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Refusing gifts

Fabienne

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I have this friend who has, over the years, become skilled in many areas. Photography, bringing antiques clocks and furniture back to life, automotive repairs, etc. His latest pursuit is jewelry making, mostly casting gold rings for now.

I have tried in various ways to refuse some of his offers to make something for me, mostly because his tastes and mine are quite different, but it often fails. For example, if he does a photo session with me or my family, he'll take it upon himself to enlarge one of the pictures and frame it, when I have told him I don't particularly care for photographs of me hanging on the wall, and I'm extremely critical of my pictures in the first place, I hardly ever like one out of 36, and he's into large format cameras right now, not my favorite medium. After a bit of insistence on his part, I told him I no longer was interested in photo sessions, at least not for now. I don't think he took it too well, but water has passed under the bridge.

Going back to the jewelry making: he said he wanted to design a ring for me. I told him I would prefer he held off for a while, and I could tell him later what would complete my collection, if I came upon a design I liked. He answered:

Fabienne, I am well aware that I'm wading into dangerous waters. I am asking for no commitment on your part. If you were to take something that I'd designed and fabricated just for you, and threw it into a box, never to wear it, it wouldn't matter to me. What would matter to me is that your fingers might occasionally run past it on the way to a more attractive piece, and you'd think kind thoughts, if only fleetingly, of the person that cared enough about you to create it. I ask only that in return.

While I appreciate the attention, you will notice he is not respecting my wishes. Does anybody have suggestions so I may tactfully prevent this kind of situation in the future? I'm at a loss.
 

Dakota rube

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Fab, I see a pet rabbit in a pot here. Sorry.
 

metaphysician

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Without outright refusal? Try mentioning mutual friends that appreciate his work more than you do; he may begin to give his gifts to friends that admire his work and it would spare you a confrontation of any kind.

If that fails, do exactly as he suggested in his reply - thank him for the thought, put it in a drawer, and never mention it again.
 

Fabienne

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Originally Posted by Dakota rube
Fab, I see a pet rabbit in a pot here. Sorry.
I don't understand, what does that mean?
 

Fabienne

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Originally Posted by metaphysician
Without outright refusal? Try mentioning mutual friends that appreciate his work more than you do; he may begin to give his gifts to friends that admire his work and it would spare you a confrontation of any kind.

If that fails, do exactly as he suggested in his reply - thank him for the thought, put it in a drawer, and never mention it again.


After the photography "freeze", I felt uneasy about saying: No, thank you. So I thought I'd give the jewelry thing a try, as long as my input is welcome. He had questioned me about my taste in jewelry, stones, etc at a party last week, so that seemed like a natural reply on my part. I know he'd be offended by an outright refusal.
 

Dakota rube

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I'm sorry Fabienne. I refer to a scene in Fatal Attraction. I'm sure this friend is earnest and the interest in innocent, but this passage
What would matter to me is that your fingers might occasionally run past it on the way to a more attractive piece, and you'd think kind thoughts, if only fleetingly, of the person that cared enough about you to create it.
seems more than just a little weird to me.
 

JBZ

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Originally Posted by Fabienne
I don't understand, what does that mean?

This is a reference to the movie Fatal Attraction. In it Michael Douglas played a married man who entered into a brief (so he thought) affair with Glenn Close while his wife was out of town. She became slightly, then moderately, then completely unhinged when he dumped her. One of the ways she expressed her "displeasure" was by stealing the family pet rabbit and boiling it in a pot in the family's home.
 

Fabienne

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Pet rabbit allusion: thanks for the graphic explanation, JBZ.

DR: he expresses himself in that manner at times, I really wouldn't read anything into it.
 

VMan

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Sometimes people give gifts to not only make the receiver feel good, but for themselves to feel good as well.

Sometimes people give gifts simply so they can feel good about themselves.

I'd accept the gifts, even though you might not want them, because it sounds like he is the above.
 

Fabienne

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Originally Posted by LA Guy
Tell him your husband feels uneasy with the laviush gifts, and that you do too. End of story. He would be an idiot to not understand that, or a bad friend.

I couldn't exactly do that, as he knows my husband well, but I could make him understand that the gift of jewelry is "reserved" for my husband, I think that would probably work.
 

JBZ

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Originally Posted by Fabienne
I couldn't exactly do that, as he knows my husband well, but I could make him understand that the gift of jewelry is "reserved" for my husband, I think that would probably work.

This was actually my thought. I think it's a good plan that hopefully won't ruffle your friend's feathers.
 

Dakota rube

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I agree with jbz.
 

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