Friends and Gift Giving – Advice Column

Dear English Friend,

So I have this really good friend who I’ve been friends with for a long time, but lately I’ve been feeling upset with her. For the past couple years, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the gifts we give each other for birthdays. For example, for her birthday this year I bought her this really nice charm bracelet and a box of expensive chocolates, but for my birthday which comes after she bought me a shirt which I looked up online and saw cost only $10 at X store.

I know that makes me sound petty, but there is a big difference in our incomes and living styles. She has a much bigger house and a much better paying job than I do, yet I am buying her these meaningful gifts and making all the effort. I tried gently talking to her about my concerns, and it kind of spiraled into a fight with her calling me, you guessed it, really petty and weird for “monitoring the price of gifts”.

Am I being petty? Or is SHE, because she’s the one buying me cheap birthday gifts? I guess I could stop buying such nice gifts for her, but I don’t want to come down to her level because I value her and her special day.

—Unsure

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Boyfriend Smokes – Advice Column

Dear English Friend,

I have been dating this guy for the last few months. I first went out with him because he is very nice and sweet, but on the fourth date I realized he is a smoker (he hadn’t smoked in front of me during our first 3 dates). It didn’t really bother me because I was so attracted to him and he is just the loveliest person ever and I figured it’s his choice anyways. But now his smoking is really bothering me and I don’t know what to do. Some of my friends who are really against smoking have also told me they won’t hang out with me anymore if I bring my boyfriend along because they hate smoking. I tried talking to him about it, but he didn’t really want to talk about it and said that he has been a smoker for a long time and that I do things he doesn’t like but he doesn’t tell me to stop doing them.

What should I do? I don’t want to keep smelling smoke, but I don’t want to break up with him either.

—confused heart

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