Dear Abby: Friend’s gift giving may be leaving her destitute


I wish I wasn't so critical of everyone. (Getty Images)Getty Images

DEAR ABBY: My best friend of 20 years buys me, my son and my parents lots of thoughtful, wonderful gifts for holidays and birthdays. The problem is, it’s way too much. She spends hundreds of dollars on us. I’m talking about mountains of gifts each year. My parents helped her financially a few years back when she was undergoing cancer treatment, and this is how she is repaying their generosity. But we don’t need things; we just want her company.

Abby, she’s now deep in debt and selling her house to pay down what she owes. As a result, she’s moving across the country to live with her father, and I am preparing to miss her horribly. My parents and I have repeatedly asked her not to get us anything, but she keeps on shopping. I know this is her love language, but I also know she can’t afford to be doing this, and I can’t afford to reciprocate in kind. I don’t know what else to do. -- GENEROUS IN THE EAST

DEAR GENEROUS: Your friend may be excessively generous because she feels indebted to your folks for their generosity when she needed it, because gift-giving is her “love language” or she may just be a spendaholic. Tell her you love her and will miss her terribly when she moves away, but what she has been doing has been making you uncomfortable because you have everything you need and can’t afford to reciprocate in kind. Then ask her again to stop, because the most important gifts she has already given you -- her love and her many years of precious friendship.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)


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