Going in on a gift with friends: awkwardness
May 16, 2018 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Two friends and I agreed to go in on a gift for another friend. They want to spend much less than I do. (Bonus question: do you have gift ideas?)

Two friends and I agreed to go in on a gift for another friend. The problem is, the inevitable "how much should we spend question?" came up. Friend A said $x which is about half to 3/4 what I was hoping we'd each chip in. Friend B said that worked for them too. I haven't responded yet. I do not want to contribute more than the others because I feel that will be too awkward.

Should I suck it up and go in on a gift that's not as nice as I was hoping? Tell them I've decided to get a gift on my own after all (without saying why)? Some other solution?

Bonus question: if I do decide to get my own gift, ideas? The friend likes travel, booze, spa days. She is about to move into a new place. However, anything I buy needs to travel with me on a plane.

posted by whitelily to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I had the money, and spending more didn’t bother me, I’d just take their contributions, supplement with however much of my own money I need, and get the present. I wouldn’t mention the total cost or that I spent more.

As for ideas, what is the gift for? Housewarming? Just-because? Friend was going through a tough time?
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:35 PM on May 16, 2018 [16 favorites]

A nice gift that comes from all of you is something you can all bond over purchasing, share in the giving of, discuss together with the recipient, talk about later after she's used/drank/visited/redeemed it, etc.

Or you can spend more money on your own. Personally I'd go with shared experiences with my friends over dollars spent.
posted by headnsouth at 2:37 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

If there is a particular gift you have in mind, it may be easier to encourage Friends A & B to spend a little more on said item.
posted by singinginmychains at 2:37 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Are you wanting to get her a specific thing? Or do you just want a 'nicer' gift? If the former, I'd maybe offer to cover the difference myself, if the latter I'd just... let it go, and use the budget you have. It truly is the thought that counts, the best gifts I have received are not the most expensive ones but the ones that show the giver knows me.

I agree that obviously contributing more money would be awkward, and trying to up their spend would be more so. I wish I had better advice because it's a sticky situation and people can get weird about both gifts and money.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:03 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Go in on the gift equally with your friends and have it be a lovely meaningful gift from all of you; this is not just about the material object.
Then also give your friend another little something privately, like a card with a massage gift certificate to a spa, or take her out for dinner.
posted by velveeta underground at 3:08 PM on May 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Buy your friend a nicer gift on a future occasion or treat them to dinner sometime? It might be weird to give an extra gift at the same time, depending on your friendship dynamics.

If you have something particular in mind, you could suggest it to the contributing friends, maybe also including an option that's closer to their stated budget.
posted by momus_window at 3:10 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a couple of friends with the means to make up the difference and aren't bothered by doing so, and their approach is usually "I was thinking this thing (link), would you be okay with me making up the difference?" or "I'd love to cover the difference if you're okay with that".

As long as you're okay with the recipient maybe assuming you chipped in less than you did and the others chipped in more, this solves everyone's problems.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:11 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the answers. To clear up a few things:

- we're not spending time thoughtfully picking something out as a group. It's going to be a gift certificate (and therefore the recipient will know how much we spent)

- I am not interested in contributing unevent amounts to a group gift.

posted by whitelily at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2018

Your choices are pretty much:

1) Agree to contribute the same amount your friends have already discussed
2) Suggest another amount and see if they'll bite. If that fails, go to 1 or 3
3) Buy your own gift - maybe a cocktail shaker, a coffee grinder and a bag of good beans if she loves coffee, some fun bath stuff?
posted by bunderful at 3:59 PM on May 16, 2018

Make up a basket with goodies (you cover the cost of the stuff exclusively) with the gift certificate you all contributed to prominently displayed. It presents the GC nicer and would maybe make you feel better?
posted by saucysault at 4:07 PM on May 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Just tell them - “hey, I was planning to spend $X. I don’t want to push you guys out of your budget though, so I think I’ll just send her something separately. I know she will appreciate receiving gifts from everyone though!”
posted by samthemander at 4:16 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’d just honor your agreement to go in with your friends, and don’t show them up by getting a separate additional present.

Part of agreeing to a group gift is defaulting to others’ budgets, and possibly not 100% loving the gift you give, which is fine because the gift is for the recipient and not you. I think it’d be kinda shitty to back out of the agreement now (especially since you know that’ll leave them with an even less-lavish gift than the one you already don’t think is lavish enough.)

Nothing’s stopping you from sending her the perfect thing in a few months just because, though.
posted by kapers at 4:59 PM on May 16, 2018 [16 favorites]

I think I'd just contribute the same as the others are planning to.

If I still felt like I wanted to give more, I'd get a small additional gift on my own and give it to her when the others aren't there. I'd try to find something unique and personal - that way the narrative is more like, "We already got your gift, but then I saw this and it reminded me so much of you that I just couldn't resist."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:16 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

If it's a gift certificate then why are you even giving it as a group gift? Group gifts usually work when a big ticket item is being purchased but in this instance she'll get exactly the same thing if you give her one gift certificate from three of you or three gift certificates from three of you. Maybe just buy your own gift certificate, since you don't want to contribute more than them? Say you were hoping to spend $X so it's cool if they don't want to but you'll just get your own gift certificate in that case.
posted by Polychrome at 5:48 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Compromise. You asked "how much?" and they replied, "$(50%-75%)", and you haven't gotten back to them. You can just reply, "Oh, I was thinking more in the $(85%-110%) range. Would you be willing to do (80-85%)?" Easy sell especially if the 3x total is a nice round number.
posted by aimedwander at 7:34 AM on May 17, 2018

Speaking as someone who's been in the cringeworthy position of being asked to contribute more for a gift than I could afford, I would take my friends at face value and assume that they proposed those amounts for a reason. I wouldn't want to put them in the position of having to justify or explain their personal financial decisions.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:05 AM on May 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

It's going to be a gift certificate

Just go ahead and chip in your 1/3.

Definitely don't ask people to give more money.

If you want to get her something nicer, after she has finished moving get her a gift certificate for a place in her new town you think she'd like or something.
posted by yohko at 1:24 PM on May 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

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