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hey guys...... i'm back with another situation i need advice on. :mellow::unsure::unsure::unsure::unsure::unsure: i feel like crawling into a hole right now

so, yesterday (SUNDAY), i met with my research adviser who just wrote me several recommendations for grad. school. plus, we were both doing research in the department office, so i stopped by with some tea and croissant sandwiches i picked up on my way. i knew we were both working early, and i also knew he often complains about not having had enough time to run to the cafe to get food before. So while i was buying mine, i thought it would be considerate to get him some, too. an older colleague of mine worked with a different adviser, and occasionally bought food for her adviser, too, when it coincided with meal times, especially since they are going out of their way to meet with us in their free time. in addition to that, in order to thank him, i wrote a thoughtful thank you letter and a small gift that my parents INSISTED i buy - it was a gift card to the local cafe and a mug set (same place). where my dad works, he often receives gifts and when he/his friends teach at a college, gifts aren't seen as bad, but a nice gesture of appreciation. but my dad is an immigrant, keep in mind, and i was born and raised in the U.S.

anyway, i'm pretty sure this specific thesis adviser is ISTJ, but regardless, i'm still in dire need of your advice. my parents insisted i buy gifts for ALL the people who recommended me. i wanted to give a small gift, but they insisted i buy gift cards and a gift. this was on their bill, anyway. i remember in high school, everyone but me gave gifts to the teachers, so i thought that this time around, i would listen to what my parents told me instead of regretting it. my parents both went through grad. school in different countries so i felt i could trust them on this. plus, they said that even though rec. letters are part of their job, "who doesn't appreciate a gift as an appreciate of thanks?!"

when i dropped by and gave him the gift/tea/sandwiches, he said "well, we'll pretend this isn't a bribe." he didn't look happy about what i bought and put it aside the entire time talking to me. so now i feel awful. i just wanted to express my gratitude, because i know it takes a lot of time and effort to advise students outside of their own work. but i dont want him to think of me badly. i couldn't tell if he was being polite and politely passively telling me not to bring him any more things. or if he genuinely appreciated the concern/thanks? he didn't say thanks or anything, but he didn't treat me any differently (badly). i didn't get any response from him except putting everything i bought completely aside. did i do a major faux-pas? next time i see him, should i explain how my parents did their grad. degree in a different country where it was customary to buy tea/drinks and thank-you gifts? and in all honesty, i don't want this to positively or negatively influence the grade for the research i am doing for him in class. (btw, i am doing a post-bac degree right now - so im done with college, and doing a program that offers classes outside of my BA, before going into grad. school). if i were a professor, and a student bought me a gift out of appreciation, i personally wouldn't be bothered by it and i would keep the grading/research separate with my personal relationship with the student, but asdja;sdjakj ah, sorry, im just ranting now. :sad: i need some help with damage control. i think my professor doesnt like me now/hates me. before i end the post though, i acknowledge that i am low on sleep and when i am sleep deprived, i tend to be pessimistic. i dont know what he thinks of me? what do you guys think he thinks of me, based on what happened? and should i explain to him all this? and what are your personal opinions on giving gifts to professors
 

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This title of this thread sounds like the title of a dirty movie :laughing:

As far as a response on the actual post, no clue on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
are you serious...? in what way. O_O actually, i dont know if i want to know... lol... erhm well as another ISTJ, what do you think he thought about this entire situation given his actions? i cant tell what he's thinking at all....
 

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I think your professor just happens to be one of those people who naturally aren't comfortable with receiving gifts, including showing the appropriate reaction. Less likely is the chance that there'd been an actual incident that he's heard about, making him overly cautious.

For what it's worth, what you did doesn't legally constitute a bribery (obviously). I don't think you need to dwell on what he said either, because I'm pretty sure he didn't mean much by it. Furthermore I don't think his attitude would change toward you, which is the important thing.

What's also more important is that you made the gesture of thanks, and that's what really counts. Personally I'm with your parents regarding gift-giving, although I've never been to school in the US. What me and a couple of friends did for our advisor's birthday was give him a small potted plant, go over to his house to play with his one-year-old daughter and then gorge ourselves on the Chinese takeout that he ordered for us. One other student gave him a bottle of Johnny Walker to thank him for writing up recommendations to a US law school, which supposedly made him ecstatic. None of this ever became a problem for anyone...
 
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Well his words were pointing to a possible conflict of interesting in giving a gift to someone who must give you a grade. If I were in your shoes I would flag them down and do a small apology for creating a conflict of interest and your parents actually talked you into it, but thats me and I'm often overly cautious.

When you are in a position of power people brown nose all the time, and you probably fell into that category. I don't think its a big deal, he probably won't view you in a negative light for it. You could very well just put this behind you and move on getting a grade that you earned.
 

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Chalk this one up to experience--ya live and ya learn.

