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by Abigail Van Buren

Hostess With Mostess Doesn't Want Any More Gifts

DEAR ABBY: Call me ungrateful, but I am very uncomfortable receiving gifts. How can I get longtime friends to stop bringing hostess gifts when I invite them over? I don't need anything, and I resent feeling I am obligated to take something to them, too.

Why do women do this and men not feel so compelled? I have tried remarking, "The present of your 'presence' is present enough," but it continues. I need your help. -- UNGRACIOUS IN FLORIDA

DEAR UNGRACIOUS: Women usually bring hostess gifts because they were raised to believe it is the gracious thing to do. ("Don't come empty-handed.") Since "remarking" hasn't gotten your message across, you will have to be more direct with your friends. TELL them that when they visit, you would prefer they bring only themselves and nothing more. Then explain that you are at a point where you have enough "things" and do not need or want any more.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics