DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have two relatives, a sister and an aunt, who are constantly asking for my things -- clothes, jewelry, household items, etc. It’s almost every time I see them. They don’t want to borrow; they want me to give it to them.
I bought a dress at an estate sale and my aunt immediately said she wanted it, even though it wasn’t her size. I had bought her a vintage jacket, but she wanted my dress, too. My sister does the same thing. She’ll visit my home and admire something I have, and continue to say things like, “I really wish I had that” until I just give it to her. It’s gotten to the point that I avoid being around them and I’m angry when I do see them. Neither of them seem to really care about the items after they get them.
So what can I say to break the cycle? I have said no, but they start again the next time I see them. I don’t want to be rude or say something mean to them, but it is grating on me.
GENTLE READER: It seems that you have been running a free shop. Almost as bizarre as your relatives’ grabbiness is your compliance. Have you not noticed that occasionally giving in by giving up your property is not an effective way to discourage them?
Miss Manners gathers that these are not subtle people on whom delicate hints would have any effect. She suggests a cheerful “No, sorry, its mine!” to be repeated whenever necessary.