DEAR HARRIETTE: I gave my favorite high-school teacher a scarf as a thank-you for being so supportive. I really wanted to get him a great gift, because he helped me in so many ways during those four years. He acted as if he liked it a lot, and he's a real fashion guy, so it made me feel happy that I had done a good job of picking it out.
The other day I had to go back to school to pick up something, and I noticed that another guy who works at the school was wearing the scarf I had given my teacher. I know it's the same one, because it was unique.
My feelings are really hurt. Obviously, my teacher didn't like the present. Should I say something? Should I give him something else? -- Sad Ex-Student, New Haven, Conn.
DEAR SAD EX-STUDENT: When you give a present to someone, it is supposed to be given freely. Of course, you hope the recipient will appreciate it and want to cherish it.
Interestingly, cherishing can take lots of different forms. Your teacher may have loved the gift but not needed another scarf. He may have great respect for the person to whom he gave the scarf, and he may have thought, "Perfect. He will really enjoy this." Sometimes sharing gifts makes them that much more special.
I totally see how that could be hard for you to understand since your feelings are hurt. But I doubt seriously that your teacher meant to reject your gift or hurt your feelings in any way. He may be one of those people who shares the wealth with all good intentions.
Don't say anything. If you want to stay in touch with your teacher, by all means, do so. He may remain a valuable connection for you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was given a Nook for my birthday, which was a few months ago. I was lukewarm about it because I already had an iPad, but I said thanks anyway.
Now I want to use it, plus, the person who gave it to me has been asking me where it is. I can't find it anywhere. I have no idea where it is.
I don't want to buy another one to replace it and save face. That's wasting money. What should I do? -- Lost My Nook, Salt Lake City
DEAR LOST MY NOOK: Clearly, you did not place great value on this gift, which is unfortunate.
I suggest that you look carefully in your home and retrace your steps. Though it was a few months ago, you are likely a creature of habit. Figure out how you usually spend your time and where you put things when you stow them. Make this a focused effort.
If you cannot find the Nook, tell the person who gave it to you -- when asked -- that you unfortunately have misplaced it.