How to say you don’t like a gift, without looking ungrateful - Jane Travis - Self Care for Busy Women
How to say you don't like a gift, without looking ungrateful - Jane Travis

How to say you don’t like a gift, without looking ungrateful

You don't like it.  

They are standing right there in front of you as you open your gift and you don't like it.  ​Your heart sinks.

What do you do?​


​Valentines day is almost upon us, so that means I get dubbed as 'unromantic' because I can't stand Valentines day.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE love, but I hate the crassness surrounding the 14th February - take a read of 'Why I hate Valentines day, and 5 ways to enjoy it' and see what I mean.  

I love thoughtful gifts - both giving and receiving.  The delight of finding that perfect gift,  something you know they'll love, or will make them smile.  And the delight of receiving something that you know they put thought into, something that can only be given by a person that knows and understands you - that sees you fully. 


And a squillion light years away from the sad gifts often given.  

If you've ever had the good fortune of being in a supermarket​ at 7pm on a February 14th, you'll marvel at the stream of desperate guys rushing in and grabbing flowers from the stand conveniently located close to the entrance because woe betide them if they appear at their partners without them!

Now to me, that is the polar opposite of romantic.  It's literally the least they could do.  

Why am I saying this?

Well it's because of our reaction when receiving said sad flowers.  

This was my reaction a few years ago:  My heart sank, disappointment coursing through my veins because I knew no thought had gone into the gift.  I was both hurt and upset.  But I smiled and looked delighted.


Because I didn't want to hurt his feelings

Because I didn't want to appear ungrateful

Because I didn't want to cause conflict

Because I didn't want to make a fuss

Because I didn't want them to think I was a bad person

Because I didn't want to appear selfish

Because I didn't want to appear demanding

Because I didn't want them to get angry with me​

Because I didn't want them to reject me.  ​

The problem is:​

What you accept is what will continue - Jane Travis

What you accept is what will continue 

​They are being rewarded for getting it wrong.  They think they did good, so do the same thing next time.  

Like when a cat proudly brings you a dead mouse ​as a gift.  If you praise it, you'll get one every night.  When you're *training that cat, train it to bring you diamonds.  Or at the very least a bottle of wine.  

​It doesn't have to be this way!

You can let them know - honestly, but gently - try this:​

​'Thank you for the flowers, I really appreciate that you got me a gift and I know you're heart was in the right place, but I'm not a big fan of flowers.  A real treat would be having a meal cooked for me/breakfast in bed/ a candlelit bubble bath/being whisked away to your private island/diamonds...'

...notice how the word 'sorry' isn't used - you aren't doing anything to be sorry for.

By saying that, they know.  You haven't been rude or ungrateful, but you have communicated clearly your preferences because if they don't know, they don't stand a chance of getting it right next time.  It's win/win.  They get to please you, and you get to feel good. ​

​We don't always get what we want, but if we definitely don't if we pretend to like things we don't!

* Whaddyamean you can't train cats?​

​Don't just hope life will improve -

take control and make it happen today

About the Author Jane Travis

Hi, I'm Jane, and if you're the one that cares for and supports others, that gives and never takes and are exhausted because you put your own needs last, then you're in the right place. It's great to have you here - I hope you stick around!

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