Gift-giving is a very direct way of telling someone how you feel.
It can be as simple as plastic vomit or as complex as airfair and expenses to a concert halfway around the world.
Sometimes we get too involved in what the gift is, instead of what the gift means.
What happens though when someone interprets the meaning of a gift to be far more romantic than was intended for either the giver or the recipient?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) FancyAudiobook when she came to the “Am I the A**Hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for giving my male friend an audiobook with my own voice?”
OP began with the background
“I (Female 18) have a friend, Tom (Male 18) who has a girlfriend, Anna (F19).”
“I’ve known Tom since we were both 13.”
“Our friendship isn’t and never was sexual/romantic in any way (and yes, I’m sure there was/is no one-sided crush on his part).”
“For some reason, Tom enjoys listening to my voice. I don’t really know why (I hate to listen to my own recordings), but he thinks it’s soothing.”
“Ever since I can remember he has a bad case of insomnia and when we were younger he used to call me and I just talked some nonsense until he was asleep.”
“Nowadays he also does it once in a while but only when things are really bad for him. It’s weird but I know how deteriorating sleep problems can be, so I don’t really mind.”
“Tom’s also a big fan of the Harry Potter series so for his 18th birthday I made him audiobooks.”
“I recorded everything myself, it took literally dozens of hours of recording and even more when it comes to editing, adding music, and so on.”
“But it was worth it as the 18th birthday is a big deal after all, at least in our country, and I had no money to buy him a really good or big present.”
“He was thrilled, so I thought that it was a good idea, after all.”
Everything was fine, until…
“However, a few days later Anna called me, very angry, and accused me that I was trying to steal Tom for myself (I definitely don’t), I behave creepily and I severely crossed the line giving him something so personal.”
“I never wanted to put a damper on their relationship, only wanted to make something special for my friend’s important birthday.”
“I tried to explain to her so but she was only shouting at me and told me I have to take the recordings back and give Tom a ‘normal’ present.”
“I refused because, in my opinion, the only person who has a saying in this matter is Tom himself.”
“Long story short it turned into a huge drama because she tried to set some of our mutual friends against me because of that.”
“Most of them agree with me but some think that what I did really was weird, not because of the present itself but because Tom is in a relationship.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were quite impressed with OP’s gift.
“I don’t see anything romantic with this gift. It’s very thoughtful, and maybe people are not used to having thoughtful friends (?)”
“I would totally do this for a friend and I wouldn’t mind my partner getting a gift like this. Maybe Tom doesn’t like her voice because she only knows how to shout, lol.” ~ hoelliest
“It is one hell of a gift, in terms of thoughtfulness and sheer effort involved. That would be tough to compete with.” ~ HardRainisFalling
Others thought that jealousy was the real problem.
“My guess is she (the gf) the gift outshone hers and is being petty” ~ littlefire_2004
“Jealousy definitely, but I think it’s simply more a ‘why is this girl’s voice soothing my bf, and my voice isn’t good enough?’” ~ Thisisthatguy99
“Yeah, that’s kinda weird to be jealous about that – I listen to sleep stories in the Calm app to fall asleep, and damn some of them have the most soothing voices.”
“Like I’ll listen to the same stories over and over because guaranteed I’ll be asleep less than halfway through the story due to how soothing they are”
“(Though I’m a little sad I don’t get to hear the full story lol).”
“And there are some on there that do absolutely nothing for me and I’ll have to switch to a different story/narrator.” ~ pillowcrates
There were also personal stories.
“I recently got my two best friends very personal somewhat expensive gifts to show my appreciation for them being there with me through a really terrible time in my life.”
“Both of them are in relationships, one is married, and at no point have either of their SOs accused me of trying to steal them.”
“They knew that I just wanted to show my friends how much I love them.”
“This sounds like a problem between a boyfriend and girlfriend that is being projected onto OP.”
“NTA” ~ clwitch
“I did this for my cousin for the same reason.”
“His dad would go crazy on him for being awake on school nights.”
“He was using my tapes even after he grew up and married. His wife didn’t care she just started buying him audiobooks. NTA.” ~ No-You5550
Commenters did try to see things from Anna’s point of view though.
“‘NTA. I don’t see anything romantic with this gift. It’s very thoughtful, and maybe people are not used to have thoughtful friends.'”
“I’m not saying I disagree with you, because I have a couple of friends myself who I would be willing to put in just as much effort/work for a gift and our friendships are completely platonic.”
“But I can see how a gift like this could be misconstrued as being something with romantic intent behind it.”
“It is a lot of work to put into a gift.”
“When you take into account that in the past Tom has asked OP to lull him to sleep with her voice I can see where a person could become jealous and question the nature of their friendship.”
“However that is an issue for Anna to work through.”
“OP is defiantly NTA. That is an amazing gift.” ~ zimbacca
“It’s an extremely thoughtful gift.”
“So she says something about Harry Potter and making audiobooks.”
“But the audiobook for deathly hallows is 21 hours.”
“If you multiply that by 2 for editing and takes which is very conservative that’s 40 hours.”
“That’s a lot for a gift for a platonic friend, so there has to be something special about that friendship.”
“I can understand a significant other being somewhat taken aback and questioning their motivation.”
“Although it’s probably not worth fighting over unless she there is a pattern of doing things and then they acting coy about oh I didn’t mean that. Purely platonic.” ~ gogogadgetrage
“NTA…but I honestly can’t blame her.”
“Even if you’re very good friends, giving him entire homemade audiobooks when he describes your voice as ‘soothing?”‘
“No matter what gender a person or what gender(s) they like that is a VERY personal gift.”
“I think the only scenario where that wouldn’t be suspicious is if you were family.”
“Both you and your friend (mostly your friend) need to reassure her that your relationship is strictly platonic.”
“That you’re basically family.”
“You two might know that, but from the outside looking in, she doesn’t know that.” ~ Amazing_Excuse_3860
Some commenters pointed out that platonic friends are a thing.
“Literally! People can just be friends, lol. The same ppl who are insisting he likes her and the same people who will say boys and girls and be just friends.” ~ minhamelodia
“I find it weird, too.”
“I mean, the opposite sex is half of the world population.”
“Can we not be friends with half the world?”
“I had an amazing friend, years back.”
“Sadly, we’ve lost touch, but I would truly have lost something if I never had that friendship, even if he was the opposite sex.”
“Quite aside from our own friendship, he was a big part of my husband and I getting together and getting married.”
“Oh, and I suppose I can’t be friends with lesbians, either.” ~ regus0307
“People are weird about this.”
“My husband’s best friend is a woman. They’ve been best friends for longer than he and I have been together, honestly.”
“It’s not weird and I understand that they’re close but have no romantic feelings at all. Eventually, you and he will both find partners that understand y’all’s friendship.” ~ cooties_and_chaos
“When people say platonic friendships can’t exist my go-to argument is does that mean someone who’s bisexual can’t have friends?”
“It’s weird how people assume that men and women can’t possibly just want to be friends.”
“I’m like your husband, my best friend is a woman and it’s been platonic for like 15 years.”
“Our partners realized though that it’s not romantic, it’s more like siblings than anything.” ~ raius83
Gift-giving can be a great non-verbal way of expressing affection, love, shared humor, or any of a thousand other bonds that connect us.
The difficulty though is when you start getting into ‘non-verbal’ you open the door for all sorts of misunderstandings.
Remember to take the context of any event into account when judging someone’s intentions.
And sometimes, an audiobook is just an audiobook.