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Why do I feel bad when someone does something nice for me, specially if they buy me gifts?

179 Answers
Last Updated: 01/13/2022 at 5:16pm
Why do I feel bad when someone does something nice for me, specially if they buy me gifts?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
January 5th, 2017 5:33am
When someone buys me a gift, it almost feels like an obligation has been created without my permission. I'm obligated to like it, to appreciate it, and to use it, so it feels like a gift with strings attached. It can make me feel powerless because someone is almost forcing me to reciprocate their gift with an emotional response that I didn't genuinely want to give them.
- Expert in Managing Emotions
March 21st, 2016 3:36am
Maybe subconsciously you believe that you do not deserve it. This could be due to many reasons example Childhood trauma and etc. You will need to open your heart to realize that you deserve all the good treatments and gifts given to you. And appreciate that people appreciates u.
October 12th, 2016 9:46am
That is because some part of you thinks you do not deserve that. Not the gift, but rather the affection behind it, the appreciation behind it. You feel like you've come up short in that area. You've not given them enough love, showed them enough affection. This feeling of "I haven't done enough for them" - is why you feel bad. But it could be just a perception or assumption of yours. You just feel like you haven't done enough for them, yet they are showering you with affection and love. :)
September 17th, 2016 6:26am
It's an issue of self esteem and self worth. The more you love yourself, the more you can genuinely understand why others would love and value you enough to give you gifts.
October 20th, 2016 2:38am
Probably because you are used to be the one doing that for people and you don't want them to do that for you. We gotta learn to give but to also receive, remember that :)
November 12th, 2016 10:28pm
It's because you don't feel like you're good enough or that you don't deserve it, you underestimate your importance to other people.
April 5th, 2017 11:26pm
I think that you feel bad when someone buys you something, because you don't want to feel like you're using them, or them thinking you as selfish. There's nothing wrong with it, but don't let it stop you from people doing random acts of kindness towards you.
March 22nd, 2016 7:15am
Hi5! I seriously feel the same way when someone buy me gift. I don't know maybe because we can afford it, and it is kind of offensive when people buy it for us. Or it can be that we just feel like that someone must have want something back from us.
September 14th, 2016 8:19pm
When you are not able to accept love and appreciation from others it means you were hurt badly at some point in your life; see life as it comes, it is unpredictable. you will have good and bad times. but this is life. it is beautiful, its a blessing. if u had any bad experience with one person it doesnt mean everyone will do the same so just try to accept love and appreciation. you deserve it.
January 19th, 2015 12:18pm
I think this is something we've all gone through before! I know it feels "wrong" but it really shouldn't - sometimes receiving a gift from someone gives us the innate feeling of obligation, as though we have to return the gift or the favour or else we're somehow in the person's "debt". This is of course unpleasant but the thing to do usually is ignore it. You realise that when you're on the giving end, you don't expect the person to return the gift, immediately at least. We shouldn't therefore worry about it either!
May 18th, 2015 4:38am
Part of it is probably because we feel like a burden once someone does something for us, even though we do not ask for it because we know that at some point in our lives we have thought about other people getting in the way of our free time just because we have to do something for them. With that, we get into the mindset of feeling bad when someone does something nice even though they do these nice things from the heart.
April 1st, 2017 11:48pm
Generally, people feel this way because they believe that they are burdens to others and don't deserve to get gifts or have nice things done for them. From my experience, it's because I lacked self-compassion and felt as if I didn't deserve any of the good things given to me. However, that's not true. Everyone deserves to be loved, and be treated with kindness. You are not a burden.
June 7th, 2016 2:44am
This could be a sign of feeling guilt. Regardless of whether the cause is justified or not, it can be hard or prevent to stop the feeling. You should try to locate a reason or cause for why you feel bad when nice things happen to you, and if you can't find one, then your feeling guilt is probably unwarranted. It sounds like in this case, feeling bad is unnecessary. The first step to dealing with feelings of guilt is observing and understanding them. Understand that in this situation, you did nothing wrong and you have no reason to feel bad :)
November 11th, 2016 5:18pm
You feel bad because since a young age you were taught to be modest, that you do not deserve this and that you aren't the center of the world. But you do deserve these gifts, the people giving them to you know you do, so accept them with a smile and a thank you.
