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Is It Rude To Give Your Broke Friend Used Clothes She Didn’t Ask For?

   

Throughout the month of march, in addition to new stories, we will be posting some of the timeless stories from our archives.

clothes

Question From a Reader:

My friend and her husband who were doing really well before, have been having a rough time financially for some months and she has had to cut down on a lot of her expenses just to stay out of debt  until things get better. They still manage to keep their home together and go about their normal activities and she doesn’t go around complaining about it.

I noticed that she has started shopping from cheap shops that she would normally not go to before for herself and the kids. I know we all like quality things, so I figured that it must be killing her inside that she and her kids now wear inferior things. I called the attention of our other friends to it and we decided to gather some of our children’s high quality used clothes and toys to give her. Some of us also contributed some clothing items for her too (some used, some new but all really nice and expensive things).

We went to their house with excitement and presented them with the gifts but we were really disappointed at their reaction, they didn’t seem to be excited about it, the husband left after some minutes and didn’t come out of the room till we left. We haven’t seen any of those items on her or her kids. We all concluded that they are just being too proud for their own good, but every time I see her, I always think maybe there was an element of rudeness in what we did.  I really don’t know.

Answers From:

Shola:  When people are going through a rough time, the best way to help them is to be there for them the way they want you to be. The only way to know that is by asking. For all you know what she really needs may be for you to help her with the school runs when she is out chasing a job! It is always good to ask first, but hey! you did what you  thought was good, stop beating yourself about it.

Chioma: I don’t think you guys were rude, I think she is a very proud person that doesn’t want to accept the fact that she doesn’t have money anymore. A beggar has no choice, she needs to learn how to swallow her pride and accept things from people, she needs it.

Dee: What type of friendship have you all shared with her before and after her financial crisis and how genuinely concerned have you all been to her before the donation? These things matter. I won’t have a problem taking these stuff from a good friend that I know will always have my back, but I will not appreciate it if it comes from someone that is not that close to me. I think taking clothes from people is a really intimate thing, and except I am in a do or die situation, which she clearly wasn’t, I won’t be so excited about it too.

Tosin: Sometimes we are so fast to throw pity parties for people because it makes us feel good about ourselves, perhaps making her a charity case makes you feel good about yourself and she saw right through it.  Some people will rather wear their cheap stuff with their heads up high while they work hard to get what they want than to wear used expensive clothes from friends and be made a laughing stock forever. Everyone is entitled to some self pride.

 

What do you think?

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. tbs4real@yahoo.co.uk'

    Tunbosun

    January 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I find this very personal.
    Giving is a very personal thing and it is of the mind. It was a great idea you told your circle of friend about your friends but you erred in the process of giving:
    one: You had insiders information about your friends predicament, and instead of asking her.. you asked others. in situations like this, she doesnt really need anything from you guys cos you confirm they are getting by, it was just the excesses they lacked.
    two: Giving is too personal to go in a train, and i love how the husband reacted… He is a real man, how about he walks you out? You weren’t going to a motherless home na, so you all stylishly dressed, knocks on the door and says yaaaa.. we know you need this, so we got it for you, because we have the money and you don’t. Life isnt like that.

    In my experience, people like to recieve but they want to know the truth, whats your motive for giving? what conditions are the items? and they adore confidentiality… cos they are going to wear it like they bought it, so a crowd knowledge defects that.

    Pls call your friend and apologize and dont ask about those clothes or anything at all you gave to her. Instead just show her you are a good friend that has her back and going by men, you will have a lot of work to do to get that family back.

  2. lohiscreations@gmail.com'

    Lohi

    January 17, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I agree with Dee. it depends on the kind of relationship I ahve with these friends. If its my close friend, sure… if not. Nah.

  3. Oluwaseunadegbayibi@yahoo.com'

    Seun Adegbayibi

    January 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

    What you people did, wasn’t wrong but one has to be careful, you should have given her money rather. I agree with what tunbosun said

  4. sadeadu23@yahoo.com'

    Adu Folasade

    March 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I do not think what you did was rude but we all are different and react differently to situations. As for the husband, no man likes to be seen as inadequate or incapable of providing for his family. Your taking those clothes to their house must have made him feel that way. I agree to the comments that says you should have asked first.

  5. youthmakingchange@gmail.com'

    Jennifer

    March 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I agree with Tosin. Don’t assume you know what someone is going through and make quick attempt to fix their lives to make yourself feel good. Actually ask. Your asking and show of concern might be all they need.

  6. esurunma@gmail.com'

    Rita

    March 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    It would have been better to ask her or to give new clothes.

