No, really, you need to give this back
December 19, 2011 8:10 PM Subscribe
I just received an (imo) inappropriately expensive gift from someone (of the opposite gender) who I don't know very well. How do I handle this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (39 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We're both college students in the same program. I'm a girl, he's a guy. We never really talked during the term beyond the usual "hey how's it going / did you finish the homework / gosh that test was hard" type stuff. The day after the term ended, he sent me a few text messages, mostly just random conversation-making things, and then asked me if he could come by my place to drop off a Christmas card. I told him we could meet somewhere else in public instead. In person, I very gently asked why (paraphrasing) he was taking such an interest now, as opposed to during the school year, to which he replied that he wanted to try, but it was kind of difficult (which, I suppose, is sort of understandable -- I am a super-introvert who latches onto the nearest extrovert/chatty person I can find and lets them do all the talking.) In general, he came off as a bit awkward and really, really nervous (he's an international student, and his English isn't the greatest) -- he basically wished me a good holiday, gave me the card and a small wrapped gift, and left. So I got home, opened the card (generic "happy holidays" type message handwritten inside) and unwrapped the gift, which turned out to be.. a new iPhone. what?
I immediately texted him to tell him that, while it was very nice of him to give me a card, there was no way I could feel comfortable accepting something like that from him. I added that, after I gave the iPhone (what) back to him, I would be willing to exchange gifts that were a bit (a lot) smaller. Y'know, as friends. After a bit of back-and-forth, where he maintained that a) he did intend it as a gift between friends (though after a while he did admit that he didn't do this for all his friends) and b) he couldn't take it back, he agreed to discuss it again after the holidays, in the new year.
My question is, how can I get across to him that, no really, this gift makes me really uncomfortable (I have some personal issues w/r/t big gifts, mostly related to class issues and growing up poor-ish, but surely I'm not overreacting that much?) and also, somehow convey to him that, in general, this is not a good way to get girls to like him? After a few months of peripherally observing him in class, as well as these past couple days, I don't think there's anything creepy/sinister about him -- he just comes off as a bit shy and clueless. Tact would be preferred -- there is a good chance that I will continue to be working with him in school next term.
throwaway email: email@example.com