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20-40-60 Etiquette: Gift of friendship is enough!

A friend offers a gift after each visit. How can I let her know it's not necessary?

QUESTION: I have a very dear friend who is always giving me things. I cannot go to her house without leaving with something. It is very uncomfortable for me. Obviously, I always thank her and many times try to not accept whatever it is she has for me. I do not want to hurt her feelings. She is a very giving person, and most of the gifts are food items or hand-me-down clothes for my kids. Lately they have been gift cards. We aren't hurting financially or anything, but sometimes I feel like her charity case. How in the world do I handle this? Any advice would be appreciated.

CALLIE'S ANSWER: My mom does this with food! But I haven't seen her offer old gift cards. That is awkward. Don't take offense to it, though. I am sure she is trying to be nice. Tell her you would be happy to donate the gifts for her. Hopefully she will realize she doesn't need to pawn them off to you.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Your friend apparently cares deeply for you and wants to show it.

You have handled it in a nice way by trying to refuse them and also by offering thanks. You could protest the gift card by telling her you'd love for her to spend that money on herself since she's always doing nice things for others. Another idea would be to reassure her that you're visiting her because you consider her a dear friend and not because of any gifts.

But you also don't want to hurt her feelings if she enjoys making the effort with gifts. Smile, say “thank you” and enjoy your friendship.

HELEN'S ANSWER: You have been doing fine in the way you are handling the gift-giving. Your friend seems to need to offer you a gift as a thank-you for visiting her home. If you want it, fine, and if you do not, say no thanks. She apparently does not need the gift cards, so you might suggest that she offer them to her favorite charity so they could go to someone who does need them.

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