Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Friend's Campaign for Birthday Gifts Backfires

DEAR ABBY: I have a good friend who has a frustratingly bad habit. Every year, she makes a point of mentioning her upcoming birthday at least a couple of times a week, starting about four months before the day. It is never mentioned the rest of the year.

If I want to buy someone a birthday gift, I make the effort to find out when their special day is and act accordingly. If I don't wish to provide a gift, then no amount of nagging will guilt me into it. I do not want to end the friendship because she is an otherwise nice person and a good friend, but I'm sick of the nagging. Any suggestions on how to tactfully but effectively deal with this? -- NAGGED IN FLORIDA

DEAR NAGGED: The next time your friend starts up, respond by saying, "You have already told me." When she does it for the third time say, "You know, this is getting old. It looks like you are soliciting a gift." Then tell her if she keeps it up, you won't buy her one. I'll bet it works!

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Holidays & Celebrations