I was unemployed for most of this year, and even though I have a job now I'm just starting to get back on my feet financially. My BFF knows this, and I thought we'd agreed to skip presents this year, but the other night she gave me this really awesome, thoughtful gift. Should I cop to the fact that I didn't get her anything or run out & pick up something last-minute, even though I really can't afford it? I hate feeling like a scrub on Christmas!
Bea Arthur, LMHC
Don’t let TLC mess with your head: Just because you’re broke, that doesn’t make you a scrub. Look, your best friend loves you and obviously knows you aren't a shady person, which is why she got you such a nice gift. I doubt she did it just to show off, so I definitely don’t recommend rushing to buy something on Gilt out of guilt. Feelings of resentment can breed when you do something out of obligation instead of appreciation, and your BFF needs your fabulous friendship more than she needs a fabulous new iPhone case.
But, don’t worry, there are plenty of cheaper gift options that still show someone you were thinking of them: flowers, a scrapbook, movie tickets, a bottle of three-buck Chuck wrapped in a coupon for a free hug — get creative! And, in the New Year, try not to let your financial status affect how you feel about yourself. Money matters for many things but it doesn’t make you as a person any better or worse. You’re coming out of a stressful year, but you survived and learned how resourceful and resilient you could be. So, shake off your shame and start to see yourself as your friends do: wonderful and worthy. Best of luck in your new job and in the New Year — Happy Holidays!