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How To React To a Bad Gift

When “What the hell were you thinking?” is not an option, its good to have some backups.


  • TIP: Never put a bad gift straight back into its package – a telltale indication that you're disappointed.
  • Step 1: Describe how you're going to make use of the gift, even if you have every intention of putting it into deep storage. Your job is to make the gift-giver feel as if what they've given you will be put to practical use.
  • Step 2: End the exchange once and for all by looking the gift-giver directly in the eyes and saying, firmly but kindly, "Thank you."
  • FACT: According to a survey, the worst gift is clown art, followed by homemade sweaters and tube socks.
  • Step 3: If there are other people present, pass the gift around. Doing so suggests that you're interested in the gift without your actually having to say so.
  • Step 4: Ask where the gift-giver found your present. This takes the pressure off you to find more nice things to say and refocuses the exchange on the giver's thoughtfulness.
  • Step 5: When you see the gift, offer a solid, sincere smile. The trick is to smile with your whole face rather than just the corners of your mouth. Try visualizing something you thoroughly enjoy, like your favorite meal or sex.
  • TIP: Never use the stock phrase, “Oh, you shouldn't have!” This clichéd reaction is sure to insult.
  • Step 6: The first thing you utter should be something positive. But be moderate in your praise. If you go overboard, you’ll give yourself away.
  • TIP: React positively even if the giver is not there when you open the present. You don’t want to make fun of it and then get busted by a gossipy party guest.
  • Step 7: Prepare yourself by assuming the gift will be bad; that way, when you open it, your body language won't give away your disappointment. Also, remind yourself that the giver went to the trouble of getting you something – they deserve your respect.

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