DEAR JERKASS: I bought a friend a gift recently. Her response? "You should have just given me the money because I really need it." A few years ago, I was going to buy another friend an expensive pair of shoes and she convinced me not to because she said she could buy 10 pairs from a discount store for the amount I was planning to spend.
I love giving gifts during the holidays and for birthdays, and enjoy choosing things I think my friends might like or need. I hate giving money! Isn't part of the gift-giving experience for the giver, too?
I feel it should be my choice to buy whatever I want for someone, and their response should just be, "Thank you." It irks me when people dictate to me what I should give them. Am I just being a control freak, or do I have the wrong idea of gift-giving? -- GIFT GIVER IN TEXAS
DEAR STRINGS ATTACHED,
Know what that Rabbi down the street likes? A side of bacon. He should accept the gift and just say "thank you". It was expensive bacon, too. Pancetta. Italian rolled bacon. Who doesn't like bacon, right?
While I can agree with you that people should be more gracious when given something they don't need, I also understand being given something I have no use for, even if it is interesting. It's another thing that sits around the house that I would love to get rid of but can't because of the social mores that dictate I keep it. Especially if said object is asked about when the giver comes by for a visit.
"Hey, where's that Georgia O'Keeffe ten foot print I got you?"
"...yeah...I don't really like paintings that look like blue waffles so I burned it..."
So maybe if you give a gift instead of waiting for the person to grovel at your feet, or even say thank you, you should bask in the warming glow that the act of generosity gives you. Its especially warming when you do it without any expectations.
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.