Wife searches for kind way to return husband’s gift

  • Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Liz,

What can you do or say when people you need to stay in a relationship with say “dumb” or annoying things or insist on giving unsolicited advice? One is family, another is a work colleague.

Mr. Polite (although annoyed)

Dear “Mr.Polite,”

Good for you for trying. There are a few phrases I recommend in such instances. To be effective you need to practice them until you can be sincere or at least neutral when delivering them.

These include:

“You could be right.” “I see what you are saying.” “Hmm, I need to give that some thought.”

“I appreciate that thought. (Idea.)”

It is always wise to choose your battles, and it is usually a waste of time and energy to convince a stubborn (or otherwise difficult) person to accept your point of view. What’s that saying? ”What’s wrong with teaching a pig to sing? It doesn’t work and it annoys the pig.”

Dear Liz,

I am going to sound spoiled, but I just do not like the Valentine’s necklace my husband gave me.

I know he spent a fair amount of money on it, but it is not me, if you know what I mean. How can I handle this without hurting his feelings?


Dear “Disappointed,”

This is an issue from the beginning of the exchanging of gifts - far fewer choices though, and a majority were homemade. Always remember, “It’s the thought the counts.” You would know your husband’s sensitivity and ego. In any case you want to handle this in a kind and considerate way.

I believe in honesty. And gratitude. Most men do want to please their mates. You can say something like, “I adore how you surprised me this Valentine’s Day. You were so generous, too. I may have messed up, though, by not telling you what I had my heart set on. Is there any way we can exchange it?”

My hope (and yours) would be that he’d take you straight to the store to let you choose. And you be extremely lovey and grateful. Try not to get defensive or argumentative if he gets angry. Call a time out. When things calm down, see if he’d prefer for you go to the store without him or if you will simply have to learn to love it. By the way, there are many creative things local jewelers can do to modify a piece, even turning yellow gold into white gold with Rhodium. Most gals out there may be thinking, in any case, you are a lucky gal!

(Contact Liz via asksharpliz@gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.)

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