Is it Rude to Give Back a Gift?

Receiving gifts, whether, for a holiday, birthday, party, or some other occasion, there is a certain etiquette that needs to be adhered to (if you wish to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings).

So, what happens when someone gives you a gift that you simply don’t want or need? 

Is it rude to give back a gift to someone? Even if you don’t want/need it? Read on below and find out the in-depth answer!

Is it Rude to Give Back a Gift?

It isn’t rude to give a gift back to someone if you don’t want it or can’t use it. That, however, does not mean that the person won’t be slightly offended (or upset), even if they pretend otherwise. This all depends on how well you know the person, and whether or not you take the time to thoroughly explain why you gave/want to give the gift back to them.

How Rude Is it?


Giving back a gift yields 2 out of 10 on the rude meter. The most significant reason for the low rudeness factor is that once you explain to the gift-giver why you are giving the gift back to them they should understand that it is nothing personal (therefore there is nothing rude about the action).

Keep in mind that if you give a gift back to someone, and they know for a fact that you like it, need it, or even asked them for it, they are likely to see the action as rude (and our rude meter may jump up to the much higher rude-rating of 7 out of 10, rather than 2).

Other Options to Do Instead

If you really can not/do not want to keep a gif you have received from someone (for whatever reasons), consider these other options to do instead:

  • Re-gift the gift to someone who will appreciate it more
  • Put it on the shelf for a rainy day (or to give back years later)
  • Use the gift even though it isn’t your cup of tea
  • Return the gift to the store for credit or cash
  • Exchange the gift at the store for another item
  • List the gift for sale online
  • Thank the gift giver but decline taking the gift in the first place (and explain why)

Common Questions

How rude is it to give a gift back to someone?

It isn’t actually considered rude to give a gift back to someone. However, how rude the gift giver perceives this action depends on how you handle it (as well as whether or not there is a legit reason for you giving the gift back to them.

Should I return a gift that someone bought me?

It is often a better option to return a gift to the store if you have the receipt, sell it online, or even give it away to someone who could use it. Returning a gift to the store is much less likely to offend the gift-giver (especially if they don’t know about it, or you tell them how much you love the thing you returned/exchanged it for).

What do I do with a gift that I don’t like/don’t want?

When you receive a gift from someone that you just really don’t like, or don’t want anything to do with, you have a few options; give the gift back to the one who gave it to you, gift it to someone else, return it to the store for cash, exchange it for another gift, post it online for sale, or set it on a shelf and forget all about it.