Who would ever expect a scenario when gifts cause problems? Well it happened to me when I met this lady online… and she was really going through a hard time. She never got into specifics, but overall she was incredibly lonely and felt like nobody cared about her. She was estranged from her family too which contributed to her loneliness. She lived alone with several dogs which were her only friends except for her co-workers that she enjoyed while she was at work. She also had alot of money issues that caused stress for her.
Over the summer she had to have a surgery that was really freaking her out. She was mostly upset about how alone she was going to feel during her recovery, especially since she wasn’t even going to work anymore for at least a couple months.
I reached out to her to help cheer her up. We chatted a little bit and I asked if I could send her a care package and she gave me her home address.
So I really thoughtfully prepared a package for her of things that I felt she would like, and that she could enjoy during recovery… Cookies, lotions, soaps, loofas, loungewear, slippers, dog toys, dog treats, and a fancy ladies wallet.
I went to the post office to mail it and they MADE me put my return address on it. I really didn’t want my address on it but I did it anyway, and off if went.
Note to self: next time I mail something to someone I meet on the internet, use a fake return address.
She received it and sounded very appreciative and happy when we chatted next. And I had no worries about anything. I was happy that she seemed happy.
But then I started receiving gifts back in the mail. At first, it was daily. A pretty facemask one day, a bracelet the next day, a charm the day after that, etc…
I’m really not a fan of receiving gifts in the first place, and everything she was sending me is just going into my clutter drawer anyway, so I feel like it’s a major waste of her time and effort. I mean, I’ll chat with her anytime she wants and I don’t need gifts to maintain that.
I would thank her and tell her “you don’t have to send me anything” but the gifts wouldn’t stop. About once a week, I’ll still receive something from her and it’s freaking me out bc she’s still writing online about how she’s super stressed about her money issues. So now I’m having guilt about contributing to that.
Then I stopped messaging her thank yous whenever I received something, hoping she would get the point. But nope, the gifts kept coming…
Finally today I snapped. She messaged me “Oh I can’t wait to send you your Christmas gifts!” And I messaged back “Please stop sending me gifts. Stop. Please.”
And I haven’t heard back from her since. I feel really bad about hurting her feelings but I also really needed the gifts to stop.
I don’t know what to do now. How would you have handled this?
[There’s an update of this situation posted at When Gifts Cause Problems Part 2 ].