said it makes me uncomfortable and she just laughs in my face.

Also, her DH's 'it's not as if you reciprocate' also felt quite aggressive, like he was attacking me or accusing me of being a taker. I don't ask for these gifts, I have asked her to stop, and I really do not want to start buying her endless things in exchange. I just feel exhausted by it really.

racingheart Sun 25-Aug-13 11:13:12

Can you have a proper conversation with her about it? Tell her you like her enough to always want to see her empty handed. And explain you don't want a friendship based on material things, which is why you don't reciprocate, because you haven't the money or time to, and because you don't feel the need to express your affection for her that way.

Tell her to turn up once empty handed and be very welcoming. She sounds very insecure. My dad does it too, bless him. Can't arrive without dozens of bottles of wine and food to feed 5000. Then gets slightly miffed if I serve what I'd cooked and wine I'd bought, as planned. Also means I feel I can never drop by on my parents empty handed, but have to fork out for a £7 bottle of wine, even if I'm just dropping something off for them. It's tiresome and controlling, but well-meant.

MexicanHat Sun 25-Aug-13 11:14:14

Hi somersethouse It's a tough one isn't it?

I visited my friend a couple of weeks ago, our birthdays are within weeks of each other and she had bought me a stunning necklace for my birthday. Now that was embarrassing!! I was staying over and when I went to put my bag in the bedroom it was on the pillow and looked liked it had been professionally wrapped!!

We'd posted each other (lovely) cards but it didn't even enter my head to buy her a birthday present (I did take some wine though!!) The two of us went out for a meal that night so I paid the bill - but even then she was trying to shove money in my hand!!

SixPackWellies Sun 25-Aug-13 11:15:47

Like you Mexican I usually feel embarrassed and as we usually meet for lunch I will insist on paying the bill- which tbh I can ill afford to do too. I would rather just her to turn up empty-handed and we have a chat and a sandwich and for that to be that.

MexicanHat Sun 25-Aug-13 11:22:45

Yes I get you OP

I think you are going to have to sit her down and talk to her. Seeing someone once every two weeks is quite a lot. I only see my friend once every couple of months due to distance so I can understand why it does make you feel so uncomfortable.

It also sounds like her H does see you as a taker or it could be that he's tried to talk to your friend about it it already. Either way, there was no need for him to be off with you about it.

WafflyVersatile Sun 25-Aug-13 11:24:02

Do you lunch anywhere near a charity shop? Explain to her how it makes you feel and that if it continues you will hand everything straight to the charity shop and if she still gets you presents make sure you go straight in there in front of her and drop them off.

xalyssx Sun 25-Aug-13 11:26:22

I'm the other way round, I am always getting things for people and always paying for days out. I do this because I struggle to show my friends how well I appreciate them. If a friend ever says that they are uncomfortable with how much I spend, I suggest that they help me eg entertaining my DC for an hour or helping me choose shoes (or hoovering grin )
I would suggest asking your friend if you can help her with anything

somersethouse Sun 25-Aug-13 11:31:37

But, but xallyssx why can't people just meet as friends or relatives as an objective in its own sake?

No need for presents or favours, just friendship - a chat and a --glass of wine.., cup of tea!

garlicagain Sun 25-Aug-13 11:33:58

What Savoy said. Have you heard of the 5 love languages? In short, people show love in five different ways: touch, words, deeds, gifts, time. Most people gravitate to two or three of them, but there's always a dominant 'language' and some people are all about one in particular. Sounds like your friend's love language is gifts. Do she and her DH give each other lots of little presents?

Since you're against reciprocating in the same way, have a think about what your 'language' is. Maybe give her the book as a gift - she'll appreciate a gift! - and get the conversation going with her. See if you can work out a more mutually-satisfying combination of favours smile

ChaosTrulyReigns Sun 25-Aug-13 11:37:18

It's a dilemma, SixPack. I think I'd be reducing the amount of contact I had with her, if she won't listen to you. I certainly be veru uncomfortable.

Or I'd offer to do her hoovering as xalyssx suggests hmm.

SixPackWellies Sun 25-Aug-13 11:37:56

Oh that is very interesting garlic i might get that book. My language (I think) is time, I think.

That could be a really great idea, to give her the book and then talk.

garlicagain Sun 25-Aug-13 11:40:58

Pleased to hear it, Wellies! smile

edam Sun 25-Aug-13 11:42:40

that would make me very uncomfortable. Some good advice here, hope it works

cephalicdream Sun 25-Aug-13 12:16:22

Xally...the point is OP wants to meet her friend not feel indebted to her for no reason. Buying gifts expecting babysitting in return is completely unreasonable!!

SixPackWellies Sun 25-Aug-13 12:16:36

yes thanks everyone for the advice, i am grateful!

internationallove985 Sun 25-Aug-13 16:31:08

Sorry but I can't see what the problem is. She buys you and your D.C's gifts because it's something she likes to do.
I love buying gifts for people and it's not because I want gratification or something in return if I do want something I just go out and buy it myself. My friend was going though a very difficult financial period a while back (in fact she was in dire straights) so I bought her D.C christmas clothes, pyjamas and helped her to get a gifts for her D.C. I also took her D.C to the grotto with my D.D. My friend wasn't offended at all. xxx

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