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by Abigail Van Buren

Gift Horse Is Offended When Friend Asks For Cash

DEAR ABBY: 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 GIFT GIVER: A thoughtful gift giver selects things the recipient can use and enjoy. A grateful recipient doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth and say she'd prefer the cash.

However, the woman who convinced you not to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of designer shoes she might not be able to return was, I think, doing both of you a favor. While it's your prerogative to give whatever you want to whomever you want, don't you think it makes more sense to bestow something the person can use and enjoy than to satisfy your ego?

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors