How to Ask for a Gift Back

Giving gifts is supposed to be an unselfish “no strings attached” act. But sometimes, the situation isn’t exactly ideal. There are times when you want your gift back, for one reason or another. Find out scenarios that warrant the request and how to pull it off.

🎁 Why We Give Gifts

Gifts have been given throughout the ages. From cavemen giving teeth to one another and pharos storing up gifts they were given in pyramids with intents of taking them to their afterlives, gifts have played an important role in history…and still do.

Gifts make us feel good. We love the reward of gratitude and appreciation yet we hate when the one we give to shows neither.

✨ Pulling Strings

There are gifts that aren’t really gifts at all. An engagement ring is a gift but it is attached to a promise, a commitment.

Some gifts have strings attached, either verbally communicated or otherwise implied. If you gift your teenage son a car and he drinks and drives, gift or no gift, that’s a deal breaker.

Some gifts that come with obligations aren’t so cut and dry though. If you give a gift and then have a falling out with the person, are you in the right to ask for it back if it had nothing to do with a commitment?

If the person you gave a gift to clearly doesn’t want the gift, should you ask for it back so you can return it, use it, or even re-gift it?

🧠 Creative Ways to Ask for a Gift Back

While you’re the only one who can truly judge whether or not it’s appropriate to ask for your gift back, here are some ways you can handle the situation should you decide to do so:


Hinting is an alright way of going about getting a gift back in certain situations.

Say you bought a sweater for your sister who you haven’t seen in a year, not realizing she no longer wore the size you bought. But, you are not able to return it.

By hinting that you’d wear the sweater, the situation might unravel to your benefit without ever having to come right out and state anything.

Flat-out ask

There’s a lot to be said for honesty. It is (usually) the best policy.

Spend some time thinking about the recipient of the gift and if you could possibly communicate that you’d like the gift back.

It will partly depend on why you want it back. If you gifted your parents two hundred dollars for their anniversary and your car suddenly died and you need to have it repaired in order to get back and forth to work, if your parents aren’t strapped for cash, they’ll probably understand. And, you can offer to pay them back at a later time.

But, if you gifted a friend a concert ticket and have now decided you’d like to use it instead of him or her… that’s probably not as understandable.

Third party

If there’s a third party who can effectively communicate your request, go for it.

Depending upon the situation, the recipient, and the gift, this may be the best approach if you and the recipient aren’t seeing eye to eye.

It may also be a softer way to handle asking for a gift back in the event that there was a death.

🥼 Gifting 101

Ideally, gifts are given and that’s that. But circumstances can warrant wanting a gift back and if that’s the case, graciously going about it is always the best policy. If it doesn’t work out, it simply doesn’t work out. Live…learn and give wisely.

Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl is a professional writer that has been writing ever since she could hold a crayon. She has authored over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for teens and adults (both credited and ghost-written) on a wide range of subjects. Cheryl also writes blogs and articles on various topics and themes. Residing in a small mountain community in Southwest Colorado, Cheryl draws her inspiration from the gorgeous scenery, her 2 adult children, and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, party and event planning, and hanging out with family and friends. “I write so you don’t have to,” is Cheryl’s motto.

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