Woman reveals how her three ‘friends’ spend more on each other’s birthday present

A woman has divided opinion with a lenghty rant about how her group of female pals give her generic and cheap presents, while everyone else gets more expensive and thoughtful gifts.  

The unnamed British woman said on the parenting website Mumsnet’s Am I Being Unreasonable, that over the course of three years, she and her three other friends have taken part in group birthday gift exchange. 

She explained she felt the gifts for the three other friends, who knew each other for longer, were more thoughtful and pricier than what she’s received from them, while she usually contributes a minimum of £15.  

People said she was putting too much attention on the financial aspect and should stop worrying about it, but others sympathised and said it must be hard not to receive thoughtful gifts.  

A British woman complained her friends asked her to pay for each other's more expensive and thoughtful gifts while gifting her generic and cheap gifts (stock picture)

A British woman complained her friends asked her to pay for each other's more expensive and thoughtful gifts while gifting her generic and cheap gifts (stock picture)

A British woman complained her friends asked her to pay for each other’s more expensive and thoughtful gifts while gifting her generic and cheap gifts (stock picture)

The unnamed woman explained she had been friends with the three other women for several years and that the trio had lived together for a year before she met them through work. 

‘I have a lot less money than all three of them but always pay whatever is needed, even if it’s difficult. Every year I am part of three group ‘birthday’ chats on Facebook to discuss what we are buying for the “birthday girl”,’ she said. 

After three years of friendship and birthday gifts, the woman said she noticed her gifts were noticeably cheaper than the others’. 

She said that the first year she received a gift, it included a bottle of pink gin, cheap wine, a box of Ferrero Rocher and a mini bag of Thorton’s chocolate she estimated much have cost £30 in total. 

The woman, who had known the friends for three years, said she felt 'left out' and admitted  she googled the gifts' prices to see how much chea[er to the others' they were

The woman, who had known the friends for three years, said she felt 'left out' and admitted  she googled the gifts' prices to see how much chea[er to the others' they were

The woman, who had known the friends for three years, said she felt ‘left out’ and admitted  she googled the gifts’ prices to see how much chea[er to the others’ they were 

For the second year, she said she received another bottle of gin, and a few packs of socks from Primark. 

She admitted she googled the prices and found that the bottle of gin for her second birthday cost only £10 and was aggravated by the fact she was paying more for their gifts. 

People said the woman was too focused on the financial aspect of the friendship, and called her out for googling the prices of her gifts

People said the woman was too focused on the financial aspect of the friendship, and called her out for googling the prices of her gifts

People said the woman was too focused on the financial aspect of the friendship, and called her out for googling the prices of her gifts

 ‘All of them have worked out as a minimum of £15 pounds per person, sometimes a lot more,’ she said. 

‘In 2019 the long list of presents for friend A came to around £70 pounds, which I think was about £23 per person,’ she added.

Friend B has had coffee from Whittards “because she loves it,” books that she likes, clothes, perfume.,’ she went on. 

‘Friend C has had a really expensive, fancy bra and a canvas painting of her favourite piece of artwork,’ she continued.    

She said that her issue was not about the money, but more the fact that her presents were always generic, and the others’ were more thoughtful.  

‘I know that the three of them have known each other longer and are therefore closer/perhaps know more what they want/more inclined to spend money on each other, but I do talk to all of them every day, we have a group chat,’ she said. 

She added she had tried to hint at specific gifts she’d like to get, but that she had received none of those.   

Some people were sympathetic to the woman's story, but agreed she needed to drop out of the gift exchange

Some people were sympathetic to the woman's story, but agreed she needed to drop out of the gift exchange

Some people were sympathetic to the woman’s story, but agreed she needed to drop out of the gift exchange

The unhappy friend also said that her partner and her family had told her to get out of the gift exchange, and thought she was ‘being taken advantage of.’  

‘I’ve been trying to work out for a while now what’s happening – whether it’s a conscious, deliberate thing to spend less on me or whether it’s simply a case of not knowing what to get me and just going with the cheap/easy options,’ she said. 

‘My partner and others think I should just end this friendship. But I’m torn. I don’t know whether I’m just being vain. So…I need other opinions,’ she concluded. 

Most people were not sympathetic to the woman’s plight and said she needed to stop obsessing about her gifts’ prices. 

‘From the money aspect it’s not a massive disparity but I can see why you would be hurt not having something thoughtful,’ one said. 

‘Easiest way to side step this is to say “Sorry girls, this year I spotted a gorgeous XYZ in a gift shop and grabbed it for X’s birthday, hope you don’t mind but I’ll opt out of the group gift this year”,’ they advised.  

‘I really expected to take your side here to be honest, but you’re coming across as so petty. I expected a huge difference financially but the difference between 10 or 15 pounds is neither here nor there. They’re not leaving you out as you get a gift every year,’ another said. 

‘Cripes OP, this is taking up a lot of headspace needlessly. I was ready to maybe defend as it’s only been what, 3 years? But this is way OTT and you need to step back a wee bit,’ one wrote. 

‘The fact that you took the time to sit down with a calculator tells us that you need to leave this friendship group. It cannot be good for you to be dwelling on precise gift values to this extent,’ one said. 

‘If these women are your friends and you’re skint enough to be tracking pennies like this and obsessing over a tenner here or a tenner there; why haven’t you raised it with them? They may genuinely not mind the gift price disparity and if you haven’t raised it’s a problem then how are they going to realise you are struggling,’ one said. 

‘You seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing, as my Nan used to say,’ another wrote. 

‘You all need to “get a life” and stop buying Birthday presents…they are for kids especially if they cause this much grief,’ one bluntly said. 

‘I agree you are putting a lot of thought into the amount spent on gifts and you need to consider the value of the friendships more generally,’ one said. 

‘I honestly can’t believe people really think such awful thoughts against their friends for perceived slightly over £10/20 or whatever. Baffling,’ another wrote.  

Others felt sympathetic of the woman, and agreed it hurt when people didn’t get them thoughtful gifts.  

‘I’m really failing to see what YOU get from this friendship,’ one said. 

‘Tell them you’ve given up alcohol and chocolate… This group buying thing is seriously hard work! My friends and I sometimes club together to buy a present for a special birthday, but wouldn’t dream of doing it every year. Once a decade is enough,’ one said. 

‘Not sure I have any advice, but I do sympathise with you – getting generic presents when the others have thoughtful gifts is upsetting. This is far more upsetting than the actual amount spent. Do you genuinely like these friends,’ they added.   

‘It’s the lack of thought put into the gifts, though. I had a similar thing happen to me at uni with three ‘friends’ that were all closer to each other than they are to me. It hurt,’ one said. 

‘OP, time to loosen the ties with these particular friends, I think, and definitely time to opt out of the gift exchange. You don’t have to let them keep treating you as ‘less than’ – I think you should empower yourself to walk away and start investing in (or building) friendships with people who value you more,’ they added. 

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