Valentine’s day 101: How to get the perfect gift

Every year, Lisa takes a deep breath and braces herself as she wakes up and looks at the clock.  Yes, it’s February 14th again, and yes, she knows she will have to fake enthusiasm when she opens the gift from her husband, Tim.  Lisa loves Tim and knows that she’s lucky he remembers all the anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine’s Day; this is why Lisa has a reminder in her phone to wear jewelry that Tim has given her – otherwise these gifts would never see the light of day.   This year, Lisa tells me, is going to be different because SHE is going to get what she wants.

Click here if this reminds you of your last anniversary?

Look familiar? I hope not!

So how does she get the perfect gift?  Yes, I said it: GET the perfect gift.  Let’s put aside the formalities and be real.  We’re in a safe place.  How do you get what you REALLY want this Valentine’s Day/ birthday / Christmas / anniversary???

Gift giving without the stress

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Let’s look at the other side of the coin first:

My sister-in-law tells the story of a random Friday evening heading to dinner with my brother.  He subtly asks if it would be alright to take a detour.  She says, “Sure” and he pulls into a jewelry store to look at engagement rings… out of the blue… just like that.   Without the surprise of the ring, he still pulled of a great proposal, but the kicker?  She got exactly what she wanted.  No hoping, no guessing – he knew it was important and wanted to get it right.

You have two distinct personalities at work here:

  • My brother pays attention and does well with surprise gifts but is comfortable enough to ask for clues.  This personality type might be put off by overt suggestions.  If you have this type of guy, wait for him to ask and know that while you shop he’s watching for clues and ideas on what to get you.
  • Tim knows that he sometimes misses the mark, but he keeps trying because he cares.  While shopping you might tend to linger a little longer over an item, or mention specific details about it, “This sterling silver necklace would be perfect if it were 24 inches”.  This personality type may really like knowing what you want because it takes a lot of the stress out of the process for him and he knows that what is truly important (making you happy) is going to be a sure thing.

Lisa took the reins and subjected Tim to a Saturday shopping trip (after the game of course).  She included him yet guided the shopping experience, “Do you think this would look better on me, or this?” and in the end, I’m happy to say, I see Lisa wearing the necklace she’s been hoping he would buy for years.

Gift getting etiquette: What’s your method to let your significant other know what it is you truly want?


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