Friday, June 9

You be the judge: should my brother give me better birthday presents? | Brothers and sisters

The Accusation: Elsie

My brother is very strict about birthday expenses and refuses to make an effort.

Ollie, my little brother, is a nightmare every time a birthday comes around in our family, but he’s especially bad on mine. I am thinking of banning gifts between us as it has caused some discussion.

He doesn’t put in the same amount of effort that I do for him. For years, he didn’t even get me a card, while I try my best. I know it’s partly because I’m five years older than him, so when we were kids I didn’t expect much. But now that he’s 24, it offends me. Over the years I have given him designer shirts, coupons for clothing and electronics that he has asked for. He bought me a cheap grocery card with the sticker still on it, a scented candle that smelled like nothing, and a horrible, scratchy scarf.

A few years ago I broke down and told him that his gifts were not up to par. Ollie apologized, but last year I got a text on the day and a cheap bouquet of flowers a month late. That year I had bought him some AirPods.

For her 21st birthday, I bought her an expensive engraved gold necklace. He was very grateful, but that year I didn’t even get a birthday card, he completely forgot. I texted him the next day saying, sarcastically, “Thanks for your birthday text,” and he said he’s sorry, he’s been stressed out with his new job, but I don’t think that’s a valid excuse.

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Our little brother is very close with Ollie and they exchange decent gifts all the time. Maybe it’s because they’re kids, or maybe Ollie just knows what to get him. As an older sister, I feel like I always have a responsibility to fulfill birthdays, and her lack of effort makes me sad. Birthdays are a time to show a loved one that you care.

He’s known me for over 20 years, so he should know what to get me. It is especially important as we grow older. He has to start being more considerate with gifts or it will continue to affect our relationship. I feel like I should start spending less and being less considerate, which is horrible, but what other solution is there?

Defense: Ollie

I admit I could do better giving birthday presents, but Elsie never tells me what she wants.

I’m terrible with gifts, but usually it’s because I forget Elsie’s birthday or because I’m worried. This year I have put the date on my calendar, but I should have done it earlier.

Girls are really hard to buy for and Elsie never tells me what she wants. I don’t have a girlfriend, so how am I supposed to know what to do? In the past, when I tried to keep things simple with gifts, Elsie took offense.

The time I bought him a scented candle, he thanked me to my face, and then months later I heard from our little brother that he had actually been upset about it. He won’t tell me until long after the birthday has passed. I’d love for you to make some gift suggestions to get a rough idea of ​​what to get her.

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Over the years, he has gotten carried away with me when I forget his birthday. She says, “I don’t know why I bother.” That’s his favorite line. I mailed her flowers last year, but they were late: it was a lockdown, everyone was stressed. She wasn’t impressed, but at least I did something. I think he also has a bit of a grudge when I give our brother, Michael, a nice gift, but it’s easier to buy because we’re closer in age and he’s a boy.

It is true that Elsie is very good with my birthday. She has always been a super considerate older sister. One year he got me this amazing gold chain that I had wanted for a long time. I thought my parents would buy it for me, but Elsie told me she wanted it to be hers. She loves the feeling of being a good gift giver, and I wouldn’t want to take that role away from her. It’s just that Elsie secretly wants me to pay her for all the gifts she gives me and I’m not up to her level.

I don’t have her budget either – I have a low-paying entry-level job, while Elsie is a manager. I’ll try to escalate it, because I want to preserve our relationship, but she can’t expect me to match her. That’s not what giving gifts is about, after all.

The Guardian Readers Jury

Should Ollie try harder when buying gifts??

What bothers Elsie the most is Ollie’s lack of effort, not the price, especially since he tries harder for his brother. Ollie knows that his thoughtlessness upsets Elsie, so there is no excuse. He is guilty and should up his game.
Nadine, 56

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Elsie seeks business solutions to what is an existential problem. You should consider having a real conversation with your brother instead of covering up the cracks in your relationship with vouchers.
Jack, 29

In general, I’m on Ollie’s side. You give gifts because you want to give, not because you want something similar in return. Not everyone shows their feelings for others in this way, so Elsie should have a broader perspective. However, Ollie should mark his birthday in some way, as he clearly cares.
Michael, 52

Ollie’s excuse that “girls are too hard to buy for” is really bad. Apart from this, Elsie needs to accept that giving gifts depends on our ability to spend. She is thoughtful and puts her heart into it, but her demand for matching gifts takes some of that away.
Nicholas, 35

Elsie says “he should already know what to get me”. Because I should? He’s a 24 year old single guy! They need clues or a list of possibilities. Perhaps Elsie could prepare her mother with some suggestions in advance (within Ollie’s price range, of course) and pass them on tactfully.
Charles, 83

you are the judge

So now you can be the judge, click the poll below to tell us: Should Ollie give Elsie better birthday presents?

The survey closes on Thursday 27th January at 9 am GMT

We’ll share the results in next week’s You be the Judge.

last week’s result

We ask Annabelle if she should stop hogging the TV since it annoys her father, Mick.

61% you said no – Annabelle is innocent
39% of you said yes – Annabelle is guilty

Have a disagreement you’d like to resolve? Or do you want to be part of our jury? Click here

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