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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so I have a friend who I've known for a couple of years. We met in one of our classes at the university. She's a couple of years older than me and turns out we went to the same high school but didn't know each other then.

Anyways, so I consider my self to be a very giving person, especially towards my friends and family. So when someone has a birthday, I like to go all out.. bake a cake, make something special for them, and/or get something that they would like that's pretty thoughtful and original. Most of my friends know me pretty well and reciprocate accordingly when it's my birthday. :)

So she moved into her own apartment a while back and I went out of my way to make it a great move-in. I spent probably more than I should have and got her a nice set of black/white paisley dishes/cups/bowls, some plastic tumblers and other things. I spent close to $70 just by myself.

I moved out of my parents' house this past summer and into my own apartment. I had a housewarming party and this friend didn't show up, making some random excuse, and then said "oh, I'll give you your gift when I see you next." It's now 7 months later and she still says "oh it's in my closet- don't let me forget to give it to you!" I've given up on that.

This past Christmas, I got her some wine glasses and martini glasses and decorated them with glass paint (some of you may have seen them when I posted pics a while back), knitted her a scarf, make her a decorative T (for her name) to hang on the wall and got her a game that she had wanted. I thought it was a pretty good gift altogether and very well thought out.

My birthday, unfortunately, is 5 days before Christmas, so I end up getting everything all at once. What did this friend get me? A really nasty smelling candle that supposedly cost $30, some off-brand lotion THAT WAS HALF USED and didn't smell good at all, and an ugly photo album that looked like she just found it in her closet. Totally not my style. When I opened this candle box and touched the candle, I ended up getting an allergic reaction to it.. the candle smelled like of musky, so maybe that's why? Anyways, she said "oh i'll take the candle back and get you something else." Turns out she "lost" the receipt... Ick.

I'm just annoyed, I guess. She doesn't know me at all and it shows. :(

So her birthday is coming up and I have no clue what to get for her. :eek:
 

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If you really want to recognize her birthday but don't want to set yourself up for yet another disappointment, give her a birthday card. You can even sign it.
 

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If it makes you happy to celebrate your friendship with her in these special ways, go ahead and do it! But, if you don't feel much like spending the time (and the $$!) to celebrate her day, then you shouldn't feel you have to do so.

A small token would be completely appropriate. Plus, you ARE in college. Times are tough--money is tight.
 

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Give her the photo album and lotion back! I don't think you should go out of your way to do something special for her, it sounds like she doesn't appreciate it. It also sounds like your idea of friend and her idea of friend are two different things. If you have to do something, do what retreiver mama said and just give her some flowers.
 

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If it makes you happy to celebrate your friendship with her in these special ways, go ahead and do it! But, if you don't feel much like spending the time (and the $$!) to celebrate her day, then you shouldn't feel you have to do so.

A small token would be completely appropriate. Plus, you ARE in college. Times are tough--money is tight.

Ditto that.

Plus, if you aren't really over the top good friends, odds are she could be flat broke, but not comfortable enough to tell you she is. I'll admit, I've been there done that - a co-worker gave me a Christmas gift one year, and I felt I HAD to give one back - I had no $$ at all - no $$ at all for her, let alone family and real friends. I gave her shitty excuses for 2 weeks til I scraped some cash together and got her a bottle of wine and some(probably shitty) candles. But, I felt like I had to get her something, you know - that pressure, coupled with the fact that I was flat broke, sucked some serious festering *******.

I say if you want to give her something, then give her something. But don't make this about what she can give you back in return, I don't think gift giving should work that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ditto that.

Plus, if you aren't really over the top good friends, odds are she could be flat broke, but not comfortable enough to tell you she is. I'll admit, I've been there done that - a co-worker gave me a Christmas gift one year, and I felt I HAD to give one back - I had no $$ at all - no $$ at all for her, let alone family and real friends. I gave her shitty excuses for 2 weeks til I scraped some cash together and got her a bottle of wine and some(probably shitty) candles. But, I felt like I had to get her something, you know - that pressure, coupled with the fact that I was flat broke, sucked some serious festering *******.

