Worried about regifting? Never fear, there are rules for this.
“My friend gave me this beautiful vase, but it has been in my cupboard for a year, and I know another friend would actual use it. Is it okay to regift.”
“I just received two different desk sets when I started a new job, and I can only use one. How do I use one and not hurt my other friend.”
Questions like these come up all of the time. While you may not have a beautiful gifted vase or two desk sets weighing you down, you may have faced a similar dilemma. The real issue is made more complicated by our competing wants. We want to not waste things AND we want to let people know we appreciate the gifts they give to us.
Knowing when and how to regift is more of an art than a science (or else, we would all just know what to do). Thankfully, there are rules that reduce the risk that your regifting will be either wasteful or hurtful. Follow these three rules and regift with confidence:
This may seem obvious, but it is the most common rule broken in regifting. Why might that be so? Because we usually give people things that we find valuable or pleasing in some way. So, your friend Mary, who loves purple, may give you a purple kitten scarf because SHE thinks it is snappy and fun and look fabulous on you. If you look at it a few months later, you may think, “hmmm, Mary would l-o-o-o-v-e that purple scarf, and I never wear it.” There are two ways to prevent this foible, one good, one less good. The first one we already wrote about - keep a log of what you get from everyone, and it is the best way to avoid regifting the gifter. The less good way is to work the gift item up into conversation and try to find out if they gave it to you. It is less good because it is hard to navigate this conversational mess and then turn around and give someone something. However, having an awkward conversation is still better than regifting to the gifter.
When you are regifting, do not try to pretend that you have recently made or purchased the gift. You may not be caught in your lie, but it gains you nothing and risks the trust of your relationship. If the item has a tag, you can leave it on or remove it, depending on your preferences and how you are packaging. Being honest does not mean being annoyingly honest - You don’t have to come right out and say, “I got this thing and really don’t like it.” Feel confident enough to own the regift if your giftee recognizes the item or asks you directly. People appreciate honesty more than stuff.
Regifting is no different than gifting in this regard. You want to be thoughtful when gifting. Stop and think about the whole person before giving a gift - a poorly timed, presented, or considered gift can be worse than no gift at all. Being thoughtful does not mean that you will always get it right - you are not a mind reader and people are fallible. It is okay.
Thoughtful regifting can feel like it was just for you to begin with!
Do you have a good regifting story? We’d love to hear it.
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