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Gift of Friendship

(66 Posts)
AiryFlyingFairy Sat 08-May-21 13:04:02

I've become confused what relationship I have with someone I thought of as a close 'friend'. Wondering if any of you have had similar experiences?
I've got a handful of close friends & we give each other birthday gifts & I wouldn't dream of not doing so.
Couple of years ago this particular friend asked if I still wanted to do birthday gifts? Came out of the blue & put me on the spot. I just said, "Yes" She said "It's entirely up to you. I'm just checking as you might want to save the money for your family"
It's not 'entirely up to me" as she was the one who brought it up!
For context we only do birthdays not Xmas & wouldn't spend more than 20 £.
She then suggested we just get each other a bottle of our favourite tipple for birthdays. I thought that was fine. So we started doing that. But since then she's asked me yet again if I still want to do the bottle gifts?
I think I was being dense as it's finally dawned on me that she doesn't want to do the gifts at all.
This is someone I thought I had a nice friendship with but now I think she wants to distance herself.
With C19 of course I haven't seen a lot of her but we've keep in contact & had chats outdoors.
I've discussed this with my partner who says I should get in first before birthday season & ask her to put the onus on her. Sounds reasonable but I feel she'll then twist it to make it seem like this was my idea.
I feel like I've been manipulated by her.
It's not about the materialism of present giving. I don't think money is an issue (She has decent earnings) I feel she just doesn't want to bother anymore but for myself the friendship isn't what I thought. After being close mates for 20 odd years this has saddened me.

Galaxy Sat 08-May-21 13:06:46

I think she doesnt want to buy presents anymore but that doesnt mean she doesnt want to be friends. I dont buy presents for the majority of my friends.

jeanie99 Sat 08-May-21 13:15:17

I can only speak for my experience with my friends.
I have 4 long standing close friends, we never give gifts.
Our family are the people we buy for.

Although you say your friend as no money problems, do we ever know this really!!
There may be things going on in her life you know nothing about.
If this was my close friend I would just ask straight out what the problem was.

Peasblossom Sat 08-May-21 13:16:41

I guess, like many of us she can buy what she wants and finds herself giving unwanted presents away to charity shops. The favourite tipple makes me think this because it’s consumable.

I’m sure she values your friendship.

Fleur20 Sat 08-May-21 13:28:30

Perhaps she doesnt want several bottles of her favourite tipple in her house at the same time. There could be several reasons for this. Perhaps she thinks (as I do) it doesnt make sense for you all to go to the bother of buying, wrapping and delivering presents when you all know what you are going to get anyway and you can (as far as you know??) afford to buy for yourself as and when you want.
This doesnt mean she doesnt want /value your friendship. I would take the pressure off her, as her friend, ( since she has raised the subject twice now!) and say you have been thinking about things and a nice card would do going forward ' as we all have enough going on these days'.

Grandmabatty Sat 08-May-21 13:32:47

I think you are overthinking things. My closest friend and I dont do Christmas gifts to each other, nor does my next closest friends. None of us need or want stuff. But we are very close and fond of each other.

keepingquiet Sat 08-May-21 13:34:41

Friendships are organic and ebb and flow over time depending on what else we have going on in our lives. Giving gifts is part of showing someone you value them.
I also give birthday gifts to my friends, but sometimes it can be months after their actual birthdays!
If any of my friends said they no longer wanted to buy gifts I would certainly ask why and not just leave it hanging. Maybe there is more going on?
If she's manipulating and twisting things then how much do you really want to be friends with her?
Sometimes they just dwindle away- maybe you just have to let go however sad you feel, otherwise be more of a friend and ask what's going on.

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 08-May-21 13:39:07

Don’t overthink it, I have one neighbour who gets me a Christmas present that goes straight to the charity shop, I feel bad about it, but she just gets me weird stuff, so we just exchange a card now that she has moved to another village.

She still wants to be your friend, so don’t worry, if she is up front enough to tell you about the gifts I’m sure she would say if something else was going on.

Don’t be confrontational about this.

MerylStreep Sat 08-May-21 13:42:20

Oh dear. She was giving a very broad hint that she didn’t want to exchange pressies any more but you didn’t pick up on that.
Personally I can’t be arsed anymore as we ( friends) have everything we want and if there’s anything we want we buy it.😄
Having said that I did buy my closest friend a birthday pressie last month because she had been going through a rough time.
I did tell her this wasn’t going to be a habit ( in a joking way 😄)

Kim19 Sat 08-May-21 13:46:42

I remember hearing in a film once 'we will be such good friends we won't even have to exchange birthday gifts'. This resonated with me and, in my opinion, equates to true friendship with no needs or pressures. Finding really appropriate gifts can be difficult but giving the same 'symbol' every year is naff. Why not treat each other to lunch or afternoon tea? That way you will at least meet up in a leisurely way. That would be my way. Any excuse to see her. I think you're reading too much into the situation but, since you are friends, can't you discuss it?

Sara1954 Sat 08-May-21 13:50:59

Exactly what Galaxy said.
I think you’re overthinking this, just let it go.

cornishpatsy Sat 08-May-21 13:52:05

I cannot be bothered anymore with the exchange of gifts nobody wants or needs.

