HOW DO I HANDLE MY FRIEND THAT DOESN’T GIVE ME GIFTS AS NICE AS I GIVE HER?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I have one friend whom I have always treated extremely well. I always give her really expensive gifts to—Gucci purses, designer scarves, hand-blown vases, antiques, and the best organic truffles, monthly gelato subscriptions, or other delectables. She, on the other hand, gives me brownies she made and one time gave me a waffle iron that I believe she re-gifted. I feel like I spend much more than she does and am getting tired of it. Should I talk to her about this? Or drop her as a friend? Or take her off my gift list?

—Fed Up (United States)

DEAR FED UP:

First of all, keep in mind that gift giving is not necessarily a quid pro quo exchange. Give your gifts out of love or, at the very least, as a token of gratitude and appreciation. If you can’t give the gifts without expectations of financially equitable reciprocation, don’t give them. Or give less expensive gifts so you do not feel resentful.

How is your friend’s financial situation? Perhaps she simply doesn’t have the money to buy you gifts that are as expensive as the gifts you give her. Does she bake you brownies because you like chocolate? Does she try to make your life better in other ways than the gifts she gives you? For example, does she always offer an ear to hear your concerns or your good news? Does she try to do things for you to bring a smile to your face or your days just a little easier?

If so, consider the value of those things she does that adds to your life rather than running a tally of how much she is spending on you. Good friends are worth more than all the gold in the world.

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