Ulterior Motives

How goals, both seen and unseen, drive behavior

Does Regifting Have to Be a Bad Thing?

The holiday season is upon us, and many people are spending time, effort, and money to find gifts for friends, family, and co-workers. Why is it a problem to regift something you received from someone else? Read More

Regifting affect on principle of reciprocity

How does this study now tie into or affect the principle of reciprocity? If the receiver re-gifts, do they still feel the need to give something back to the giver? Is that need lessened after they regift?


This is going to sound silly but it makes sense to me...people here in US have the means to get pretty much anything they want or desire with their own sweat and effort and many already own what they need or wanted, often times in abundance...clothes, electronics, etc. The best gift you can give someone is the gift of spending time together, if you do that then you'll be able to know them better and eventually be able to recognize which kind of gift you should be giving them if any gift at all! Your personal time and presence in their lives should be enough nowadays - everything else is just icing on the cake - don't spoil the brats further more...asking people what they like is a sure fire of giving them what they would like...


We've got some friends that came into money and now we joke about them being "snooty". They started the snooty thing with talking about the gourmet meals they have and the hundreds of dollars bottles of wine they have when out.

Last year we sent them a couple of wineglasses we found on Amazon. Mason jars on stems. And a box of Merlot. Okay, so it's funny, but it wasn't a spur of the moment gift, we thought it over for a week or so. There was a pretty ornament and a very nice card, too. Everything wrapped nicely and sent to them UPS.

One of the recipients had had a bad year. When she opened the packages, she was so touched, she started to cry.

This was last December.

In October, she told us "oh, we gave those glasses and that wine to my son".

I guess it wasn't really all that special after all.

We won't be sending them anything this year.

If you regift something? Don't tell the sender you've regifted.

I feel very guilty when

I feel very guilty when regifting something, because this something wasn't selected specially for them. I regift only if I don't have money to buy a new gift. Sometimes I ask friends to 'adopt' a gift that doesn't fit me, but warn them against mentioning this to the giver.

Re gifting as deception

I'm with Nadia re gifting feels insincere if you are going to pretend you have put thought into choosing a gift for someone. It is better to give it to someone else in the context of finding it a home rather than as a present. And not advertising this to the original giver..

As far as the giver is

As far as the giver is concerned, it depends how much ego has the giver involved with the process of giving the gift. Many spend much time selecting the gifts and wrapping them, so they associate their ego's with it. Ego may be in form of desiring for their love to be respected. In this case if the receiver regifts, and the sender comes to know, feeling of hurt is inevitable.
Sometimes, sender gifts just to gift, to undergo a tradition of gifting. In such a case, sender never bothers what happened to his gift because there is no ego involved, but there is still the exception of getting hurt by chance when these words occurs in sender's mind "Its alright that I gifted just to fill things up, but receiver didn't know that, why did he regift? Doesn't he repect my love for him?".
Receiver's mind is challenged by ideals(someone's emotions are involved with the gift, I must not regift), fear(what happens if the sender gets to know about this, my relations will be damned), emotional attachment(if he feels that no matter how bad or useless the gift is, but it is the token of relationship).

Personally, I feel regifting should be avoided, either dump that gift or donate it. Gifts should never be used as currency to talk out relations.


I was regifted a blanket COVERED in pet hair YUK! I did not regift, or keep it. I tossed it! However if I get something that I know I don't want or need, and I feel someone else might like it, I'd have no problem "regifting."

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Art Markman, Ph.D., is a cognitive scientist at the University of Texas whose research spans a range of topics in the way people think.


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