Hax: Re-gifting food sours friendship

The Washington PostOctober 22, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: Six months ago I gave birth to twins, and shortly after we got home from the hospital, our friend “Jane” brought over several meals she’d made for us. About a week after that, our friend “Bill” lost his wife suddenly.

We wanted to get food to him ASAP so I pulled from the freezer some of Jane’s food and some things I’d made while still pregnant. A few weeks later, Jane brought over a casserole and I mentioned to her how much we appreciated it since we’d given some of what she brought to Bill.

Fast-forward to last week and Jane admits to me that she was really (teed) off that we had done that. She said she’d made those meals for us with love and was annoyed that we would just give it away like that. Said we could have gone to the store or had something delivered rather than taking her food to him.

Our twins are a week old and we’re supposed to go shopping when we already have prepared food in our freezer?

As a result of our decision to help out our friend, she decided at that point to stop making food for us at all. I apologized for hurting her feelings but was too stunned to say much else. Am I being unreasonable in thinking that’s a little insensitive?

REALLY?

I’d call it exhausting, actually, for Jane. Isn’t life hard enough without finding extra reasons to take offense, and without acting on them in the form of “never again” decisions? And dredging them up as fresh wounds six months after the fact?

To be fair, calling Jane’s overreaction “insensitive” flirts with completing the circle of huffiness, because it implies that she wounded you by being wounded by you, when what this situation really needs is for someone to stop the madness. Better to greet Jane’s harrumph with a “Gosh, we sure didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, we were just trying to help a friend,” and leave this whole stretch of social misfires in the past. This might be something you can’t leave behind, accept as a precedent for “Jane being Jane” and a cue to thicken your skin.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service