I Despise Indian Givers

I came across an article on Slate that stirred up the emotions I have towards Indian Givers.

Indian Givers (please excuse the rather politically incorrect phrase) are givers who give something away, but want it back.

I would also argue that an Indian Giver is also someone who gives something away, but is angered by a person’s use of the item.

Aside from parents giving a child something as a test of responsibility, I think that once a gift is given, a gift is given — no strings attached.

A Personal Example

My friend gave me a watch for Christmas. By chance, I also received another watch, which in my opinion was far nicer. Since I had no use for my friend’s watch, I decided to sell it to my roommate at the time. My roommate, after a little while, decided to give it to my other roommate.

My friend came to visit one time and asked where the watch he gave me was. I explained what happened and he became very furious and said, “See if I ever buy anything for you again.”

My friend’s reaction slightly peeved me. If I knew the gift was going to come with strings attached, I never would have accepted it in the first place.

Please Don’t be an Indian Giver

If you give someone a gift, give it and forget about it. If that friend or person makes use of that gift, great. If the friend decides to sell the gift at the next garage sale, great. Once you give the gift, it should no longer be your concern. After all, you “gave” it away didn’t you? It’s no longer yours.

What do you think about Indian Givers? Do you have your own personal rant to share?

5 thoughts on “I Despise Indian Givers”

  1. Whoever came up with the phrase "Indian Giver" should be horsewhipped.

    I guess I'm lucky than I never had such problems with presents givers. But I do agree with your position – do whatever you want with my gifts, and let me do the same.

  2. inspirationbit,

    If you find out who coined the term, I shall join you in the whipping.

    I'm glad you haven't had that experience. I can see how some people might have a "vested interest" in the things they give. In those situations, I think it is better for that person to not give in the first place.

  3. Being Indian, I don't think I can really relate to this term, although I can probably find evidence of it somewhere in my family. In fact, this is probably the first time I've ever heard either the term or of the action. That's just weird :O

  4. I think I'm 1/64th Indian or something like that. I've heard the term used throughout my life. Perhaps it's time to give a new phrase: "People who give to take". If you can think of something shorter than that, I'll rephrase my title. 🙂

  5. Side thought: from my tiny bit of research on the phrase, it came from Indians who "gave" settlers something and then wanted it back. The settlers thought it was a real gift, hence the confusion out of which the phrase was born.

    Why do you think someone should be horsewhipped over the origin of a phrase? It may not be tactful or PC to say it now, but that has no bearing on how it originated.

    The other watch you had was far superior to the watch I bought from you. Or should I say it was much inferior to your Seiko? Hence the re-gifting to our respective roommate, as it were. I would have gladly taken the Seiko off your hands (wrist?). 😀


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