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Posted by: a bad friend ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:39PM

I have a life-long TBM friend, who is controlling and abusive. She is also very wealthy (inherited), and a cheapskate. Her family is related to Thomas Monson, and they are arrogant about that. I have known her since birth (our TBM mothers were best friends in college), and she has been my friend off and on, depending on where we lived. We have always kept in touch with letters and Christmas and birthday cards. For the last 15 years, she has insisted on exchanging gifts with me. I won't go into detail, but she is the worst gift-receiver ever, and she criticizes every gift I give her. Her husband is abusive, and I'm afraid of him, and I have never wanted my kids to be around her kids (they have violent tempers, and guns), so I have tried to keep my distance.

Last year, I gave her a gift card to her favorite store, which had a good selection when I bought the card. She called me 6 months later, and she screamed and swore at me that there wasn't anything in the *#@!! store she wanted, and that the #@*!! store manager wouldn't give her cash for the card. She had called several of our TBM friends, trying to sell them the gift card I gave her, and complaining in great detail about her run-in with the store manager about the store's policies, bla-bla. I was having a busy morning, so to shut her up, I offered to buy the gift card from her, and mail a check to her in Draper. She went off again about sending cards in the mail, bla-bla. Finally, I told her I would drive to Draper after work, and give her the cash, and take the card off her hands, which I did.

This woman likes to display her gifts on a large table in her front hall, and brag about how many friends and admirers she has. I suspect that is why she insists on getting gifts. (She already has 10 of everything.) Her husband gives her only cash, and her children "neglect" her at Christmas. I have felt sorry for her, but at this point, I'm done. Trying to find a gift to please her is impossible, and ruins my fun at Christmas, so I want to take care of this now. I have tried taking her to lunch instead, but she insisted on the gifts anyway.

How can you get out of a gift-giving situation gracefully, without offending someone you feel sorry for?

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Posted by: gentlestrength ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:43PM

I know it's not responsive, but I truly can't relate to you at all.

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Posted by: frankiepup ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:51PM

+1

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Posted by: shadowspade ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:43PM

Just a quick thought, if you don't like them why get out of it gracefully at all?

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:44PM

"I'm sorry but I'm not going to be able to exchange gifts with you this year."

When she asks why:

"I'm sorry, but I'm not going to be able to, let's change the subject."

When she asks why:

"What do you think of [pick a subject]?"

That is usually enough but if she persists to a fourth follow up explain calmly that she is being rude and that you need to end the conversation for now unless she can change the subject.

Any reason you give may be considered rude or offensive - just state that you aren't going to do it anymore.

--------------------

With that said I can't for the life of me figure out why she remains your friend and why you continue to subject yourself to her.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2012 01:45PM by bc.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:44PM

I don't see why you feel sorry for her. She sounds like a creep. I'd just simply stop sending anything, especially since she hates what you get for her.

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Posted by: Outcast ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:45PM

Seriously? Are you a doormat all the time?

Anyone who gripes about a present...any present whatsoever, doesn't deserve to ever receive a present again. Unless the person is under the age of 6.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:46PM

Unless, of course, you get Proactiv, Binaca, or a membership to Weight Watchers as a gift... I think those are gripe worthy presents.

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Posted by: quebec ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:45PM

I'm sorry but she doesn't seem like a friend.
I know you feel sorry for her (I imagine because of her abusive husband) but I would completely stop communication with her.

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Posted by: dogzilla ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:46PM

Not only would I not even ask myself that, I wouldn't even be struggling to remain friends with someone who treated me with utter contempt. Hell, I can't even be bothered to send off a christmas card to someone who hasn't reciprocated in a few years.

I would A) Lop that person off my gift list, B) Stop returning calls and messages and C) Cut that bitch out of your life. That's not a friend. There's nothing in there that shows this person values your friendship or values you for who you are.

Note: She is probably reacting to being in an abusive relationship by, in turn, abusing everyone else around her. Demanding show-offy gifts and bitching about gifts she doesn't like is probably just one of the many ways in which she attempts to seize some degree of control over her choices.

You can't help her. You can't save her. And while she's very deserving of it, she doesn't want your pity. Write her off and spend your time and money on people who value you and cherish you for the awesome person you are.

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Posted by: Ragnar ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:48PM

She's offended when you DO give her a gift, so I don't think you're going avoid offending her no matter what you do.

One option: Tell her (since she already has everything) that you've given a contribution in her name to (write charity name here). It could be the Cancer Society, the Red Cross, the Humane Society, or anything. Then give her the acknowledgement card that you received from the charity.

This almost worked for George Castanza in a Seinfeld episode...

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Posted by: frankiepup ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:49PM

This is pretty simple. You are not legally, morally, or in any other way obligated to get this woman a gift of any kind at any time. I personally am amazed that you actually gave her money for the gift card; I'd have told her she was the rudest thing I'd ever seen and she could either use the gift card, give it away, or bake it in a pie for all I cared.

She called you up, was insanely unreasonable, and abused you verbally about something nice that you did for her. Whereas pretty much anyone else would have slammed the phone down and never spoken to the bitch again, you did exactly what she wanted you to do. And now you are thinking about giving her ANOTHER present? Are you made of money?

