Many women wonder why guys give dumb gifts so often. While they mean well, there seems to be some kind of disconnect between what he gets and what his sweetie really wants. Can this be avoided?
Figuring Out Why Guys Give Dumb Gifts
One of the main reasons why guys give dumb gifts is that they aren't taught how to avoid it. They are taught that roses or a bit of jewelry and perhaps a box of chocolates are the range of gifts appropriate for guys to give their sweethearts. In fact, if you get a dumb gift from a guy, perhaps he should get some credit for at least trying to think outside the box. Unfortunately, once you get outside of the traditional comforts, there are many, many ways to go wrong.
The Dumb Gift Categories
There are many examples of "dumb gifts" and almost anyone who's had a boyfriend could bring up an example or three. They tend to fall into a few categories:
- "It's not you, it's me." When the rabid sports fan gets his girlfriend center field season tickets to his favorite team, that's an example of a gift that does not focus on the recipient, but the giver. Gift certificates or cards to their favorite stores fall into this category as well.
- "As seen on TV." The power of suggestive advertising is strong, and when a brand new set of kitchen knives with "…but wait, there's more!" stickers on them shows up, it's pretty obvious that the guy was not putting much thought into the gift. Even in the case of "nice" gifts like diamonds, it is often more the influence of the TV or radio rather than an authentic sense of giving.
- "My Angel is a Centerfold." The classic song by the J. Geils Band illustrates the occasional guy who decides to buy a Victoria's Secret ensemble or other sexy gift for his sweetie. The idea is flattering, in a way, but often the items are impractical, rarely are they the right size, and in any case they are rooted in his fantasy, not his sweetheart's. Once again "it's not you, it's me," but this happens often enough to rate its own category.
"What We Have Here…"
"…is a failure to communicate." This line from the classic "guy" movie, Cool Hand Luke, is the most succinct way to get to the root of the problem. The reason why guys give dumb gifts is that they really don't know any better. The motivation is there to do something special, and that's good. The problem lies in the definition of "special."
The gifts listed above are not necessarily dumb. It's entirely possible that they are exactly what the girlfriend wants. The question is, how can he know this? The answer is astonishingly simple: she can tell him. Guys actually can read minds, but it takes years of practice, and to help them along, their sweethearts need to communicate clearly what they would consider a good gift.
There are a couple of websites that can help. AskMen has a gift-giving guide for guy's girlfriends, and if you are subtle you might get him to read All Women's Talk which has some great subjections for gifts.These aren't a substitute for actual communication, of course, and may not get you the personal gift you crave. You can always not-so-subtly send him links to your Wish List on Amazon.com or other sites.
If you think it's a bit crass to point at a book and say "That's what I want for my birthday!" you're right. However, it's necessary, especially if your boyfriend hasn't had a lot of experience buying you gifts. Subtle hints do not work until much later in the relationship. Most guys won't learn to recognize the subtle smile you get when you see that special pair of boots, and even fewer will remember to figure out your size before buying them. Even fewer will think to sneakily ask you to "try them on, see how they look" first to make sure they're comfortable.
You can help them out with positive reinforcement. "I could never afford these, maybe Santa will bring them," is one way. Or try them on, look at him with a smile and say "Wow, these boots make me feel extra sexy for you." Connecting the idea that paying attention to what you want is part of their self-interest will get the right gifts in your hands.
It may take a while, however. In the meantime, remember that any gift is at least a gesture of affection, a token of their feelings and caring for you. Be gracious, grateful, and continue to communicate openly as your relationship grows together.