I say if you want to give her something, then give her something. But don't make this about what she can give you back in return, I don't think gift giving should work that way.
Yeah, I know what you mean. She's not broke at all, I know that for a fact.

I don't think it's what she gives me in return at all, but I mean half used lotion? That's just offensive.
 

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Most of my friends know me pretty well and reciprocate accordingly when it's my birthday. :)


I'm just annoyed, I guess. She doesn't know me at all and it shows. :(
Sorry for going off the deep end there, but I think you summed it all up for yourself right there.
 

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It is wise to give without expecting something in return. Give solely because you want to, not because you are expecting the reciever to ever give you anything. That's the point of giving...it's one-way, not back-and-forth. Otherwise it just becomes abn obligation and not a joy. If you want to give her a gift, give her a gift, just don't do it expecting something in return.

eta... used lotion? Ew. I would much prefer someone just wished me a Happy Birthday, than to feel obligated to buy something they didn't want to, or worse, couldn't afford. I have a family memner who buys dollar store trinkets for gifts. Honestly, I don't need anything, just call me to say Happy Birthday. Not that I don't love gifts, I do. But I don't expect them.
 

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I agree you shouldn't give gifts just to expect something in return, but if you were good enough friends you could just say I'm sorry I can't afford it. A true friend would understand and not be offended.
 

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i guess i have a pretty tight group of friends. i give gifts to them when i can because it makes me happy to do so. a gift is never given with expectations of it being reciprocated. like karina said, gift giving isn't like that(or at least it should not be.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It is wise to give without expecting something in return. Give solely because you want to, not because you are expecting the reciever to ever give you anything. That's the point of giving...it's one-way, not back-and-forth. Otherwise it just becomes abn obligation and not a joy. If you want to give her a gift, give her a gift, just don't do it expecting something in return.

eta... used lotion? Ew. I would much prefer someone just wished me a Happy Birthday, than to feel obligated to buy something they didn't want to, or worse, couldn't afford. I have a family memner who buys dollar store trinkets for gifts. Honestly, I don't need anything, just call me to say Happy Birthday. Not that I don't love gifts, I do. But I don't expect them.
Yeah, that's exactly how I feel. I would rather her just say "happy birthday" and give me a card than a bunch of random USED stuff she just found hanging around. :(
 

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Yeah, that's exactly how I feel. I would rather her just say "happy birthday" and give me a card than a bunch of random USED stuff she just found hanging around. :(
True, but if she's feeling OBLIGATED to give you something, which I'm definitely sensing here, then that's what you get.

Maybe you should relax your gift giving requirements.
 

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It seems to me that your friend would probably rather you didn't get her anything. She doesn't seem like she's into gift giving yet feels somewhat obligated when you give to her. So, she just throws something together. Not that she should even have to do anything as everyone else has already said. It's about giving, not receiving.
I would just get her a card, and be done with it.
 

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Yeah, that's exactly how I feel. I would rather her just say "happy birthday" and give me a card ...
Would you really though?

From your first post:
Most of my friends know me pretty well and reciprocate accordingly when it's my birthday.
Emphasis mine. The word 'accordingly' there says to me that you have some sort of check and balance system whether you realize it or not.

Give her what you can be happy giving her if she gives you nothing or the EXACT same thing you just got from her back. If it's the same as always, fine. If it's just a card and a candle, fine. But you know where she stands with gift giving, if that affects where you stand with it, now you know.
 

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I would horribly embarrassed if one of my friends got me something for my birthday, or expected gifts at christmas and such. It's just not my thing--my husband and I don't even exchange gifts. Really, why are you pushing this on her? I think it's a little mean. I meant what I said in my first post--don't bother. Get her a card if you have to give her something. But she'd probably prefer a simple birthday wish and leave it at that. If she's expecting something after all the times she didn't get you anything or much of anything, then she's just mooching and not worth being friends with, anyway.
 
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