Tell her you aren't exchanging gifts with her this year, period. Don't argue. Just tell her and hang up. If she persists in calling and harrassing you for a present, have her prosecuted for extortion. End of problem.

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Posted by: grubbygert ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:50PM

and you think that you're the one that's the 'bad' friend...

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Posted by: jacob ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:54PM

I think you would find it quite therapeutic to tell her to crawl into a corner and die.

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 01:59PM


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Posted by: citizen not logged in ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:00PM

Why are you "friends" with this woman at all?

She is abusive, as you have suggested, and not YOUR friend in any sense of the word.

Tell her politely but firmly that you can no longer be friends with someone such as herself.

I know that confrontation is difficult (I've had to learn this skill myself and am still learning)--but protect yourself and your family! Don't make it dramatic. Just do it. And don't look back.

She's a bitch :)

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Posted by: bookratt ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:03PM

in re: your name. Not a bad friend, in my opinion. A taken advantage of friend, for sure.

No way in flipping H would I have ever driven to her house to pick up a gift card, which I gave her 6 months ago, that she chose not to use, then blamed me for that store not having what she wanted when she went there.

No way would I have ever offered her the money for that card at amy time (unless she tried it at the store it did not work or was not accepted for some reason and/or and I felt like it), whether or not she mailed it to me at my home or dropped it off to me herself, or not.


Simply do this:

Call and tell her that this year, you will take her to lunch or exchange a plate of cookies or bread or whatever, in lieu of doing a gift exchange. That you have decided giving gifts is not part of our holiday plans with her this year. If she says yes, thank you, when are you free for lunch? Fine.

If she says no, gets hysterical, or criticizes you or your very nice offer, stay calm and simply say, "Well, then, X, I wish you and your family a very happy holiday. Maybe we can meet up for lunch, later in the New Year. Love to (X's hubby and kids' names), from me. Take care!"

Then hang up, and send her only a christmas card this year, with nothing in it but your signature.

She'll get the message.

If she does not and gives you a gift anyway, accept it gratefully, say "Thank You" as sincerely as you can, look her in the eye and say "Happy Holidays" and change the subject immediately to something else. Don't apologize for not having a gift in return, or lie and say you forgot it at home, etc. Do not explain. At all. Ask her where she plans to go for the holidays, what her children are doing, what she plans on baking or eating, or which new cookies she'll make.

If she refuses to play along and grills you on your decision, or plays hurt that she gave you a gift and you gave her none, tell her lunch is on you now or the next time you meet, and simply say, "I've decided to stop the gift exchanges. I'm trying to be polite about it, but I need you to understand that I will not be participating any more".

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Posted by: justcallmestupid ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:03PM

This person sounds so toxic you might even want to consider cutting off all contact.

As for stopping the gift-swapping, I've tried (successfully) various tactics, though none are graceful (the only graceful way out would be to just say you want to stop it but that doesn't appear to be a possibility):

- receive her gift with a brief acknowledgment but don't give a return gift
- send back her gift for you (last resort - but certainly gets the message across)

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Posted by: a bad friend ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:04PM

Yeah, I do feel like the bad one. Yeah, I am a doormat almost all the time. I made a very good Mormon! I took the Mormon's abuse for my whole life. When the leaders started mistreating my children, I finally grew a spine, and took all of us out of the cult.

Thank you for your perspective, all of you. I need to think about this. I seriously don't have the guts to confront her, in any way, and I was looking for help from RFM. This will be difficult for me, but it is part of acting like a grownup.

I should have left the friendship when her son pulled a loaded gun on his father, in front of me. Mormon Royalty Family--give me a break.

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:09PM

I can empathize.

I have told toxic people to kick rocks more than once. This board is familiar with my adventures with sociopaths and a stalker.

Lemme just tell you, she will probably NEVER be a good friend to you and it's better to tell her to kick rocks and have no contact with her ever again. It doesn't matter if she calls you begging and pleading for a second chance. She will just want another chance to abuse someone and make him or her feel as shitty as she does.

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Posted by: Outcast ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:18PM

Your situation is familiar to me because of my narcissistic father who had a narcissistic mother. The dynamics of the relationship can be horrible.

I suggest you read up on narcissistic people and that will help you figure out what to do. But don't let people walk over you, you weren't put on this planet to be a doormat.

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Posted by: spaghetti oh ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:06PM

You could always just give a really awful gift... I mean, if she's going to b!tch anyways, might be a good way to offload some crap you don't want!

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Posted by: bezoar ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:07PM

She's not a friend - she's using you!!! She's in an abusive relationship, and she's bullying you into providing the validation she's not getting from her husband.

If it would help, you could send me a high end pair of skis, boots, and bindings. In return I'll call you every time I go skiing this year to tell you what a thoughtless person I think you are. Expect my calls at least twice a week. Hopefully we'll get lots of snow this year so you can look forward to my calls extending into May or June.

Or you could just tell the manipulative bitch to go to hell. But I like my idea better ...

As the saying goes, "With friends like her, who needs enemas."