Gift-giving should be about the recipient but often It is the giver that makes a big deal of liking to give gifts.

I think you are making too much of this. It is simply that she does not want to swap bottles just for the sake of it.

AiryFlyingFairy Sat 08-May-21 14:19:33

She is the one who suggested the bottles after I didn't take the initial hint. I would have kept doing our usual gifts which was usually a gift voucher/booze or money gift so she would make use of.
I do feel the bottles are 'just for the sake of it' now so I no longer feel comfortable to do this.
Thanks for your replies smile

Judy54 Sat 08-May-21 14:25:03

I agree with the views here AiryFlyingFairy no longer exchanging gifts does not mean that you can no longer be friends and enjoy each other's company.

Newatthis Sat 08-May-21 14:29:04

Maybe she cannot afford to do this anymore. A 'handful' of close friends can be £100 per year at £20 each. Even a bottle of wine x 5 could be too much. Bring it up with her and ask her if she wants to stop but don't get upset about it - good friends can be hard to find.

wildswan16 Sat 08-May-21 14:36:32

She was giving you a massive hint the first time she mentioned it. Why go to all the bother of buying your friend a birthday present every year (and vice versa) - that is not needed and probably not something they particularly want.

I would just say to her that "yes, you realise it is a bit silly keeping on with these gifts and why don't we just go out for a nice coffee and cake instead". She will probably be very relieved.

Some people really worry and stress about finding a gift for other people. It says nothing about your friendship together.

Mapleleaf Sat 08-May-21 16:25:20

Do you really want a gift from your friend - i.e., would you be upset if the gift giving stopped? If so, why?
I get the feeling that your friend is trying to say, although indirectly and probably directly would be better but she doesn't want to upset you, that she would like the gift giving to cease and you are not taking the hint. This does not mean that she wants to distance herself, as you suspect. There could very well be valid reasons why she needs to stop buying gifts for friends, reasons you don't know and she doesn't wish to divulge, or it might simply be that she no longer wants to do it, after all, it's now reduced to you giving each other the same thing, (a bottle of booze), which is somewhat pointless, I think.

I have friends I think the world of, but we do not give birthday gifts regularly (only for significant birthdays), nor Christmas gifts. I value my friends for who they are, not for gifts they might give me. I think your friend wants to stop the gift buying and receiving, but this does not necessarily mean she wants the friendship to cease - you go back a long time, therefore ask her outright if that is what she would prefer and accept what she says. Why do you think she is manipulating you? If you think this, then what kind of friendship do you have - maybe it's time to ease off? I don't know - only you do and only you can decide what is important.

Forsythia Sat 08-May-21 17:26:35

I have friends where we always bought cards and presents. In recent years we all agreed to stop the presents simply because we all buy what we need. We still send a card. If it’s a special birthday like a 70th for example, I will send a floral gift. Otherwise we don’t do it anymore. Nor at Christmas either. One of the friends told me that another friend of hers gave her things that she gave to a charity shop. This decided me, we don’t need all these things. Others just recycle unwanted gifts they’ve received, passing them onto others. It all gets very silly and in our group we have just stopped it completely.

geekesse Sat 08-May-21 17:26:45

I don’t think adults need to exchange birthday gifts. It doesn’t mean I don’t have close friendships, it’s just a bit pointless.

beautybumble Sat 08-May-21 17:40:16

I give a gift every year to my 2 neighbours when its their birthday and they give me a plant on mine. I spend what I want to and they do quite well out of it, that's fine, its my choice. I also used to give them lovely Christmas gifts for 20 years and never received one back. That's fine too, it was their choice and I don't mind. I'm not very well off and decided to stop the Christmas gifts, no problem there. In the end it's up to the individual what they want to do. I like plain speaking, so I would have said ' do you want to stop '? Simples !!!

Mapleleaf Sat 08-May-21 22:45:00

Anyway, AiryFF/FHB I hope you sort out your problem with your friend to both your satisfactions.

FindingNemo15 Sat 08-May-21 22:57:47

I would be happy if a friend suggested stopping pressies, not that I buy many for friends. It is not the financial side of it, but thinking of something to buy especially now we are all older and probably have everything. Something less to think or stress about.

welbeck Sun 09-May-21 01:00:50

you don't sound very sensitive to your friend.
she obviously wanted to stop the gift-giving, but you made it difficult for her by saying you wanted to continue it.
that is a surprising response. why do you want gifts.
and then you say she is manipulating you.
it sounds like you don't want to be friends with her, so maybe best to just let it fizzle out.

Calendargirl Sun 09-May-21 08:05:38


I don’t think adults need to exchange birthday gifts. It doesn’t mean I don’t have close friendships, it’s just a bit pointless.


We’re not 5 year olds going to birthday parties any more.

Oldbutstilluseful Sun 09-May-21 08:15:38

Your friend isn’t manipulating you, she just feels it’s time to stop a pointless exchange. My closest friend and I no longer give presents but we do have lunch somewhere different to mark the occasion and pay our own way. It’s what adults do.