  7. ednutey5@gmail.com'

    Yetunde

    March 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    First of all, you need to understand that a friend in need is not a beggar – and i agree with those who say you need to ask before you know for sure what your friend needs you to be at the time. However, you need to understand that friendship and trust in times of hardship is a delicate thing… even if you wanted to give your friend clothes etc, you should have done it secretly and kept it private, between the two of you, and not have conferred with other ‘friends’, thereby effectively making your friend a laughing stock. You need to understand that not everybody sees things the same way you do, and be careful to protect your friend’s, and her family’s dignity.

  8. ronkepat@yahoo.com'

    ronke

    March 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I quite agree with Shola.You should have discussed with her first. Some people are not proud but know that they are able to handle any situation that comes their way. Also, they might not be sure of the motive behind it.a lot of so called friends do stuff like this to mock.You should discuss with your friend and apologise to her hubby. Let them know you care . Cheers

  9. omoteedlaw@gmail.com'

    apinke

    March 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    They are down financially. Their house didn’t burn. An envelope with some cash presented individually and discreetly would have been better. And of cos, it depends a lot on your relationship prior to the wahala.

  10. hugodamsi@yahoo.com'

    Sara

    March 23, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Oh, how mortifying! You have a good heart but that was such a no-no! Everyone’s said it all: you should’ve asked! I’ve been in a similar situation. I needed clothes for my older daughter. I usually prefer to shop in bulk when I travel as its cheaper for me. But I’d been unable to. My very close friend who lives abroad called to say someone was coming to Naija and if I needed anything. I told her I did, but didn’t have cash to send to her at the time. She said no wahala,she’d picl stuff and I could send the money later. But she added discretely that her own daughter had tons of clothes that were given as gifts, some she hadn’t worn, some just once or twice. Would I mind if she added them? I really appreciated d thought and was grateful. I even sent her a pic of my daughter wearing one of the dresses. The diff is that it was discrete and she asked me and I love her for it. In the other scenario I would have been embarassed and would probably give the clothes away immediately. I won’t be so rude as to reject it but I won’t use them ever.

  11. re_thots@yahoo.com'

    Rethots

    March 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Personally, what you did comes across as rude and infringement on their ‘personal space’.

    Times changes for us all at different seasons, what’s important is when this happens, we learn to adapt to these changing seasons. This they did very well “…she has started shopping from cheap shops…” that she wouldn’t have shopped at these shops before is irrelevant because they are adapting. Doing what they can sustain or is sustainable.

    In my opinion, when we ‘think’ (emphasis on think, even though we all like to base our judgement on appearances) friends are going through difficult times, the best we can do it be there for them. If we are (sincerely) there, they will make requests of us that are comfortable with them.

    If we want to use our discretion, then, we shouldn’t insult their persons by getting for them what they are already getting for themselves (even if we think what they are getting is inferior). Rather, offer to do what they ain’t doing but, we know they used to (or would love to do).

    “Nothing broken, nothing missing.”

  12. cuulme@gmail.com'

    eya

    March 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

    There is nothing wrong with donating clothing items to help a friend in need but I do not like the idea of discussing the matter with other friends before donating. If you had gone alone with your few items without letting the left hand know what the right is giving, I don’t know but I think she would have appreciated you guys giving as individuals and not as a group cos she is not a charity case.

    For me, I’d prefer my cheap clothing to used clothes from friends cos most women talk too much!

  13. omogenikky@hotmail.com'

    Manny

    March 26, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I find Chioma’s response very condescending. A beggar has no choice? Really. She didn’t beg for the cloths. Her friend noticed that she was buying from “inferior” shops and decided to call other people and then they all carried their legs there with used cloths to donate to them. That’s not right. A true friend covers your shame and preserves your dignity. Why not ask her first how they are faring and if there was any way she could help. If you guys were really that close to her, she would have shared her needs with you.

  14. stellyadetayo@gmail.com'

    Stella

    March 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    The thotfulness and show of concern would have been appreciated better if only a call had been put across to the friend who kinda needed help although did not ask for it. this is a lesson to all of us not to always draw conclusions on anyone becos i like the fact that instead of pretending abt their financial status, the family decided to cut their clothe according to the cloth available not their size. May we always be happy!

  15. chiikpeama@yahoo.co.uk'

    Cheesweet

    October 27, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Dat action was not only rude but insulting. Assumption is d lowest form of knowledge. Your friend never complained to u or to anyone else, and u conveyed her family’s predicament to other friends. *Insult No 1* and u all trooped to her house with bags of used clothes as though u were going on a charity visit to an orphanage. Dats quite bad. If I were ur friend, am sure I would have broken down in tears by dat singular action. Plz go apologize to ur friend cos u went about an unsolicited help d wrongest of ways.

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