Ask Online Dating U: Gift-Giving to a Friend With A Girlfriend

by Online Dating on July 25, 2011

Although we cover a variety of online dating and relationship tips, there are times when a situation is too unique for an umbrella topic. Or maybe we just haven’t covered something yet! That’s why we’re going to do an Ask Online Dating U every once in a while. At Online Dating University, we’re here for you, so send us your questions!

My guy friend is 20, and I’m 21. We have been friends with for 12+ years now. In the past we tended to not see each other a lot, maybe once every couple of weekends or so. Recently though, we entered into a friends with benefits sort of relationship, which lasted for about a month and a half before we stopped.

His birthday is coming up, and as he’s such a long-time friend of mine, I wanted to make him something for a present. He plays WoW (a lot!), so I thought I could knit him a scarf with the Horde symbol on it. I knit on a semi-regular basis, and I plan on giving knitted gifts to my sister and a couple other friends as well. No problem with them.

The problem is, my friend has a girlfriend now. I don’t know if knitting him something would be considered inappropriate, or if it’s okay since we’ve been friends for such a long time. While I do want the gift to be something personal, I don’t want it to be misconstrued by anyone (especially his girlfriend) as my having feelings for him, especially as we used to be FWB until fairly recently. Should I go with knitting him a scarf or would it be better if I buy something for him?

Considering the fact that you’ve been friends with this guy for more than 12 years, I’d say you’re in the clear on giving him a handmade gift. I mean, as long as it’s not knitted from your own hair or something creepy like that. Knitting is already a hobby of yours, you didn’t have to learn anything to make his gift, so it doesn’t seem like too much.

You could include the girlfriend by messaging her on Facebook to ask what colors she’s think her boyfriend would like. Although you probably know what he’d like already — since you’ve known the guy for so long — getting her involved is a nice gesture, and helps her to get to know you, too.

Every situation is different, so what should you do about exes and gifts?

Exes and Gifting Etiquette

If you’re wondering what to do about your exes and gift-giving, here are a few things to consider:

  • Are you married? If so, you shouldn’t be receiving or giving gifts to an ex. On the other hand, if you’re single, you shouldn’t be giving gifts to your ex who is now married to someone else. Move on.
  • Why? If you’re single, you really shouldn’t give or get things from an ex whether or not they are married or single. Why waste your time on someone you’ve already decided isn’t the one?
  • Ex-spouses: If the ex is your ex-spouse, there only a few situations in which you should give or get a gift from your ex if you are both single. If the divorce was amicable, then it’s really up to you.
  • Children: If you and your ex have children in common, then there are definitely situations in which gift-giving is appropriate. The best way to go about this is to focus on helping your children buy a gift for your ex. Your ex will appreciate the gesture and will know that you took the time to take the kids shopping.
  • What’s Appropriate? Even if you’re giving a gift to your ex from both you and your kids, it needs to be appropriate. So, something personal like lingerie, perfume, and mix CDs are a bad idea. Stick to neutral things like gift certificates, plants, books, and sports equipment.
  • Remarried: If one of you has remarried and you and your ex share children, the gift must be gifted to both the ex and their new partner. No gifts directly from you to the ex, and excluding the new partner.

[Image via Tumblr.]

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