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Random Queries > Scenario: A Good Friend Gave You a Gift

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message 1: by Aynge (last edited Mar 04, 2011 03:33PM) (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments It's something you wanted for a long time, but didn't buy for yourself because it was out of your budget (hundreds of dollars). Months later, your friend asks for it back via email.

Your friend doesn't say why, just asks for its return.
There are no financial problems that your friend has ever mentioned. S/he didn't say s/he just needed to borrow it.

Do you give it back without question (this person has always been above reproach in your experience, ie, obviously is not going to sell it for crack or whores)? Do you ask for further details? Do you lie and say you lost it (it's not a car and can be easily hidden)?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

no, id just thank the person for letting you borrow it i guess and give it back.


message 3: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments Wow. I guess I’d give it back... and not accept another gift from this friend. If it’s someone that’s always been above reproach, I don’t think I’d ask for details. It’s probably something embarrassing. I guess I might ask if everything was ok with them.


message 4: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments Esme wrote: "no, id just thank the person for letting you borrow it i guess and give it back."

No, it was a gift. It was wrapped and everything.


message 5: by Stina (new)

Stina (stinalee) | 750 comments Is there a reason why the friend can't be asked why they want it back?


message 6: by Lizzy (last edited Mar 04, 2011 03:50PM) (new)

Lizzy | 129 comments Okay, it's hundreds of dollars, and let's be logical, they're going to want it for a reason right? And let's say you've know the friend for a long time, so I would say, yeah, let them borrow it. But if they don't give it back I think that's where the problem comes in. It was a gift after all. . .


message 7: by Aynge (last edited Mar 04, 2011 03:54PM) (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments No, s/he didn't ask to borrow it. S/he asked for you to give it back.


message 8: by Lizzy (new)

Lizzy | 129 comments Oh okay, well then no. That's like saying here's a birthday present, good glad you like it, now give it back. It just doesn't work that way.


message 9: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24255 comments Mod
It seems like the friendship is going to be over either way, right? If you don't give it back, your friend will be angry at you forever. If you do give it back, you will resent the friend forever. It seems fair to ask, since it was a gift, why the friend wants it back, and then assess their answer before you act.

Perhaps it was stolen merchandise and the friend needs to make restitution...


message 10: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments So you would just say: "Sorry. You gave it to me and I'm keeping it."


message 11: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24255 comments Mod
I guess I would evaluate the friend and the friendship before I decided. It certainly seems like a strange request, but giving a gift worth hundreds of dollars also seems strange to me. My friends and I don't give gifts this large. Do you have any sense of whether the friend needs the gift back to use the gift, or because of the monetary value of it?


message 12: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments No. The friend has not mentioned any financial troubles, but in this economy, I guess everybody is affected to some extent. This person owns a house with no mortgage, has two cars, etc. This person tells you in detail of various personal medical procedures, and various other TMI issues, so if s/he was having any sort of problems with money, you would probably know it.

There is no way the present is stolen.


message 13: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments I suppose the shock of anybody asking you to return a gift is difficult to deal with. But this person is a good friend and a good person. It seems wrong to question the request. After all, the friend is worth more than the gift.


message 14: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24255 comments Mod
Well, obviously you can keep the gift, since it was a gift. The situation is very odd, to say the least. Unless you're leaving out critical information, this person has shortcomings in the friend category.


message 15: by Aynge (last edited Mar 04, 2011 04:18PM) (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments But you can't just ignore the request. You have to reply to the email. Assuming you decide to keep the gift, what is the proper response to: "BTW, remember that _____ I gave you for your birthday/Christmas? I'm going to need that back."

Or perhaps you should call.


message 16: by Phoenix (new)

Phoenix (phoenixapb) | 1619 comments If it were me, I'd just ask why. Then again, I'm very blunt and to the point with anyone I consider a friend. I learned long ago that lack of communication in a friendship, even when it comes to hard topics, leads to problems and ends friendships that could otherwise have been saved.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments It's a very bizarre scenario for real life but would probably make a great premise for a mystery or thriller. There's some sort of top-secret plan hidden inside the gift and your friend is worried that a foreign power is tracking you down at this very moment, etc.

