Men are notorious for being bad gift-givers. Of course, not all men are bad at giving gifts, just like not all women are good at it. However, when it comes to gift-giving, a significant number of men lose this round.
But why are so many men bad at choosing gifts for their loved ones? There could be a lot of factors at play, and it’s not always the same for everyone. For example, one person can be bad at giving gifts because they are too busy to pay attention to what their loved ones like. For others, they are bad at giving gifts because they spend too much time being considerate and totally missing the point of gift-giving.
Whatever the reason may be, being a bad gift-giver can be extremely frustrating. You just want to show people how much you love and appreciate them, but almost every gift seems to be a miss, leading to awkward thanks and returns to the store. If this is the case for you, you may be making some of these not-so-great assumptions when choosing a gift for someone:
A practical gift is the best type of gift
People may appreciate practical gifts, but they won’t exactly love them. Sure, a shower set or a new pair of socks would be nice to receive, but would a gift like that make you feel that the person put a lot of thought into it? Probably not.
Hence, don’t immediately follow your first instinct of buying someone a practical gift. Instead of toiletries, towels, or socks, put a little more thought into your gift. What are their hobbies? What is their lifestyle like? Would they like something from the novelty store? Even if you don’t know that person well, a quick glimpse at their social media pages or a single conversation with them can give you a clue about what they would like.
The more expensive the gift is, the more the receiver will appreciate it
Appreciation of a gift is subjective, depending solely on the reception of the receiver. For this reason, you can’t assume that a person will appreciate a gift just because you will personally love that kind of gift. Hence, just because a gift is expensive doesn’t mean a person will love it.
Take this study from the Journal of Consumer Research. Researchers interviewed two groups–givers and receivers–and asked them to rate gifts based on desirability and feasibility. As it turns out, receivers favor gifts based on feasibility, and givers give gifts based on desirability. For instance, givers consistently chose the more expensive gifts but are complicated to use or difficult to access, while receivers chose gifts that are easy to use.
That said, choosing the most expensive gift may not be the best option unless you have its feasibility in mind as well. For example, if you want to give your boss a gift card to a five-star restaurant, consider the drive that they’d have to make to eat there. Or if you want to buy someone a sophisticated espresso maker, think about whether they can use it easily. In a way, it all boils down to feasibility over desirability.
The most obvious gifts are the safest options
Flowers, boxes of chocolates, gift cards, and a bottle of wine are among the most popular types of gifts, which is why a lot of us assume that they are obviously the right options. But that is not always the case. While a lot of people will appreciate a “generic” or “safe” gift, you may want to put in a little more effort for the people you are closest to.
Your parents, your significant other, or your best friend likely spend most of your time with these people. So instead of something that’s generic or “too obvious”, give them something sentimental; something that says you’ve put a lot of thought into their gift to know what they’d love.
Gifts don’t have to be material
Don’t let this assumption put you in a box. Gifts can be anything other than material things. Think weekend trips out of town, spa days, a dinner at their favorite restaurant, picnic dates at the park, and so on. In fact, your loved one may appreciate this type of gift more than the kind you can wrap.
You don’t have to be an extremely insightful or observant person to give good gifts. Sometimes, you simply have to let go of some assumptions that may be holding you back from giving gifts that people will love–starting with the ones mentioned above, of course.