The gift was over the top. The sandwiches/tea was really pushing the limit. You just can't do this as it is viewed as very inappropriate and unprofessional. If you were in a situation where that professor was not in a position to give you a grade (ever again) then you could give them a small gift, but it would have to be after all grades and recommendations had been given. If you wanted to write a small thank you card for the recommendation, then that would be appropriate.

I believe your professor was a bit austere in how he handled this, but he was correct. I also believe you are quite sensitive to anything that you believe you have done wrong and (forgive me--I don't mean to be critical) tend to view any mistakes you have made as being worse than they actually were. So you end up feeling like the lowest of life forms and wish you could hide under a rock, mentally flagellating yourself.

My advice is to forget it. You meant well, but you stepped outside of the bounds of normal protocol. The professor corrected you, albeit a bit harshly. You now have learned an important lesson about social boundaries--and that's what you go to school for--to learn. So no big deal.

You are a nice young lady, and everyone knows that. Move on an move up. Everything will be fine.
 

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I think your professor just happens to be one of those people who naturally aren't comfortable with receiving gifts, including showing the appropriate reaction. Less likely is the chance that there'd been an actual incident that he's heard about, making him overly cautious.

For what it's worth, what you did doesn't legally constitute a bribery (obviously). I don't think you need to dwell on what he said either, because I'm pretty sure he didn't mean much by it. Furthermore I don't think his attitude would change toward you, which is the important thing.
Yeah, the most rational choice is to just shrug it off and focus on your work. He didn't think much of it, and neither should you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is SO true with me:

I tend to "view any mistakes (I) have made as being worse than they actually were."

Thinking now, i do think i pushed the boundaries. I don't know why, but when I was buying my own tea/sandwiches, I felt this impulse to buy the professor's too. I do this with my friends/family as well. With friends and family, if I'm on my way to see them and I know they have this favorite dessert, i'll pick it up on the way home, or if i know they're super busy to eat, i'll cook or pick something up for them. I've done this before with women professors/colleagues, and it was accepted as a gesture of friendship and just a nice, personal thing, but i feel it is a lot more different with male professors.

so next time i see him, should i apologize or talk to him about this?

and how should i conduct myself? it's hard for me to ignore nothing happened or pretend like i didn't do anything wrong? :confused::sad: but yes, i will definitely chalk this up as a learning experience as soon as i do some damage control :unsure::unsure::unsure:
 

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I greatly dislike receiving gifts especially when it is not my birthday or another gift-giving holiday. .I almost feel manipulated if people get me unexpected gifts because it makes me feel like I am obligated to return them a favor in some way, even if they did it just to be nice. I would feel in debt and wouldn't be able to feel comfortable around the other person unless I got myself out of the debt.

Although, technically you are repaying him. I understand his discomfort, but he probably could have accepted the gift a little more graciously. As the others said, I would forget about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I greatly dislike receiving gifts especially when it is not my birthday or another gift-giving holiday. .I almost feel manipulated if people get me unexpected gifts because it makes me feel like I am obligated to return them a favor in some way, even if they did it just to be nice. I would feel in debt and wouldn't be able to feel comfortable around the other person unless I got myself out of the debt.

Although, technically you are repaying him. I understand his discomfort, but he probably could have accepted the gift a little more graciously. As the others said, I would forget about it.

THIS. -> I kept getting the feeling he felt he was in debt. this was probably the case, although i wasn't expecting anything in return. i guess it was just my way of saying 'thanks' and 'since were working on the weekend together, let's suffer togeter'
 

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You're not listening (in my best sing song voice). In this case, damage control just means drop it, forget it, don't do nothing, act like it never happened, and hold your head high and get 'er done.
 
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You're not listening (in my best sing song voice). In this case, damage control just means drop it, forget it, don't do nothing, act like it never happened, and hold your head high and get 'er done.
Okay, thanks :laughing: I'll do the above. thanks again for listening/giving me advice guys
 

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While it seems I'm a bit late for this particular party, I have to agree with Niss and Wake: DROP IT. While you may feel like a complete tool at the moment, the awkwardness will pass. Just conduct yourself in a professional fashion around this professor. That doesn't mean you have to be overly formal, but at the same time, don't be overly friendly. I realize you were just trying to do what you felt was the right thing, but this particular relationship is of professor --> student and therefore by definition is not an equal relationship of peer <--> peer.
In my opinion, the food was acceptable, but only because it was mealtime anyway (and the fact that the professor had mentioned it to you in passing). The thank-you letter should only be sent AFTER everything's done (all grades received, etc.), and there is no way in 10,000 years that I'd ever consider buying a professor (or anyone in a position of authority, for that matter) any sort of gift UNLESS it was what I call the "office extortion", i.e., where the coworker extorts you for $10 and pools it with everyone else's $10 to buy the boss a holiday or birthday gift. (On a side note, I hate doing this, but understand office politics well enough to know that it's a necessary evil.)
Anyway, a "thanks for coming in on your time off to help me out; I really appreciate it" would have sufficed. HTH
 
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