Well, Christmas has come and gone, thank god, and I’d like to know what you think of regifting. I have a large family, meaning lots of presents to buy for nieces, nephews, sister, brother, cousins, and at the end of a long pre-Christmas shopping season, I tend to run out of both ideas and money. So, this year, having received beaucoup de chocolates, bottles of wine, cookies, nuts and useless or uninteresting items like fancy nail clippers or a sewing kit or kitchen towels at various parties, I decided to regift. Imagine my shock when I gave my sister the kitchen towels and she looked me right in the eye and said, “Sis, those are the towels I gave you at the party last week. I guess you weren’t paying attention.” Well, no I wasn’t, but I lied and pretended the towels I’d given her were an exact replica of the ones she’d given me, instead of a brazen regift. And that didn’t help because she got all huffy and accused me of lying and not only wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the day but hasn’t talked to me in the week since. She’s also managed to turn the whole family against me. What do I do? By now it’s too late to admit my lie over the regifting thing.
I think regifting serves a purpose if you don’t want to return or exchange the item at the store where it was bought, and you know someone who could absolutely use the gift. It is a bit questionable in a moral sense, however, since: a) you didn’t actually purchase the gift, and b) you’re pretending you did. Not something I’d do unless the gift was small… like tea towels, but I’d probably fess up and say I personally couldn’t use the towels, so I was passing them along to the next person. It all boils down to this: if you’re likely to get caught, don’t do it or be prepared with a good excuse. In your case, to get back into the good graces of your family, I’d tell the truth about your regifting situation and beg for sympathy and understanding. I’d also buy your sister a decent gift.
REACTIONS TO YOGA LADY
I really feel for you. I had to tell my boyfriend I wouldn’t kiss him because he had bad breath and even though he started brushing his teeth more regularly, he kind of wouldn’t talk to me for a few weeks and I thought it might be the end of our relationship. Actually, he was so insulted that we had a really bad fight about it before things straightened out. I’m not sure I’ll be so frank with someone again. Hope it goes better for you.
Greta J., Tucson, AZ
I’m not sure you can tell someone they smell bad without irreversibly hurting their feelings. Is it worth it? I’m not sure and frankly I’d rather have the student drop out of the class than confront her over personal body issues. My wife doesn’t smell good when she gets her period every month and she’d blow up and threaten to leave me if I said anything. Sometimes you need to know when to leave stuff alone.
Herman A., Milwaukee, WI
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.