Every year since I turned 18, my older brother has given me a 3-pack of condoms for my birthday with a note that says, "Maybe this year, loser."

The first time it happened, I just kind of laughed it off. But I just turned 22 this year, and he is still doing this.

What makes this particularly strange is that I don't think he's ever been in a relationship of any kind.

He and I are otherwise pretty close, and we have a relationship as good or better than what most brothers have. I'm struggling to find a way to broach this subject with him, however. How can I let him know that this "tradition" needs to stop, without hurting his feelings?

  • Hey sam, could you tell us what you have thought of telling him and why you think it's not a good idea?
    – Ael
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 17:08
  • 2
    Up the ante, buy him something more embarassing (like a Dildo) and gift it to him at the same time (Saw this and thought of you).
    – JMK
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


There are three ways that I've tried to get people to stop doing stuff. The first is to ask them to stop. That sometimes works; more often than not the other party says "Hey, that bothers OldPrussian. Let's do it more!" And the problem gets worse instead of better.

The second way I've tried to get people to stop doing things is to make it their problem instead of mine. Once people get inconvenienced by their own actions, their behavior stops pretty quickly. However, you may be seen as being petty.

The third way I've managed to get people to stop doing something is to embrace it wholeheartedly. I make it so that they not only see it doesn't bother me; I make it seem that others take part in it as well.

In this case, I'd make him my condom supply person. I'd call him weekly and tell him I need more. I'd thank him for the gift and let him know that they were very useful. (Whether they were or not is irrelevant; I want him to think he's doing a favor and not that he's making a gag gift.) Give them to friends. Sell them online; it really doesn't matter how you dispose of them. The whole point of this approach is to approach it with enthusiasm and make it more fun for you to receive them than for you to get them. I'd even up the ante - if you have mutual friends I'd invite them to play along as well. "Hey Bob, Fred says you give out condoms. Can I stop by and get some?" That generally turns the tables, is fun for both of us, and makes an undesired behavior stop.

  • 7
    similar to your third method if you turn the tables on them so their joke backfires they usually stop real fast. In this case if the brother were shy about revealing his choice of gift to anyone else in the family you could point out at the next family gathering that the brother doesn't have a use for his condoms and is giving them away
    – BKlassen
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 22:56
  • And if you ask for ever increasing supplies, it will start to become a financial issue for him, too :) Good idea, indeed.
    – virolino
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 6:00

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