AITA for not wanting my best friend to continue buying gifts for myself and my family?

For context: My best friend and I have been friends for nearly twenty years. However, we've gone through phases of life where we haven't been so close or tight-knit but always seem to keep up on one another to stay somewhat close to home. Now that we're adults, we have very different lives. She has had a lot hit her life in the last few years, from divorce, to infertility issues, and a lot of health issues within her family. Life has not been kind to her. But also out of this, she's gained some new habits and addictions. Not dr*g related, but shopping! She copes with stress by shopping. But the problem with this is, they have absolutely no means of doing so. She consistently complains and gripes that they have no money, no free time to go anywhere because they have to go to family events or do side jobs to try to make extra money. Nothing wrong with that, I completely understand times get trying. But the second she gets a small or significant amount of money in her hands, its gone through shopping. For useless things. Clothes that don't fit, or things she "may" need or that someone else "might" like. Normally this isn't my business, I wouldn't care, and say its her life to live and her money to spend. But she has incessantly bought 'gifts' for my daughter and I that we absolutely do not want nor ask for. Clothes that are hideous, most definitely not our style, or just outright the wrong size. Out of age things that I have said multiple times I do not want my toddler to have. Broken and dirty used toys that my daughter will never play with. And I've said to her countless times that we do not need nor have the extra space for these things. I'm running out of options on how to ask her to stop. She has horrible habits of buying gifts she would like herself, and giving them away to other people in hopes they'll be given back (so that she doesn't have to justify buying it for herself-her words), and that to me isn't right in its own. Now again, this normally wouldn't be that big of an issue, but on previous occasions when she's brought these gifts, and we aren't so excited as she would like us to be, she throws a temper tantrum, calls us ungrateful or tries to guilt trip me by saying "But you/baby needs this, I thought you would like it, I just thought about you today etc.. you know we don't have much money I thought you would love that I spent it on you." As if I haven't asked for this to stop.... I'm at a loss. I've tried cutting communication short, not mentioning gift holidays, or birthdays, and I just dont know what to do. I've tried to tell her they should be saving money so they wouldn't struggle so much. She is a very passive aggressive person. She has a large teenage attitude and we're close to our 30s. She is much one of those "her-way-or-no-way" kind of people. And we are very much expected to cater and only hangout when she is available. I feel like my feelings and emotions aren't actually being considered in our friendship anymore and this is a huge part of why. I don't want to lose her as a friend. I do love her dearly, and her new significant other. But she truly needs some help before these spirals become worse. They're already out of control and her significant other has come to me about her spending habits as well now. (She's often spending his money as he works full time and she works part time/they live with family and have minimal bills currently). Help! How can I ask her to stop buying all of these things for us, and explain to her that I would rather see her save that money than to spend it on things we don't need or want? She doesn't seem to get it saying it so plainly. Or AITA here?

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. AITA for not wanting my best friend to continue buying gifts for myself and my family?

Anything she buys I’d throw it away…you’ve asked her not to buy things for you or your kids . So she can’t be upset if you do throw whatever she buys away that you don’t want…You’ve told her now you can show her🤷🏽‍♀️ sounds harsh but it sounds aggravating I’d be frustrated as well…

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I’d toss the items in the trash if she throws a fit start distancing yourself from her she doesn’t sound like a good friend nor should you feel obligated.

You’re not the AH, I understand where you’re coming from, but try to understand where she is coming from too. It seems like she is trying to “buy” your love. If she has infertility issues and went through a divorce recently, she may be depressed and this may be her way of coping. Honestly, if it bothers you that much, I would minimize contact and when you do have contact, keep it simple and generic with the conversations.

In the mean time, this sounds like something that her significant other should be talking to her about… especially if she’s spending his money and they’re living with family. They should most definitely be saving for their own place and not out shopping for other people.


Sounds like she has compulsive shopping issues. She may want to get some help.

Her significant other should also be talking to her

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Most addictions are used as poor coping strategies or as self medication. This can be any type of addiction: drugs. Alcohol. Sex. Shopping.
This is one of the reasons that you as a friend can’t help an addict unless they want help.
Now, here’s the “kicker” many addicts do not even realize they’re trying to “self-medicate” depression or anxiety or PTSD or ADHD or whatever.

I would say that you and her significant other and anyone else who cares about her could try an intervention with her…It’s entirely possible that she is realizing that she has a problem (some things she’s says make feel like she does know in the back of her head) but she doesn’t know how to fix it or work herself to fix the problem.

Look up ways to do this…to really show her how much of a problem it’s become.
I’m sure there are more resources available online.

She has an addiction and needs help. She’s filling her own voids with buying things and believes that’s how to show love. She needs therapy. It would help if she and her husband set a tight family budget that he controls. If you have a relationship with her husband, you could address your concerns with him. Odds are, it’s affecting their relationship also. Good luck.


Honestly if she word-for-word said that she “only buys people gifts hoping that they’ll give them back to her so she doesn’t have to justify buying it herself”, I would just donate the all the gifts she gives you.