November 25th, 2016 10:44am
The 'bad' feeling, in my experience, is something that can be explained in multiple ways. I myself tried to explain the guilt followed by a nice gesture or a gift from someone else and it is not easy. I came up with a few possibilities. A. Not being used on receiving; perhaps you are the person that people go to for support, advice, you are the one giving all the time. Being on the receiving end is a new, uncomfortable situation. B. Feeling like your independence is jeopardized by the person doing something nice for you or helping you out. Sometimes reaching for help can make us feel like we are weak; if the said help is provided to us without us asking for it, it might make us feel like the person that helps us/does something nice for us undermines our strength/independence. C. Thinking you do not deserve their kindness/money - which is, most likely, not true. In any case, if you do feel uncomfortable receiving attention/help/gifts from the people around you, please make sure they are aware of this. Furthermore, try to think of things that could actually constitute help/gifts, without being clearly it (asking a friend to go for a walk instead of them trying to take you out for a fancy meal, letting a friend pay for the tip, instead of awkwardly accepting them to cover the whole bill etc.)
October 30th, 2016 4:18am
You may feel a mental 'requirement' to recompensate, but not be able to and feel guilty because of it.
July 26th, 2016 3:02am
You may feel that you do not deserve a gift or that a person is trying to avoid being vulnerable with you and uses gifts to compensate for things that money can't buy. The last reason you feel bad might be that you feel people buy you gifts to lord over you.
November 24th, 2015 10:50pm
Perhaps it's just the feeling that you 'don't deserve it' (but I'm sure you do, otherwise they wouldn't have sent you a gift in the first place!) I get this feeling a lot, and i need a lot of reassurance about it. But hey, you get a gift for being awesome, keep it up, bud :)
February 10th, 2015 3:03am
Feeling like you don't deserve things? That might be an indicator of low self esteem, that you are not worthy of the gift they give you. Try to believe.
December 24th, 2016 5:39pm
It is okay to not be used to accepting gifts. Some people see it as a form of debt or favour since they didn't earn it. Important thing to understand is that the other person is doing it out of thankfulness and not to make you seem any less of a person.
November 22nd, 2018 2:53am
A natural human desire is to not want to be a burden. Being independent makes us feel in control of our lives, and makes us feel confident that we do not have to rely on anyone else. Often, when someone gives you a gift or does you a favor that they didn't have to, it can feel like you are taking advantage of them, or you're putting them out. Sometimes, there is a feeling of indebtedness to that person, because you feel guilty for taking something from them. It's important to remember that most of the time, people are not doing nice things for you with the expectation of getting something in return, or because they are obligated to--they are doing it because they care about you and want you to be happy.
September 21st, 2019 7:59pm
You are letting yourself believe, for some reason, that you're not worthy of other people's attention or praise. You should save a minute to reflect about the good qualities you have and realize you are important and be thankful when you receive a gift or a compliment, after all you deserve this and so much more. Be aware of the good you do for others and for yourself, learn to love yourself at any cost. Try not to think about others actions as mandatory acts, people often do go things to you because they care, and this is a really important thing. I hope this helps.
November 11th, 2016 6:25pm
Perhaps you feel like you don't deserve being treated kindly, don't deserve gestures of love and friendship. That's wholly wrong, you are a valuable individual and deserve admiration and respect. At times you might feel bad about yourself and question why anyone would even like you or want to be your friend, but it's important to remember that you often, your self-perception is warped and there are many good things about you, you might not see. Start accepting yourself and accept the love others give you.
June 23rd, 2015 11:10pm
Some people feel bad when others do nice things for them because they don't feel worthy. Some people feel like they are undeserving of kindness. You deserve good things to happen to you, so next time someone says something nice to you or buys you something, say thanks and smile because you know you deserve it.
November 9th, 2017 5:56pm
Because it creates an imbalance of power. I don't feel bad per say, I just don't want to end up feeling indebted to certain people.
March 10th, 2019 2:13pm
You may have problems with self esteem and confidence or you might feel that you don't deserve it . This is a completely solvable problem and you have to remember that somebody always loves you no matter what! Self esteem problems can be a result of abuse or and symptom of anxiety . There is a possibility that Feeling like you don't deserve something can also be because of guilt that you didn't put enough effort into the relationship as the other person . If that's the case a a true heartfelt talk with the person could reveal true feelings of both and you can work towards what you want
November 30th, 2016 6:16pm
While I don't know for certain, from personal experience, it could be possibly because you devalue yourself as a person. You may not feel deserving of the gift.
December 9th, 2016 10:40am
You are probably more used to giving than receiving and you are most definitely not alone. Learn to just say 'thank-you' and accept it. When you don't accept something that someone is trying to give you, sometimes they feel offended and sometimes you are denying them a blessing.
September 16th, 2016 8:09am
Specially then when someone sacrifice for gifting me. I feel bad that they avoided something just to do some nice to me.
December 20th, 2017 8:42pm
Perhaps you may feel undeserving of kindness, or that you're not good enough; while the truth is that we can have people or community in our lives that appreciate us for who we are and ultimately do want to see us do well.