How to Handle Receiving a Gift you Don’t Like

personal shopper York Region

How do you handle receiving a gift you don’t like? The word “gift” has an anticipation and excitement to it although receiving one can sometimes leave you wondering “what were they thinking”? Do you ever wonder what their thought process was when they chose the gift? Perhaps:

They put too much thought into it

  • *Most bad gifts givers tend to make misguided inferences based on the recipient’s behaviour
  • *Assumptions are that gift-givers should be able to anticipate what the receiver wants

They let their creativity get in the way

  • Some gifts-givers are motivated by creativity and want to get something different

They hope to impress you

  • Some gift-givers get caught up in how attractive a gift is or the cost
  • They focus on the perceived desirability and neglect to consider practicality of whether the recipient would actually use it or not

So how do you handle the situation?  Most of us have been taught to be grateful to receive a gift. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right? The best policy is to avoid confrontation, react politely and thank them for their gift. Some people are just challenged at gift giving. Appreciate the thought. We’ve all received gifts that we didn’t like. However, despite not liking the gift, your reaction should not appear like you just got punched in the stomach.

Tips on Gift Giving

  1. The best approach is to just outright ask them what they would like, or what they need.  Some people find it hard to admit/ask for what they really want so encourage them to be honest.
  2. Always include the gift receipt so they can return or exchange the item if they need to.

If you are one of those people who are challenged at gift giving simply because of time constraints, consider getting some help!

What gift have you received that made you wonder “What were they thinking”?  I’d love your feedback. You can leave a comment right here on the site, click the contact button at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website or reach me by phone or email. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter too!

Until next time,


*(Research by Travis Carter, Psychologist at Colby College)

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