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Doing Things the Hard Way, Made Simple


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Dear Zoe,

Is it ever okay to ask for a gift back after you’ve broken up with someone or after they’ve broken up with you?

Sincerely, 

I Want My Stuff Back!

Dear I Want My Stuff Back,

Oh Jeez.

On principle, this makes me cringe a little bit. When you give a gift, you’re (hopefully) giving it to the person because you think they’ll enjoy it, right? Isn’t the whole point of giving them something that you want to make them happy? So I don’t entirely understand why you’d want to ask for it back.

The only exception I can think of is if you’ve given them something that’s really valuable to you, like, let’s say, your great grandmother’s antique brooch or your autographed copy of the original Iron Man comic. Even then, it’s kind of awkward. I’d advise you to ask only once, and if they say no, let it go.

As a general rule, no, it’s not. You really liked this person at one point. Let him or her enjoy their present, or not, as they choose.

And I’m sorry about the break up.

Love,

Zoe

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