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I have this friend…

I have this friend who is moving and she has this thing that was given to her as a gift by someone. She has kept the thing on display in her home for five years now. The thing is large and conspicuous, and let’s just say it’s not her taste. She likes the person who gave it to her more than she likes the thing, and wouldn’t want to hurt the gift-giver’s feelings.

Should she keep the thing?

8 comments to I have this friend…

  • Yes.
    That being said, perhaps you should know that I am a card-carrying pack-rat & a sentimental fool.

  • I think there’s something wrong with being forced to clutter our lives with objects given to us by others.

    The objects are not the people.

    So… I’m wondering:

    – is it possible for your friend to be direct and say that the thing just didn’t fit with what she wants to do in the new place?

    – would the gift-giver like a say in what happens to the thing?

    – can your friend find a way to show the gift-giver that she values her… maybe a picture of the friend on the wall?

    – is there a way to re-gift it that would cause the gift-giver to be happy about its new home? donate it to a charity auction? give it to another friend?

  • Yes, I think so. Friendship is more important than decorating.

    I try to never “decorate” my friends houses for them when I buy gifts, though.

  • That is a tough one. I like the points made by Scrim. If your “friend” was moving to a smaller place, that might be an excuse to give it back. But I think it is always better to go for truth rather than excuse. If you come up with a plausible excuse, the other person can rebut with something equally plausible. If you stick to the truth, at least you won’t get the rebuttal.

    If you are going to go with the truth, always start with the nice part first. Tell the giver that you love him or her and that you love the fact that he or she loved you enough to give you this thing that obviously meant something to him or her. (Lotsa love going there.) Then say it just doesn’t work for you (ahem, sorry “your friend”). And you’ve given it five years to work for you so that’s fair too. And offer it back to the giver. Maybe.

  • NO.
    She should not be forece to keep the THING.
    What to do with it depends on what the THING is.
    If it’s an otherwise usable object (say a spinning wheel), she should gift it to someone who loves it and will use it.
    If it’s art, she should donate it to a charity auction that benefits a charity the original giver also likes.
    If it’s a plant, she she should give it to a plant lover who loves it … or…. allow it to be inadvertently maimed in the move.
    If it’s furniture, allow it to not fit the new scheme, and replace it with an object that works better in HER life, while donating it to a women’s shelter or something.
    If the giver is a real friend, (s)he’d not want to inflict an unwanted thing on this person… she meant the gift to bring some positive emotion. Thus, she’ll understand. If the giver really loves the THING, offer to return it before sending it on…

  • Such a tough decision!

    We received a handmade wedding gift (made with a significant investment of time, it seems) from a family member we rarely see. The gift was not to our decorating taste, so we “loaned” it to a sister-in-law, who like it very much.

    It would have been a great plan, except that the family member dropped in on the sister-in-law very unexpectedly, and the sister-in-law didn’t have time to hide the item! When the family member saw it and asked where she got it, the sister-in-law replied, “Um … at a garage sale?”


    We now have the piece back, because it’ll be great in the nursery we’re preparing for our daughter. I need to write the family member and grovel a little.

    So my advice: is it possible to store the gift somewhere, where it won’t be clutter or inspire sad thoughts, but where it’s not permanently gone in case the giver asks about it?

  • Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions. I will pass them on to my friend and let you know what she decides. 😉

  • NO.. get rid of it.. donate it to a worthy cause and let their friends’s legacy of gift giving extend to cancer research /sally anne etc from the donation.. and,if the friends notice, say it got broke in the move :)