Suggestions needed for odd question

reader77May 28, 2011

Hope it's o.k. to post this strange question in this forum.

I am a widow (6 years) in my late 70's. Recently a couple from my church invited me to have Sunday brunch with them at a local country club. It was very elegant, and I assume, expensive. She made it clear it was their "treat".

To thank them (in addition to a note), I gave them a pound cake from a bakery specializing in such items. Now they have invited me again - I want to thank them, of course. I don't cook a lot now ( and I was never a good cook!), so I need to get them something.

I thought of flowers, but she has certain allergies. I could take them to lunch at a nice place - I am on a limited income, so I can't do that too often. I know they go to expensive places that I can't afford!

Should I refuse any future invitations? I did that once, as I did have other plans. I don't want to offend them, so I would appreciate suggestions.

P.S. They seem to have "adopted" me this year! Calls, cards, etc. He is a bit older than me, she is several years younger.

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Hi reader - how nice; they sound like lovely people who genuinely enjoy your company. I wouldn't feel that you have to thank them with something every time. That gets uncomfortable for you and for them. Imagine - they might think that they should stop inviting you because you get them something each time - and they know you're on a limited budget, etc.

Every gesture doesn't have to be repaid. Your friendship is a nice thing for them; let them enjoy that without the burden of a reciprocal gift each time (the burden would be on you and on them).

This isn't the same, but has a similar feeling. I visit a friend in another state about twice a year. Each time, I take her something as a hostess gift. Also, while I've been there, on occasion I will buy something for her that she admires (not something big at all). But the "problem" is that every time I visit, absolutely everything that I've ever given her is out and readily visible. It makes me feel like she intentionally puts things out so that I know she likes them. Now, that makes me uncomfortable and I hate to think that she feels she has to do it.

So - I mentioned it to her. I just told her that she really shouldn't feel that she has to have those things out; like anything and anybody, we go through stages of having things away and then out, and I don't give her things so that she has to display them all the time (or at all!). She thanked me.

My point is, don't spoil your new friends' enjoyment of being with you by making it uncomfortable by feeling you have to reciprocate with a gift. Send them a card now and then for no reason (such as not after a particular meal out) - just to say hello and have a nice day. Little random things like that are far better than a one-for-one "repayment".

Congratulations on being the type of person that others want to spend time with!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:08AM
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Thanks for your nice comments, Susieque.

This couple has lived and worked all over the world, and they are interesting to me. I ask them lots of questions about other countries, and they enjoy reminiscing.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:00PM
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Sounds like a win-win to me, reader. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Sounds like they really do enjoy your company & what fun to hear about other countries & eat at nice places you can't afford. Same thing happened to me at church, my hubby died when he was only 48 & older couple asked me out to get better acquainted & it was great fun. When I was1st married, we were invited out by another couple that were much older than us, but they were childless. I think they loved hearing about our plans to buy a house & have a couple of kids. We were thrilled to hear about some of their trips to other countries as we had never traveled except to move from Midwest to Ca. We often ate with them & they always paid even tho we tried to pick up the bill occasionally. We were sorry to see them move to be close to aging relatives. I think we each had something the other couple needed. We were lonely for our folks, they missed out on having kids. I know when I was widowed a lot of people disappeared. We had always been "a couple",that hurt to see people avoid me. So enjoy your lovely friends, listen to the lady to hear her favorite colors & maybe get her some note cards,a floral fridge magnet,collection they have you could add something to or if she is good cook (according to her or her hubby) try to get a friend that is a good cook to give you her recipe for a special dish you like & write it up nice & tell your lady friend you thought of her & that you think she'll enjoy this dish. Just some little thing 3-4 times a year to let them know you enjoy them. Jan

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 1:51AM
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I like all the suggestions you have gotten.

Here's another: make a donation to their favorite charity (or, if you don't know it, one that you know they would support) in their honor. Like wine or flowers, you can do that multiple times without adding to their collection of possessions.

A small potted flowering plant or herb with a pretty ribbon is usually less expensive than cut flowers. I know I love when people bring me that.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 1:51PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the good suggestions.

I will be trying some of them soon.

You all are a nice group of folks (that's Southern for "people"!!)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 5:00PM
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