No one wants to admit it because it makes them sound like an ungrateful jerk, but here’s the truth: Getting a gift that you don’t want is annoying.
For starters, you’ve become the proud owner of an object you couldn’t care less about. And now, you have to figure out what the heck to do with it. Should you go through the hassle of making a return? (And you bet, it’s always a hassle.) Or if that’s not an option, should you just try to live with it? Donate it? Stuff it in your already overflowing closet and forget about it?
Practicalities aside, you might also feel sort of hurt, or even angry. A gift is an opportunity for someone to show that they get you—that they have an idea about what makes you happy, says Gail Saltz, clinical psychiatrist and author of The Power of Different. So when your sister gives you a gag-inducing sweater that’s the complete opposite of anything you would ever wear, that little voice in your head starts saying, Doesn’t she know me at all?
In short, there can be a lot of feelings stuffed into that pretty box. Here’s how to unpack them and focus on the good—no matter how bad the gift might be.
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