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What to do if someone asks for a gift back?

What to do if someone asks for a gift back?

When we give each other gifts, it’s usually with the best of intentions. We want to make the recipient happy and show them how much we care about them by giving them something nice. 

However, if things get sour, it’s not unheard of for people to ask for a gift back. It’s rude and it’s definitely not good etiquette, but when people are angry or hurt, they may want to find ways to make you feel the same. 

Someone taking their gift back can be awkward and embarrassing. It can also be hurtful and sad. If you find yourself in that situation and you don’t know what to do, today we will explore your options. 

When does someone ask for a gift back, usually?

The topic of asking for gifts back is very interesting because, though it’s bad etiquette, it can be acceptable in certain situations. For example, if you break up with the person you were dating, they may ask you to give everything back, including the gifts they’ve given you. 

If you ask us, this is petty behavior and you should definitely rise above it. When someone asks you for a gift back, there’s usually never any good reason behind it. Why do they think it’s necessary? What to do when someone asks for a gift back? What do they gain from it? Let’s explore the topic a little further!

What to do when someone asks for a gift back:

When someone asks for a gift back, you have a couple of options to consider, such as:

1- Assess Your Feelings:

When someone asks for a gift back, it can be humiliating. Not only that, it can be hurtful because they’re effectively tarnishing a nice memory. When they gave you that gift, it meant something and perhaps you looked back on that moment fondly. 

Now they’re asking you to give it back and it can make you feel awful. Some people even feel broken when this happens because it means that person has no regard for their feelings anymore. Things have officially ended between you and the closer you were to that person, the more it hurts. 

The gifts we give each other create bonds and it can be difficult to deal with the fact that those bonds are now broken. So, take a moment to assess your feelings and process them. You may also feel a little angry and like you don’t deserve this kind of treatment. 

You certainly wouldn’t do that to them. However, it’s important to get a hold of yourself and respect people’s decisions. At the end of the day, if they’re being mean-spirited, they are the ones in the wrong. You shouldn’t consider hurting them back; there are healthier ways of coping with the end of your relationship.

2- Consider Not Giving It Back:

It’s important to consider your options because you can refuse to give the gift back if you want to. They cannot sue you or try to embarrass you for it. The gift is now yours and in your ownership.

It also depends on the kind of gift they gave you and if it has meaning to you beyond the relationship you shared with that person. For example, the city where you lived became a warzone and in the middle of it all, what you have decided to carry and take out with you was that gift alone. So, let’s say you have left all your belongings behind but that was the only thing you took with you, thinking that it came for a person that mattered so much at the time.

Obviously, this is an extreme example or scenario, but in a similar situation even when the person stops mattering to you, you can choose to keep that gift as it has now more emotional value to you rather than just being something you got from someone. You can keep it without offering any explanation, in this case.

When someone gives you a gift, they don’t really have a right over that gift anymore. They’ve put the item at your disposal, it’s yours the moment it was given to you. So, you have a right to refuse to give it back. Not out of stubbornness or because you’re looking for trouble, but simply because you don’t have to give it back.

Legally, you became the owner of the item when it was given to you, so no one can force you to return it. 

Cases in which you must return a gift:

Now, if the item they gave you is important to them because it has special meaning or value, like a piece of family jewelry or a childhood teddy, you should consider giving it back.

The last thing you want to be is hurtful. If you get the chance to be a better person, take it. If someone gave you their deceased grandma gift out of love and thinking you’d be their lifelong partner then you should consider giving it back the moment you break up.

Obviously, you didn’t turn out to be their spouse and mother of their kids in this case, so that item is not yours to keep. It must have so much emotional value and was only given to you with the assumption that it belonged to the woman who will be that man’s life partner.

Maybe that ring or gift was promised to his wife, from when he was a child or from before he was even born, so why be evil and keep it when you’re clearly not the person it was intended for?

Regardless of how bitter you are and how ugly things got, you have to return items of emotional value or that were inherited by a man that gave them to you in a moment of pure love, care, and sincere devotion.


If someone asks you to give a gift back, the emotions can be difficult to deal with. However, you need to consider the facts. Why are they asking for the gift back? Is it because it means something to them or is it because they’re trying to hurt you? If the answer is the latter, you can refuse to give it back. 

However, if there’s a good reason for it, you should give the gift back and let go. At the end of the day, if a relationship is over, you don’t want to be reminded of that person, if you can avoid it. Check out our article on how to forgive and move on, if you find it hard to let go of a grudge.

This is why when relationships end, people give each other their stuff back. It’s painful to mourn a relationship as it is, so keeping reminders can add insult to injury. Seeing things around the house that remind you of them and the moments you shared will make things even more painful. It could be good for you to give their gift back, and that’s all that matters!

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