DEAR ABBY: How do I deal with a close female friend who has the need to bestow gifts on me often for no reason?
I am a married woman, 65 years old and retired. About two years ago, I met and became friends with the gift-giver. She is a widow about my age. I don't want to ruin our friendship by seeming ungrateful for her generosity, but when I object to the gifts, she appears hurt and withdrawn. Since I don't want to hurt her, I've made a concerted effort to stop my objections.
However, Abby, I need to know why I am resisting her gifts. Is it because they threaten my independence? Even if I could afford to, I wouldn't try to reciprocate her gift-giving to such an extravagant degree. What is it that I do not understand here? Your advice would be welcome. -- UNCOMFORTABLE IN ARIZONA
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: You may be uncomfortable about accepting your friend's gifts because they make you feel obligated, or locked into the friendship. Although your reaction is normal, it's important to be gracious about accepting gifts and favors. Since your friend derives pleasure from giving you gifts, try not to spoil her fun.