Dear Abby: My gift to a friend ended up for sale online

The dress was meant to be worn or altered, and the giver is angry that it was surrendered.

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DEAR ABBY: I used to collect vintage dresses, many of which I bought online from retailers for several hundred dollars each. I reluctantly sold some on consignment after a breakup — you know, “out with the old, in with the new.” But I kept ones that were beautiful works of vintage art.

A friend of mine (I’ll call her “Gabbi”) likes to sew, and I offered her one of the dresses I’d been hanging onto, to wear or craft with. I wanted her to turn it into something meaningful for herself instead of keeping it buried in my closet.

Last weekend we had lunch. When I asked her how it fit or what she planned to do with it, she told me she had given it to someone I don’t know to sell on a clothing resale site. I can’t help but feel angry. I know I gifted it to Gabbi, but I think what she did was rude. If she had asked me if it was OK to give it away, I would have asked for it back.

How do I stop harboring this feeling? Every time I think of her now, I get upset. The next day, after our lunch, we went to an estate sale and Gabbi brought up this other person again — “I should have invited ‘Bethany’ so she could find merch to resell.” I think Gabbi is oblivious about how she makes other people feel. What do you think? — TAKEN ABACK IN ALABAMA

DEAR TAKEN ABACK: You generously tried to help Gabbi by giving her the dress, but unless you specified that it was a collectible item and if she couldn’t use it you wanted it returned, you shouldn’t blame her. From my vantage point, it seems Gabbi is generously trying to help a friend who needs to make some money. I hope you will let go of your disappointment because if you can’t, you may destroy a valued relationship.

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, a couple of months before my 41st birthday, I found out that the man who raised me (I’ll call him “Norm”) is not my biological father. Norm is a wonderful, loving father figure, who has made clear that this changes nothing between us.

Because this discovery was heartbreaking at first, my parents decided not to tell Norm’s parents or siblings about it. Initially, I supported their decision because, after my biological father made it clear he wanted nothing to do with me, it made sense to leave it alone. But now, with my grandparents in failing health, I feel they should know. I just don’t know if it would do more harm than good at this point. — THROWN IN KANSAS

DEAR THROWN: What do you think you will accomplish by telling Norm’s parents at this point? You have been their grandchild for four decades. Because their health is precarious, they may not need to hear anything that would upset them. I vote for keeping this “news” private, as Norm and your mother have requested.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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