Gift-giving should be a joyous occasion, but sometimes things can go disastrously wrong. Many men seem to be tone-deaf when it comes to choosing gifts for the special woman in their lives. It can seem like they go out of their way to pick the worst gifts to give women. Most of the time, however, this is unintentional, and with proper communication, all expectations can be met.
Women, for their part, read all kinds of messages into gifts, which seem to symbolize the status of their relationships. This is why it's important to put some thought and effort into choosing the right gifts. This handy guide will help you avoid the worst gifts to give to a woman, salvaging your relationship and preserving your domestic peace.
Why Do Some People Buy the Worst Gifts for Women?
At times, it seems that men and women do come from different planets. Many women who have suspected this find their worst fears confirmed when they look at the gifts that their boyfriends choose for them. Can openers, steak knives, sports merchandise, and tool kits are baffling gift choices for women who might have preferred jewelry, a candlelit dinner, or a day at the spa.
Why do men get gift-giving for women so wrong? Part of the reason is that people tend to buy things that they want for themselves. So, it may seem like a staggering act of generosity for a sports fan to buy his girlfriend or wife a jersey with his favorite team's logo or the latest version of his favorite video game. It's just what he would have wanted for himself, but she's left wondering how to sneak it into the box for Goodwill without hurting his feelings.
What Women Expect from Gifts
A gift is a tangible expression of a relationship, and women will read it as a message. It is taken as a symbol of the gift giver's feelings for her, which is why gifts like kitchen knives and cigarette lighters can be so baffling. Besides, any relationship is based on the idea that your partner is a soul mate who understands you perfectly. A gift is expected to reflect that connection, which is why inappropriate gifts can be so disappointing.
Everyone wants to feel that some thought and care has gone into choosing a gift for them. This is the reason that generic gifts don't work so well either. The thought behind the gift does matter, and gifts should be carefully chosen. They can be practical or frivolous but should reflect the tastes and interests of the recipient of the gift or the value of the relationship.
Characteristics of Bad Gifts for Women: What Not to Give
The first step in choosing the right gift is learning what not to give. Many men find out through bitter experience, but, if you're trying to avoid the worst gifts to give the woman in your life, it's better to learn from the mistakes others have made. There is no shortage of examples for the worst gifts to give. Here are some types of gifts that men frequently choose, but shouldn't.
While classic perfumes may be a safe choice for Mothers' Day, they don't work so well for girlfriends and wives. That's because perfumes can be a very personal choice, and women actually prefer to buy their own. There's a whole process of testing and choosing before making a purchase, and a gift of perfume can go very wrong.
Like perfume, clothes are a very personal choice. Individual preferences for color, style, and fit all vary, and it can be difficult to make the choice for someone else. Many women prefer to try on their clothes before making a purchase.
Getting the wrong size can trigger a whole lot of anxiety about whether you think she's too fat or too thin. It's best to just sidestep the problem by letting her do her own clothes shopping.
Generic Drugstore Gifts
The amount of thought and effort you put into a gift indicates the value you set on the relationship. A generic drugstore suggests a last-minute, impersonal purchase that has no special meaning for you or your relationship.
Prank or Joke Items
These are almost always a bad idea. But, if you know each other very well, a gag item can be a cover for a truly thoughtful gift of jewelry, a new book that you know she's been wanting to read, or a gift certificate for a day spa.
Anything You'd Like for Yourself
That means everything from power tools to video games to monster flat screens TVs for you and your buddies to watch football. If there's something you're just longing to have, either buy it for yourself or drop hints so that she knows what to get for you.
Photo Frames with Your Picture
This is not to say that she wouldn't want a picture of you. But, it doesn't make a good gift for a special occasion. The focus should be on her, not you, and this will just make you look self-absorbed and egotistical.
All Is Not Lost: How to Find the Right Gift for the Woman in Your Life
As with many other things in a relationship, communication and listening are crucial to choosing the right gift for a woman. There's no harm in getting her something practical, like a bookshelf or kitchen appliance, so long as you know she wants and needs one. The worst gifts to give are those for which the recipient has no use and will keep only to avoid hurting your feelings.
Finally, we all make mistakes, and that's why it's always a good idea to get a gift receipt so she can exchange her gift for something more suitable if necessary.
The Top 10 Worst Gifts to Give Women
The worst gifts to give women range from the merely thoughtless to the horrifyingly inappropriate. Here's a list of our top ten contenders for the Worst Gifts to Give Women Hall of Shame. And we're not making this up - each of these is an actual gift that some girl or woman has received from a partner.
Anything to Do with Your Ex
Photo frames with a picture of your ex or jewelry with your ex's name engraved on it is a definite no. Believe it or not, it happens more often than you'd like to think.
Sports Team Merchandise
Unless she's a diehard fan cast in the same mold as you, merchandise with your favorite team logos will go down like a lead balloon.
Jello in a Box
Sad to say, we've heard from someone who received that as a gift. Along with some boxes of hamburger helper. Your pantry is not the best place to look for a last-minute gift.
Candy She Doesn't Eat
Chocolate creme eggs, a 12-month supply of Twizzlers or a Mars bar fall into this category. Gift-giving should be a happy occasion, and these are just sad.
Even high-end chocolates are not a sufficient gift in and of themselves but can accompany something more lasting.
This has got to be one of the worst gifts to give a woman at any age, whether she's 21 or 65 years old. A surprisingly large number of men choose this or other cosmetics for their partners, causing confusion, grief, and heartache all around.
Yes, it's been done. Who wants a six-pack of grey-toe, sports socks on a special day like Christmas, a birthday, or an anniversary? Luxurious cashmere socks in bright colors may be acceptable stocking stuffers but not as as a stand-alone gift.
It seems incredible to have to say this, but fireflies, dragonflies, and any other types of insects do not make good gifts. Even if you're eight years old.
As with insects, no frogs! They are no substitute for flowers or flowering plants. And besides, though women understand their ecological value, frogs are ugly.
Anything Chosen by an Aunt, Cousin, or Other Female Relative
Trust us, she'll know. Fluffy slippers with neon-bright bunnies or butterflies? Not only did you not make an effort yourself, but your good taste filters also didn't kick in.
Can Openers, Kitchen Knives, and Appliances
Unless specially requested, anything to do with cooking is a no-no. It looks like you're trying to drop not-so-subtle hints that she should be in the kitchen cooking for you. Even worse, it seems to reinforce the stereotype that “a woman's place is in the kitchen”.
Gifts are an important part of a relationship and express the value that you place on the other person. A well-chosen gift can manifest the love and trust that are the foundation of the relationship, and an inappropriate gift can erode them. However, in all likelihood, the worst gifts to give women were chosen randomly rather than deliberately. And, with some effort on their part, men can learn to choose just the right gift for the special woman in their lives.
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