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1 - 17 of 17 Comments Last updated Sep 19, 2013

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

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#1
Sep 19, 2013
 
DEAR AMY: When I was in my 20s, I was in a loving and devoted relationship with a woman for five years. After several bad episodes, she ended it.

Four decades later, I still value the quality of the affection we shared and the lessons that I learned. That relationship has shaped much of the way I choose to live today. While I truly have no lingering desire for her, I am deeply appreciative of her influence in my life. We have gone our separate and successfully married ways. I am a thousand miles away and completely "over her."

We have not communicated in all this time.

During our relationship, she made me a gift. It is a beautiful, finely knit sweater, which took her many hours of effort. I have kept it in excellent condition for all these years.

I have a desire to return it to her with no messages attached, so that she might enjoy it or give it away. I want no response for this gesture. For me, this is just to say an (unspoken) thanks for all that she gave me all those years ago.

Is this unwise? Could this look like an attempt at a rapprochement, or would this gesture anger her? Should I give the sweater to her brother and let him decide what to do with it?-- Grateful for the Gifts

DEAR GRATEFUL: If you received a package containing a (possibly forgotten) gift you had given to someone more than 40 years ago, with no message attached, you would probably go a little bit bonkers trying to attach meaning to it. Is it your intent to drive this woman crazy?

Your gesture could come off as weirdly mysterious, rapprochementlike or even hostile.

Why not be more straightforward, not to prompt an answer but to make your intention very clear? Like this:

"Dear Chelsea, I hope you remember this sweater. As you can see, I've taken good care of it. Perhaps you have someone in your life who likes vintage things to whom you could give this handmade gift from your (and my) youth. I've enclosed a photo of my family; that's my spouse, Diana, our kids and our dog, Tippy. I hope your life is as happy as mine is and wish you all the best."

DEAR AMY: With Christmas a few months away, I'm trying to get a jump-start on an awkward situation that occurred last year.

My husband and I received an extravagant ($85) Christmas gift from neighbors who we barely know.

We wave hello from a distance, but, in reality, I have only talked face to face with the woman once, and we have never met her husband.

It seemed strange. I then felt the need to reciprocate, and so I purchased an assortment of Christmas ornaments and also sent over some home-baked goods.

Over the past year our relationship has remained exactly the same (i.e. nothing). I am not a Scrooge but feel that gift giving should be reserved for family and close friends.

I fear this will occur again, so how do I "ward it off" now before it's too late?-- No Gifts Please

DEAR NO GIFTS: You should not feel pressured to reciprocate a gift to someone you don't know. If you hadn't reciprocated last year, for instance, but had simply thanked this neighbor for her generosity ("What a surprise! Thank you."), you might not face this issue now.

You don't want to give your neighbor a gift, so don't. If she gives you a gift again, drop a note in her box thanking her and wishing her and her family a nice holiday season. Ideally, this gesture would be the spark for a friendship, but sometimes even the best-laid gifts simply fizzle.

DEAR AMY: "Unsure" did nothing when his wife told him their mutual friend "Jasper" had really hit on her. You suggested that he should confront the cad, even though the wife didn't want him to. I felt this wife took care of the matter on her own and didn't need rescuing.-- Disappointed

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I counseled "Unsure" to stand up for his relationship, but many readers agreed with you.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#2
Sep 19, 2013
 
1 Dude, you are creepy, donate the damn sweater or trash it.

2 Oh the horrors! Someone gives you a gift! How about you just GIVE IT BACK?

3 Women are property, the bible says so, and as edog points out the SANCTITY of marriage demands the the husband hit the other guy with a bat, lest he start thinking they have an open marriage.

Since: Jan 10

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#3
Sep 19, 2013
 
L1: You and Amy are off your rockers. Your old girlfriend doesn't want your 40 year old sweater. And she doesn't need a note from you.

L2: Your mistake was sending them purchased gifts. THe cookies would be a nice neighborly thing to do at any time, but you made a move that told them, "I'm okay with buying gifts for one another."

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#4
Sep 19, 2013
 

Judged:

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1- Keep the dam thing or give it away! How can you possibly think returning it after twenty years with no explanation is a good idea?? Stupid lesbians.

Since: Jan 10

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#5
Sep 19, 2013
 
edogxxx wrote:
1- Keep the dam thing or give it away! How can you possibly think returning it after twenty years with no explanation is a good idea?? Stupid lesbians.
HA!!!