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Posted by: Boudica ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:08PM

no need to be graceful. Just don't send her a gift. Sounds like you would be better of ending the friendship entirely. Toxic people like here aren't worth the time/energy spent on them. I agree with Frankiepup. Stop playing her games. She will only continue to abuse you. Like with the church, sometimes you just have to walk away.

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Posted by: the outlander ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:08PM


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2012 02:09PM by theoutlander.

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Posted by: The StalkerDog™ ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:11PM

A nicely decorated paper bag, one-a them gift bags, including pretty ribbon, full of my 100% choice dog $#!†!!!

I am currently accepting orders.

For the overly polite, squeamish, or wussy shopper, I also provide charmingly packaged lumps of coal, fresh from mom & dad's basement. We gots a whole corner of a room-full of antique coal from back when the boiler was powered by coal.

If'n ya want some, youse can send to: StalkerDog-at-ay-oh-ell-dot-com.

I'm the StalkerDog, and I approved this message.

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Posted by: bookratt ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:13PM

Okay wait. The hell with what I said. I just went back and reread what you wrote, plus your follow ups.

DO NOT go near this woman. No lunch, no meeting. Phone her to tell her you will not participate in any gift exchanges, you decided that is not part of your holiday plans this year/

If she pushes, tell her that you simply don't want to continue thattradition, you are done, and that's all there is to it.

Then simply stop calling her, or responding to or taking her calls. Maybe send a christmas card, that's it.

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:20PM

+1 I wouldn't send a christmas card. Why leave the door open to the toxic terrible person.

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Posted by: Claire ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:14PM

Why do you consider such a person your friend????
Dump her.

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Posted by: wowbagger ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:19PM

Does she have a BOB?

Pretty much guarantee THAT would be therapeutic to give, and she would probably not contact you anymore.

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Posted by: flyboy21 ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:40PM

I was going to say the answer is three part, and you'll kill two birds with one stone.

1-buy her a dildo. Preferably something large.
2-write her a note saying, "there, now you can go f*** yourself!"
3-mail to her.

PRESTO! No more gift exchange, and no more doormat!

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Posted by: WinksWinks ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 03:05PM

Like!

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Posted by: motherwhoknows ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:25PM

There is some great advice on this thread! I'm going to use some of it!

A Bad Friend, I think you are bothered by more than the gift-giving. You probably need to decide whether to end this toxic friendship, or not. You were wise to set boundaries with her, regarding your children, and the guns, and the abusive husband. So, you are capable of being assertive! Right?

If the welfare of your children is what motivates you, then think of how they suffer when you are upset or angry. They should not witness you being bullied by this frenemy, and see her get away with treating you like that. I think this would be a good teaching example for your children. You would not want them to have abusive friends, or an abusive marriage, would you? They will be proud of you for standing up for yourself!

Whatever you decide to do, I would follow the poster's advice to not play games with this nasty friend. Make a clean break, and do not leave her hanging in the air, waiting for a gift, or expecting one next year. Breaking off your friendship would probably be easier than stopping the gift exchange. With the friendship over, she will no longer be able to bully you or manipulate you! Don't worry about her gossip with your friends--I have a feeling that they already know about her character. You do not need to explain or apologize to anyone why you broke off with this witch.

Another alternative is for you to say you are "taking a break" from your friendship for a while. I hear that dating couples sometimes do that.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:27PM

I recommend you go read Dear Prudence on slate.com come. Go back and read a lot of her past advice as well - one thing she explains very, very well is how to stand up assertively and graciously in these kind of situations.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:51PM

Get this woman out of your life.

Guns? Tempers? Abuse? You are afraid for your children? You only give her a gift because SHE insists on it? She displays her loot for everyone to see?

This is not a friend. This is a nightmare.

If she is not your friend anymore then there will be no need to exchange gifts.

Bulletin: This woman doesn't like you, she doesn't care about you. You are part of her gift giving team which she desperately needs for her sick ego.

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Posted by: adoylelb ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:52PM

I also think it would be best to cut her out of your life, and not return any calls or send e-mails straight to the spam folder. I've had to cut a toxic friend from my life, and this was someone who had been a childhood friend as our moms were friends. My life has been less stressful since I cut that person out of my life.

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Posted by: imaworkinonit ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 02:55PM

She is clearly used to calling the shots and has NO manners or consideration for your feelings.

Personally, I would be straight with her.

You: "I'm not going to be exchanging gifts with you this year"

Her: "why?"

You: "Because every year you complain about what I get you, and that takes all the fun out of it."

I don't know why you'd want to hang out with her, either.

Do you enjoy ANY of your interactions with her? If not . . . I'd bail on the relationship. Nobody DESERVES to have friends just because they have a hard life. People earn friendship only by being a friend.

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Posted by: WinksWinks ( )
Date: November 07, 2012 03:08PM

I like the BOB "now go fuck yourself" best, but if you want to break your addiction to this butter at some time that ISN'T the holidays, how about telling her you are donating to charities in the name of all your giftees this year. I wouldn't even let her pick, you wouldn't like her choice, guaranteed. Just say animal shelters or starving children funds or something.

You don't have to follow through for her or anyone else, but it explains the lack of a physical gift this year.

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