I'm an adult male in his late 20's and have been living on my own for several years with a good job. My dad every so often will go to garage sales or the store and see something interesting he thinks I'd like. These are usually small things, typically under $50. However, I have my own tastes in things and what would fit in my life. As an example, he may know that my coffee pot broke and I'm looking around for a new one. He'll buy me a red one when my kitchen is color-coded stainless steel/black.

I just found out he bought me a shelf, which I need, but haven't bought on my own because I was still trying to figure out what style/shape would best fit in my apartment. If I see something he gets me and I don't like it, I start feeling ungrateful. What makes it even worse is that I'm much more well off than my dad.

How can I convey to him kindly that I just don't like some things he buys me and that he should either stop buying me things or consider that I won't like everything he gets?

  • I just edited the question to make it more on-topic, because we cannot get your dad to stop, but we can help you approach him to tell him to stop buying things for you. If you disagree with the edits, feel free to roll them back.
    – ElizB
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 16:23
  • 3
    Could you clarify if your goal is for him to buy you things you like or for him to stop buying you gifts? Your title suggests one thing, your final question suggest a different one.
    – Charmander
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 16:35
  • 3
    Hi Jared, have you seen these questions? How to get rid of an unwanted gift from in-laws without hurting feelings? and Asking family members to not send gifts both have some similar elements. Have you tried talking to your dad about this yet, and if so how did that go?
    – Em C
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 17:28
  • In practice, when I give gifts that depend on someone’s taste, they will come with a gift receipt. May be it’s a U.K. thing, but it means you can go to the store with your gift and gift receipt and replace it with something else. And from my point of view it tells the receiver “this is what I like, but you have your own taste, so exchange it for something else you prefer”. It’s like a gift voucher but with a bit more effort from the person making the gift. And it explicitly says “No, you’re not hurting my feelings”. Show the dad and it may solve the problem instantly.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


I would have a conversation with your dad and explain it to him just like you explained it in the question - that you appreciate the gesture, but you don't need these items. Explain to him that you prefer to buy things for your apartment by yourself, and that you just don't have space for all the things he's buying for you.

It's possible that this is your dad's way of showing his love for you, so maybe suggest other ways of doing so - such as meaningful activities you could do together.


I'd handle this problem in a two-step manner. First, explain to him that you appreciate him buying you these things, but you sometimes don't like the style, more or less like you explained it to us here. You've grown up with the man, so I assume you have some level of repore, I'm sure he'd understand what you're saying.

Secondly, I'd suggest to him that he could take pictures of things he's thinking of buying and send them to you, to make sure the style looks good. This is, of course, assuming you both have cell phones capable of sending and receiving images. This way you can confirm that the style is appropriate before he spends money on the thing.

If that idea isn't feasible for whatever reason, then perhaps there's another way to check in advance. Perhaps your father could simply call you and describe it, or perhaps you could start going on these little treasure hunts together and make it into a family bonding thing.

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