There are people who truly need and would appreciate that stuff like at woman’s shelters. She sounds like she has serious issues that are out of your control, and honestly you can’t do anything about it.

Be there for her as a friend when she needs someone to talk to, and literally just donate all her gifts to people who truly need them.


Give the things back to her for her birthday and Christmas, even the stuff for your kids that they don’t want. You can also introduce her to thrift store and bargain shopping. Tell her you love that she cares enough to buy you things but ask her to keep the gifts under a low price like $5. Also be honest about things not being in your taste.

When she arrives with another gift, give her a warm hug, tell her thank you for unwavering generosity, then hand the gift back to her, & tell her you love her for her, not her gifts, & from this day forward you cannot & will not accept anything further beyond a hug or a friendly visit together, as those are the gifts you really treasure.

It sounds like she desperately just wants to feel appreciated by someone :gift_heart:


I would distant myself tbh.

You mention the gifts are hideous or not your sizes. I’m wondering if the gifts were expensive and things you like that are brand new if you would still have these feelings.


Shopping keeps her focus off her issues. She needs serious therapy.
You have a few options, decline the things she buys; as in, don’t let it in the house. Throw it away. Cut her off unless she gets help.
You can’t fix her or make her get help but you can put your foot down. If she does the passive aggressive bit simply tell her “I love you without stuff. You bought this for your mental health, not mine.”

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This sounds exactly like my mother. She gets things from auctions. Hideous clothes I’d never wear and don’t fit. Broken items and then wants them back if we aren’t using when she comes over. Very defensive. Very self centered. Literally never asks me about me or the grandkids. I’ve actually recently told her I need a mental health break from her. Maybe just subtlety create some distance and limit interactions for a while.

Tell her when she comes over thank you for the gifts but, we are trying to de-clutter the house as we have more than enough things in the house. Tell her that from today onwards that you don’t want anymore gifts/items brought for you or your kids and stand your ground. If she comes over with a gift tell her to leave it in the car and don’t accept it no matter what. Remind her that you like her for her and not for the gifts/items she buys.

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It sounds like she needs counseling.
Shopping and hoarding… the attitude… the my way thing too will only get worst.
Their life will get worst.
I’ve seen it happen. A spiral down till they’re kicked out. On the street. Addiction will move to something worse.

Please try to help getting her into counseling before it’s too late.
Or maybe as a friend you could with her s/o. Set her down and reality check her.

As for the things maybe keep all her “gifts” in a box and donate or something. Or put back on her porch later.

Say thank you and leave it at that, maybe bag them up on the sly? I understand it being stressful as I myself have been in this situation but with my inlaws they will give my partner a fair amount of money each week and buy us items out the blue or grankids I’ve put my thoughts across and made sure they all understand I don’t agree with them doing it at all…
But I have strictly kept out of it since then as it is know on them as to what they do with there money when it comes to there son and grandchildren but in my eyes I don’t owe them anything as I’ve openly asked them to stop and they continue to regardless of my request.?so if they did ever pull out the ungrateful card

Did I ask you to stop:yes
Did I ask you for anything given :no
(They can not blame you for that)

I’ve always been worried about needing to pay them lump sums of money back as they will give him anywhere between £100-800 adleast once a year and kind of feels like they buy my partner and keep him in this endless loop (he ant got off easy ether as I think it takes the complete piss out his folks when they chuck that much at him )

She needs therapy and needs to be evaluated for depression or ocd. But she has to be willing to seek it or be committed. It’s self destructive behavior. Blessings
Make her give you the receipt. Return items. Save the money for her She desperately needs gelp

I actually don’t know what you can do as you have tried everything and nothing works. The only suggestion I can give you is to advise her to get therapy or the friendship is over !

NOT the A-hole.

Talk to her and her SO about getting her into therapy. The shopping is a symptom, not the cause. Tell her you love her too much to see her destroy her life and relationships with her shopping addiction and you’ll be cutting her off until she gets help. Then block her and stop seeing her until SO calls you and says she’s been going to therapy on a regular basis.

Tell SO or whoever is funding her to set a budget, keep his money in an account where she does not have access. Cut up her credit cards and leave her with a debit card only. If possible have her pay put into the husband’s account and he can give her an allowance. Without the SO’s or family member’s income it might be tough for her to get a credit card on her own, but he/family should still check for statements and cards periodically.

Once she has been in therapy for a while she should get financial literacy/budgeting/personal financial management counseling also.

Maybe if you can’t bear to cut her off completely, agree to only spend time with her away from shopping. Meet at a park for a hike, bike ride, kayaking, go for a scenic drive and only take restroom breaks at rest stops or fast food places where she can’t shop.

Tell her you will only accept gifts with receipts. Then take them back and give any money to the SO/family.

You and her SO/family should talk to her doctor about getting her into therapy for stress, grief, whatever is the root cause of her unhappiness. She should be screened for depression also.

I would just be blunt and upfront

I don’t think there’s any polite way to say you don’t like a gift.