Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
One of my closest friends gave my son a card and a book for his
graduation. We’ve included her in family events for ten years and I
think of her as a sister. Now, as a very cheap sister. She does hire him
for yard work and helped with his college essays. But my son is hurt,
especially when he compares her gift to the many $25, $50, even
$100 gift cards he got from many people much less close. Do I say
something or shut up?
She may in fact be cheap. Or she may feel that she’s already done a
lot for your son. Or it may be that this is what she can afford now. It’s
always hard to see into people’s heads and hearts. Better to know
your own and to use this as a teaching moment for your son. Money’s
nice but perhaps the book will be something meaningful down the
You do have the option of being less close or less inclusive. But I
would caution about saying anything directly. What will be tempting is
to say, [Son’s name] got $xyz in gifts. Try to let this go if you don’t
have any other running beefs in the friendship. If you do, and have
been sitting on other slights or resentments, you can use this as an
opening to a conversation about your friendship. But tread lightly until
you listen to her as well. She clearly sees this differently than you.
Also, be sure your son writes (or calls) a thank you to her and anyone
who gave him a gift. This is a good opportunity to learn how not to
have expectations and to practice good manners.