Last updated on June 3rd, 2016
“Why did she turn down my gift? Help!”
Did someone return your gift from you? To be honest, returned gifts are not that uncommon, so you are definitely not alone! It is normal to be a little bit hurt, but try not to take it too personal.
So, the burning question: Why did they turn down your gift? Here are some common ethical and social reasons why someone would turn down a gift:
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Because of Workplace Policy
This is probably the most common reason why someone would return your present. Most companies have a rule against receiving gifts, being an avenue for bribery. If a professional graciously refuses your gift, do not take it personally.
Are you a client who would love to express appreciation for good service? Are you an employee whose ass was just saved by a co-worker or a boss? Avoid personal gifts. You can express your gratitude by giving them food they can share with their workmates.
Because of Romantic Intentions They Cannot Return
Another common reason to return a present is if the gift was given with romantic intentions and the recipient feels that they cannot return the love back.
Got a bunch of flowers returned to you? Do not throw those in the trash. Go to your nearest nursing home and donate the lovely blooms. The elderly will appreciate lively flowers.
Because It Was Too Expensive for Them
This will probably not be a problem if the recipient is your spouse, child or parent. However, someone who is not your family will probably be uncomfortable receiving a gift that obviously has a large price tag. Common examples are furniture, gadgets, cars and *gasp* a house.
Because It Was Way Too Much More Than What Was Expected of You
This is the cousin of the reason before this. If you are just an acquaintance the recipient barely knows, you are not expected to give a gift albeit an expensive one.
For example, you just tagged along a birthday party of a person you barely even know. A sweet card will do. They will probably return that $300 coffee maker.
Because It Was Not a Good Match
We should always cater our gifts to the recipient. Always. That is the main rule of gift giving. You probably gifted something that the recipient does not see using in the future.
For example is a set of gardening tools given to someone who hates gardening and lives in a tight apartment. (Things like this is probably not the best reason why a person returns a present, but this happens. They can always regift it, right?)
Another example is giving a pork dish to a Jewish family. It is in their belief that they should only eat kosher food and pork is not kosher. They will return your pork roast even if it smells amazing to you.
They Really Want It. It Is Just In Their Culture to Refuse Gifts.
Many foreign cultures, like the Chinese and Japanese will refuse your gift around three times before accepting it because for them it implies greed if they agree to take the present immediately. If gifting to a different culture, be sure to check their traditions first. (We have a special section for gifting traditions around the world.)