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When a character breaking up with someone deliberately returns what had been a personal gift, typically a ring. A good way to rub salt in the wound, even when done politely.

Examples of Take Back Your Gift include:

Anime and Manga

  • Near the beginning of Monster, Dr. Tenma's fiance does this with her engagement-ring, and a decidedly unpleasant smile, after Tenma's fall from grace - and adds insult to injury by calling him a fool. Actually, she just dropped it at his feet, before walking inside to immediately start flirting with the guy who got Tenma's promotion instead of him.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula ZERO, Asuka throws her engagement ring at Hayato after he decides to return to racing, thereby breaking his promise to not to race again after a near-fatal crash and she runs away crying. They make it up later.

Comic Books

  • In Watchmen, when Janey Slater breaks up with Dr. Manhattan, she throws the pair of earrings he gave her at him.


  • In Tibetan culture, returning a gift is a great insult. This is portrayed in the movie Seven Years In Tibet, where the main character returns a gifted jacket on purpose, because he wanted to make clear they really weren't friends anymore.
  • In The Fantastic Four movie, Ben Grimm's fiancee silently indicates that she can't love a seven-foot-tall mound of sentient orange rock by taking off the engagement ring he gave her and setting it on the pavement before walking away. To further twist the knife, Grimm's fingers are now so thick that he can't even pick up the discarded ring.
  • In a flashback in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Elrond briefly convinces Aragorn that the latter's relationship with Arwen is doomed, and Aragorn tries to end it by returning the necklace she gave him in the prior movie. Arwen replies, "It was a gift. Keep it."
  • In Grease, Danny asks Sandy to wear his high school ring and she accepts. Almost immediately afterward, he tries to cop a feel and they have a tussle, which ends with her getting out of the car and throwing the ring at him before storming away.
  • The Goonies has Andy returning Troy's jacket to him as a wordless breakup.


  • An interesting variant is found in the short story Editha, by William Dean Howells. The title character returns her engagement ring, along with every other gift he ever gave her, to her fiance before he goes off to war. Her intentions are good, if overdramatic; she tells him she wants him to love their country first, even before herself. He's killed in action, and she finds out from his mother that her act basically stripped him of the will to live.
  • Diana Villiers does this to Stephen in one of the Aubrey-Maturin novels; when he receives the letter in which she breaks their engagement, he can feel the ring inside the envelope before he even reads the message.

Live Action TV

  • A brilliant lampshading occurs in Six Feet Under. During an argument with Brenda, Nate takes his engagement ring off. Brenda sees this and responds with "Don't you throw that ring at me. It's such a cliché, I'll barf".
    • And he throws it!
      • "There. Barf."
  • In a reversal and inversion of this trope, during the Grand Finale of M*A*S*H, Charles demands that Margaret return to him a book that he gave her as a present. She grudgingly obliges, and at their final farewell, he returns the book to her, this time with a heart-felt message written inside.


  • Mentioned in the Herman's Hermits post-breakup song "Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter"

She wants to return the things I bought her,
Tell her she can keep them just the same.



  • The song "Take Back Your Mink" from Guys and Dolls inspired the trope name.
  • In the opera Carmen, the last thing Carmen does before Don Jose stabs her to death is remove a ring he gave her and throw it at his feet.
  • In The King and I, after Anna's tragic confrontation with the King, she tells the Kralahome that she will be on the next boat leaving Bangkok, takes off the ring which the King not long before the confrontation had insisted she put on, and tells the Kralahome to return it to him. The script calls this "the final humiliation for his King to suffer."
  • In A Christmas Carol, IIRC, Scrooge's fiancee breaks up with him by returning his ring and saying, "Since you love nothing so much as gold, you should be pleased to have it back."
  • A fairly passive version is done in Hamlet, when a meeting between Ophelia and Hamlet is organized and she greets him by offering to give back several items he had recently given her (most likely love tokens, given that they were betrothed). Given that Hamlet was not in the best mental state and soliloquizing about suicide and death just before the meeting, he doesn't take it well.
  • In The Most Happy Fella, the last thing Rosabella does for Tony before leaving him is handing him back the amethyst tie-pin which he left her as a tip when she was working as a waitress and he first saw her. when they reconcile by doing a Relationship Reboot, he gives it to her once again.
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