In the Media – Holidays: how to navigate awkward situations (Journal News)

Published: November 21, 2014 | Last Updated: November 21, 2014 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading

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November 21, 2014

Journalist Linda Lombroso queried etiquette experts, including The Friendship Doctor, about advice for getting out of awkward situations gracefully during the holidays.

She wrote:

A friend shows up with a gift and you have nothing to give her in return. Also: What if a friend gives you a gift that’s far more expensive than the gift you gave her?

Gifts are gestures of affection or appreciation and shouldn’t be given with the expectation of getting something back. However, it’s not uncommon for someone to feel uncomfortable when this happens. If you have nothing to give your friend in return, don’t make up an excuse. Focus instead on acknowledging her thoughtfulness and/or generosity. It’s easy to get flustered or embarrassed, so make sure you don’t inadvertently ignore or downplay the kindness of the gift. If you feel awkward or indebted, find another way to reciprocate (e.g., you can offer to take her out for a post-holiday lunch).

Everyone doesn’t have the same budget; your friend may have more discretionary income or be more extravagant when it comes to gift giving. Buy gifts that align with your own values and budget. If your friend’s gift seems very excessive, she may reconsider her own gift-giving strategy, but a true friend wouldn’t be looking for an “exchange” of goods. — Irene S. Levine

Click here to read the Journal News article in its entirety.

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