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

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#6
Sep 19, 2013
 
1: Dude...just no ok, just freaking keep or toss it but don't even contact her in any capacity at all. Freak.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#7
Sep 19, 2013
 
L1: Huh? You don't give a gift like that back! That's like a slap in the face -- here, you take this old sweater, I don't want it. Don't do it.

L2: Either don't give them a gift or have a bottle of wine at the ready. Easy-peasy. Or a box of Fannie May candies.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#8
Sep 19, 2013
 
LW1: " It is a beautiful, finely knit sweater, which took her many hours of effort. I have kept it in excellent condition for all these years."

What? Was the damn thing made of your dog's hair that she laborously combed and spun into yarn? It's a fricking sweater! If you don't want it anymore, why would she? Just donate it, ya goof.

LW2: "I fear this will occur again, so how do I "ward it off" now before it's too late?"

Yes, it will and you can't stop it. If you feel you must reciprocate, stick with the baked goods.

LW3: Whatever.

Since: Aug 08

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#9
Sep 19, 2013
 
LW1: What is the heck is she going to do with a sweater she made for you 40 years ago? What is her brother going to do with it and why do you think he wants it? Stop being a weirdo.

LW2: You should have just set a thank you note to them last year.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#10
Sep 19, 2013
 
LW1 C'mon group. He is using the sweater as a means of reconnecting. the nostalgia and longing are running at full blast in that letter.

LW2 Any possibility that the expensive item was a re-gift?

My Mil gives small gourmet food gifts to neighbors and friends. Our girls both exchanged small gifts with friends through high school. They got a great deal of pleasure picking and giving the items. One year it was lipsticks and nail polish from Big Lots. The neighbor's faux pas is the size of the gift that's all.
I agree with the box of of candy or wine or home baked goods wrapped in a box with ribbon.

Since: Jan 10

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#11
Sep 19, 2013
 

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PEllen wrote:
LW1 C'mon group. He is using the sweater as a means of reconnecting. the nostalgia and longing are running at full blast in that letter.
LW2 Any possibility that the expensive item was a re-gift?
My Mil gives small gourmet food gifts to neighbors and friends. Our girls both exchanged small gifts with friends through high school. They got a great deal of pleasure picking and giving the items. One year it was lipsticks and nail polish from Big Lots. The neighbor's faux pas is the size of the gift that's all.
I agree with the box of of candy or wine or home baked goods wrapped in a box with ribbon.
Lw1: Nu-uh. Didn't you see? He said he was over her! IT's true! He said so! ;)

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Schaumburg, IL

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#12
Sep 19, 2013
 
LW2 - i bake a ton at christmas, nad i've taken to collecting small decorative plates so that i can take cookies as a hostess gift or give to over the top gift-giving neighbors (the peeps at work get them in holiday themed lunch bags). give some cookies or a thank you note if you get sometign again this year.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

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#13
Sep 19, 2013
 

Judged:

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LW1: Team everyone. PEllen is right; he's trying to reconnect and in denial about it. Or his wife has been after him to get rid of that old sweater that is 4 sizes too small. Or both.

LW2: Team Toj.

LW3: Second rehash. The wife in question totally handled it and the 4-way friendship is toast.
Julie

Chicago, IL

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#14
Sep 19, 2013
 

Judged:

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LW1: You are sooooooooo FOS you need an extra-blast enema.
Leave this woman from 40+ yrs ago that you are "completely over" (hahahahahahahahah) the F alone, you freak.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

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#15
Sep 19, 2013
 
LW1: And chances are, considering the "several bad episodes" after which "she ended it", she most likely does not remember you with the same lingering fondness.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

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#16
Sep 19, 2013
 
1: Let.It.Go! What is with people claiming they are "over" something/one and pine decades later about that very thing. This guy is looking in the past longer than I have been alive, gah!

2: I would hate that from neighbors you don't talk. I would hate it from neighbors you do. I'm not a big gifter and don't do cards. But being a jerk to my neighbors takes cares of that...

Since: Jan 10

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#17
Sep 19, 2013
 
Kuuipo wrote:
LW1: And chances are, considering the "several bad episodes" after which "she ended it", she most likely does not remember you with the same lingering fondness.
It just reeks of "restraining order."

Also: It's like he's giving her the credit for his growing up. When I was young, I ended some relationsihps very badly. I regret some of my behavior. But I learned that as I matured, not because some guy I dumped badly told me how I could have done it better. So I don't give any of the guys I dated the credit for my maturing. I do give some specific credit to just a handful (three, off the top of my head) who said something very specific (each guy said something different, but this was spread out over 15 years) about my behavior and I thank them for it.

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