As for what to do, I don't know your relationship with your friend--and all relationships have their idiosyncrasies--but personally I would just give it back, whatever it is. I really don't like to get involved in interpersonal drama if I can help it. But that's just my bias. Maybe it's worthwhile to ask for more info. Certainly an odd situation.


message 18: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24255 comments Mod
Well, again, it's up to you since the person gave you, rather than lent you, the thing. You've said the friendship is more valuable than the gift, and if that's true, it makes sense to return the gift. So you've answered your question. But the friendship is already damaged, even if you return the gift. Will your friend ever explain what his/her reasoning is? If no, you'll always wonder. Maybe you'll be able to get past it at some point, forgive and forget.

But again, this is weird. A normal person doesn't send that email. Normal people don't give gifts and then demand them back.


message 19: by Stina (last edited Mar 04, 2011 04:27PM) (new)

Stina (stinalee) | 750 comments I like to think I would respond with something like, "I wish I could be the kind of person who could return this gift with no questions asked, but I just can't. I've come up with all sorts of weird scenarios in my mind as to why you'd ask me to do this and I'd really appreciate knowing the full story."

In real life, I'd probably just return the gift and bitch about it to other people.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

i think it depends on the situation in the end actually.


message 21: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments That is what makes this such a quandry. Most of us know people who are of questionable integrity. "Indian givers," is the term I used as a child. It's easy to just throw the gift back in their face and end the friendship. However, when someone you genuinely admire, someone who has always been a standup/honorable type, someone who offers without being asked to like, pick you up from the airport and makes you chicken soup when you are sick sends you an email like this... you are reluctant to question the request, but at the same time can't believe that s/he's asking for you to return a present.


message 22: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments Esme wrote: "i think it depends on the situation in the end actually."

So, just ask why then? Is that what you would do? What if you don't like the answer?


message 23: by Phoenix (new)

Phoenix (phoenixapb) | 1619 comments If you don't like the answer, don't give the gift back. A relationship is about give and take...not take backs (god that is such a juvenile term, but it fits). Besides, maybe there is something you can do to help your friend out, other than returning the gift.

It never hurts to ask, you may not like the answer, but at least you'll know.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

well, id just ask casually why they need it. and if i dont like the answer, id probably still give it back but their rep would drop in my eyes, because you dont just take a gift back after you gift them and give a crappy reason why.
if it was a legit reason like financial, then that would be a different story.


message 25: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24255 comments Mod
Why do you think the person wants it back? Any guesses?

I'm starting to think there may be drugs, money, or inappropriate photos hidden in it. If it's a music box, you need to peel away all the insides, like in Silence of the Lambs.


message 26: by Aynge (last edited Mar 04, 2011 08:47PM) (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments I really don't know why, but I guess in the end it doesn't matter. It's disappointing, but this person is a friend, and I would give him/her a kidney. If s/he wants it back then I will give it to her. Or him.

The only reason I accepted such a gift in the first place was because of how good a friend I consider him/her. Otherwise I would never accept something so expensive. On the other hand, I gave him/her a gift that cost even more, and I didn't even hesitate. I knew s/he would love it and that was enough. I would never consider asking for it back, though, unless it was going to save orphans from a burning building or something like that.


message 27: by Michael (new)

Michael I'd give it back but I'd ask the friend why they wanted it back because I'd want to know if something was wrong and I'd need that answer to know if I could ever trust them again.


message 28: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11665 comments 1. Probably best not to accept expensive gifts from friends.

2. Friend says, "BTW, I'm going to need that back?" I'm going to ask, "Is everything okay?"


message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1679 comments I would give the gift back and ask why. Fulfill their request and try to get an explanation. Why wouldn't you ask why?


message 30: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments If I hadn't've been so shocked I probably would have thought to ask right away. I was kind of floored.


message 31: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1107 comments I would assume that it hadn't been for me, and she'd mistakenly given me the wrong present. No questions asked, I'd give it back and carry on like nothing had happened.


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