Reciprocating dinner invites, gifts, everything!

by Sherrie
(Spokane, Washington )

My husband and I have this debate..He believes if someone unexpectedly gives a gift, you must reciprocate.. Say someone who gave a gift box of nuts that you hadn’t expected to receive. I say, we don’t need to give gifts to everyone who gives us one. Its often from those who have more...sometimes much more $ than we do. I feel I would do the same if I had the means, but would never want the receiver to feel they need to reciprocate. My husband also feels the same about dinner invites. We may have someone from church say...”Hey, want to come over for dinner next week after church”? These are always very casual and we’ll usually ask what we can bring. My husband feels we need to keep up the tally. If someone invited us twice and we’ve only invited them once then he feels we owe them an invite. I don’t feel this way. I like it to feel more genuine and organic. Hopefully I’m not way off here so I can tell him that I asked a professional and he can relax..that it’s not necessary to keep a running tally.

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Reciprocating Kindness
by: Ms Practical Etiquette

Hi Sherrie,

Thank you for your interesting question. In reality, you are both right. That may seem like a strange answer, but what it comes down to is no one is "required" to give a gift or invite people to dinner, etc. It comes down to what do you feel is right? There are no prescribed rules of etiquette that says you must reciprocate just because someone shared a kindness with you. You reciprocate because you feel you want to do it, that the other person, couple, etc. are important enough to you that you want to express that "thank you" for embellishing your life.

Hope this helps,

Ms. Practical Etiquette

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