Life Advice



Ask Amy: Time to sell a gift that has outlived a friendship

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Eighteen months ago, a friend gave me two highly collectible vintage items. I had always loved them, and she said she didn't care for them anymore.

About a year ago she abruptly moved across the country to live with her boyfriend, and cut all contact with everybody; it's clear that she has no intention of speaking with me again.

I still have the items she gave to me, and while I do like them, since our relationship ended on a sour note I don't want to keep them.

I want to sell them, since they're quite valuable (about $800 for the pair), but to complicate things I'm really great friends with her brother, “James,” who still lives in my city.

James and his sister shared the items in childhood (a gift from their mother), and so I'm feeling torn. Would it be rude of me to sell them? I don’t think he has any interest in keeping them (his sister told me this), and they'd probably just get put in storage.

Should I give him a portion of the money, or ask permission to sell them?


Is it OK to just sell them and keep the money?

– Deliberating

Dear Deliberating: These items were given to you and, because they are now your property, you have the right to sell them.

However, since you still have a very close relationship with one of the members of this family, the ethical thing to do is to offer these items to him.


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