Giving gifts at Christmas time is a bit of a confusing endeavor.
On one hand, the tradition allows us to demonstrate our love and friendship with a unmistakable, concrete gesture.
But it also requires us to associate a friendship with a dollar amount.
And no matter how much we try to forget that strange dynamic, it seems to rear its head.
One Redditor offered one example in his post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP), aptly known as mopresentsmoproblems on the site, laid it all out in the title:
“AITA for not getting my friend a $200 gift and making her feel unloved?”
OP first set the stage.
“My (28-year-old male) friend (27-year-old female) is usually a very kind person. But we recently got into a stupid argument, and I wanted to post it here.”
“My friend is obsessed with the five love languages. She always asks people what their love language is, and she does her best to show love by using your love language.”
“She says that her love language is receiving gifts, so everyone should put a lot of thought into her gifts.”
OP heard that loud and clear.
“I thought I put a good amount of thought into her gift.”
“She likes this one brand of artisan coffee from a local shop, so I bought her a big bag of that coffee from the store and a nice mug to go with it. It cost about $45 in total.”
But he was surprised when it came time to unveil the present.
“We did our gift exchange one week ago, and she seemed disappointed when she opened her gift. I asked her what was wrong, and she asked how much I spent on the gift.”
“I told her the price, and she said she expected a nicer gift, preferably about $200.”
“She said that my cheap gift meant that she felt unloved because receiving gifts is her love language.”
OP saw red.
“That admittedly pissed me off. I called her selfish and materialistic and took the coffee and mug from her.”
“I figured if she didn’t want it, she shouldn’t have it. I left without opening my gift, and now we haven’t spoken in a few days.”
“AITA? She clearly thinks I am, but I think she’s more of the AH here.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors assured OP he hadn’t been an a**hole.
“NTA. She’s ridiculous, and one of the many people who weaponize the ‘love languages’ concept instead of using it for its intended purpose (see also: ‘giving gifts isn’t my love language so you’re not allowed to expect gifts from me ever’).”
“Tell her your love language is brand new cars. Exclusively. Anything pre-owned would be a slap in the face.” — bunnybunnybiscuit
“Nta, and who the fu** spends $200 on their friends?!? Geez. I love my friends, but that’s crazy. I’d be uncomfortable if any of my friends spent that kind of money on me.” — Candid-Equivalent-82
“NTA receiving gifts should not a love language, it just sounds greedy. If somebody bought me $45 of coffee and a nice coffee mug to go with it I would have been ecstatic.”
“She’s definitely materialistic and narcissistic and just rude for asking how much you spent on a gift. Honestly I think you did the right thing by taking your gift back and rejecting hers completely.” — the_bad_dragontattoo
“NTA- those who care about the cost of gifts drive me nuts. I just googled because I did not know what the 5 love languages were, but it seems to me that she chose her favorite to benefit her.”
“Next time give her an affirmation and tell her that is your love language. You put a lot of thought into her gift, by personalizing it, thinking about what she liked and going out and putting it together.”
“Her reaction was uncalled for and I would have done the same thing. You are not the asshole, she is. She places HER value in YOUR life by the amount of money YOU spend on her. She is selfish and materialistic. I would write her off my Christmas gift list.” — sarahlampi
Others clarified a key distinction.
“NTA Those who have gift giving as their love language don’t care about its monetary value, but about its thoughtfulness and meaning and your gift was very thoughtful.”
“She’s just a materialistic a**hole.” — Star1014light
“NTA. If her love language is actually gifts, she’s supposed to care more about the thought behind it rather than the price tag. Your friend sounds materialistic and selfish. It is beyond gauche to ask how much someone spent on you.”
“As an avid coffee drinker I would adore someone getting me a big bag of coffee and a nice mug. You clearly put a lot of thought into that gift.”
“Now, if she felt like her gesture wasn’t reciprocated because she’d spent that much on you… well that’s the sort of problem that is solved by discussing budgets before the shopping.”
“So no matter how you slice this, your friend behaved immaturely at best, and cruelly at worst.” — TriZARAtops
” ‘Receiving’ gifts is not a love language. Giving them is. You put thought into her gift and the amount you spent shouldn’t matter.”
“NTA She sounds a bit confused and if not, then she’s very selfish.” — Saraqael_Rising
“Apparently her love language isn’t gifts, it’s money. Otherwise she would have recognized you did put thought into the gift and certainly not have asked about the price.”
“Also, asking for a gift’s price is incredibly tacky. NTA.” — Vixen7-9
And several people blasted the very concept of love languages.
“NTA very convenient that her ‘love language’ (which is bullsh**) requires everyone to get her expensive presents. Id leave such a person well alone.” — Miserable-Plant6123
“NTA Love languages are a scam.” — R99D99
“NTA As an adult, you don’t have time for petty stuff like “love language”, save that for the angsty teens.”
“You were in the right not to feed into her BS and tell her what’s what. A good, legit friend doesn’t do what she did, and a good friend does what you did.” — TrumpsNeckSmegma
So while OP may have a bit more clarity on how to feel right now, one clear question remains: what happens next Christmas?