A very good friend bought me a very bad wedding present. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I didn’t want it — so I returned it to the store on the down low. The registry manager there assured me that the refund would be sent directly to me and that my friend would not know I returned the gift. Two weeks later and I call to find out where my refund is … and guess who they sent it to?! I have no idea what to say if my friend asks. Especially since in my “Thank You” note I told her how much I loved it! Kate, I’m in a pickle! What do I do?
Bride, Caught Red-Handed
Dear Caught-Red-Handed Bride,
The most embarrassing of all gifting situations has come down upon you. I do not envy you sister! This is a toughie, as you don’t want to offend your friend for life, but you also want to make the most of your wedding presents, I’m sure.
I think you have two options.
Option one: Lie. Lie through your pretty, whitened, just-married teeth. Tell white lies like you were getting paid, and do it like they are the last good lies you’ll ever tell. Play extremely dumb. “What? You got a refund?! That is SO WEIRD!!” Tell your friend that you love the gift and you are so thankful for her thoughtfulness and then when she comes to visit, tell her it was lost in a very strange, sudden, and unexpected localized fire that claimed only a few items in one area (none of which she would have seen before)!! Oh, what a sad day that was. A few tears wouldn’t hurt either. Lay it on – but not too thick. Wouldn’t want her getting suspicious, after all.
Or you can go with option two: Tell her the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the … well okay, maybe fudge the part that you hated the gift and soften the blow by saying you “already had one”, or “there just wasn’t a place to put it.” But still, tell her the truth about returning it. If she brings it up. And hey, you never know, maybe she won’t, and you can both pretend that this never happened — but if she does, just be honest. If she’s a true friend (and I’ll bet she is) she will understand that you only sent a thank you because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and that you didn’t tell her because you didn’t want her to feel like her present wasn’t actually a great choice for you. Put it on you. Tell her you’re extremely picky about gifts and that it’s very hard to buy things for you. That her gift was so great, but you just really didn’t have a use for it and would rather have something you could use and think of her when you did, then something that would sit and collect dust, on some shelf in the corner. Unless of course it’s an actual shelf that she gave you. I digress…
This is a very sticky situation and I think, either way, there could be some awkwardness between you two — but I don’t think it will be lasting. Good friendships never end over things like this. Plus, knowing most women, she’ll be so upset that she didn’t buy what you wanted for your special day, that she’ll be feeling just as guilty as you do!
In the end, treat her feelings as if she only wanted the best for you and not like she did anything wrong, and I think you’ll both be fine.
Gift giving is tough, unless you’re Santa Claus – and even he gets it wrong sometimes!
And congrats on getting married!
Dear Kate is a column that runs on Kate-book.com every Thursday at noon. It is written by the wise Katharine Luckinbill, who you should follow on Twitter. Got a life, friendship, family, dating, or relationship question that you’d like Dear Kate to answer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help you out.