Every day millions of women receive dumb gifts from the male gender that lack creativity, thoughtfulness or indicate a total lack of knowledge about what women want, like or need.
Research has suggested that over 65% of the gifts men give to women for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines day and all of the other holidays combined are returned, never used or worn or are stored in some obscure place or in the attic. Billions of dollars are wasted every year on gifts for women by men. Why?
Are men and women really different?
Numerous books have been written pointing out how men and women are different. In some cases I accept those apparent differences and in others I think the authors were just trying to sell more books by offering the readers a controversial title or topic. I am not concerned here, I know your time is limited, with the physiological, actuarial, physical, mental or emotional differences, as many as there are.
My concern is, how are women different from men when it comes to needs, expectations, reactions, hopes, dreams or frustrations in the area of giving and receiving gifts.
Here is what I think. Any gift that says you love her, cherish her, respect her, understand her, know her, want her, believe in her or desire her (this list is too long to continue) is usually pretty safe. The problem is, I dare you to show me even one man, even after fifty years of marriage who knows a fraction of any of these.
Ask one women what is a BAD gift and she will tell you “anything that has a cord and a plug.” My wife wanted a color TV for the kitchen for Christmas one year. Now, here is the problem, it couldn’t have a plug. It took me three days and a lot of shopping to find one that was battery operated. It also had a back-up plug. Guess which power source she uses? You guessed it the plug. What is it with plugs anyway? Many of the best gift examples in Chapter ten show that plugs are O.K as long as it is something she wants.
Ladies, if you have never received a dumb or thoughtless gift from a man you have either spent your entire life living alone in a cabin in Vermont or you have done an excellent job of training the men in your life.
Gentlemen, if you have never given a woman a less-than-well-received gift, the rest of us poor souls salute you. You must have either been raised in a cave filled with women of all ages, or–like Mel Gibson’s character Nick Marshall in the movie What Women Want–you are just light years ahead of the rest of us who are searching for just that right gift that will earn us a special place in the corner of her heart for the rest of our life.
I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to figure out what women really want and what will make them happy and satisfied when it comes to gifts. Believe me, I have made more bad choices than good ones over the years, but after painstaking research I believe that I finally have the answer.
Now keep in mind that when I am talking about gifts for her, I am referring to any or all of the following special events or holidays:
– Christmas or Hanukkah
– Mother’s Day
– Valentine’s Day
– Grandmother’s Day
– Groundhog Day
– the first day of spring
– the last day of summer
– the second Tuesday in June
– plus any other holiday or occasion I may have overlooked.
Got it? Any day is an appropriate day for gift giving from the women’s perspective, and until you learn this simple lesson, you may spend a lot of time agonizing, apologizing, hiding, or squirming, or all of the above.
Here are the top twenty mistakes males make when giving gifts to women. Make any one of them to your peril.
A BAD Gift is any gift that:
1. Plugs in. (It depends–see gift-giving rules.)
2. Reminds her of a former relationship. (Always.)
3. Says, you were too busy to be creative. (Shame on you.)
4. Is really for your benefit and not hers. (Gotcha.)
5. Says, she is getting old. (Head for the hills, bucko.)
6. Says, she is not as beautiful as the day you met her. (You will be sleeping alone a lot from now on.)
7. Is re-packaged in any way. (I am not even going to give this one any energy.)
8. Looks like you were being cheap. (If you were, make sure you are with yourself as well.)
9. Reminds you of a former relationship of yours. (What are you, just plain stupid?)
10. Says, she needs to lose a little weight. (Ditto, no. 9 above.)
11. You believe will make her life easier. (Did you just land here from some distant planet?)
12. Lacks romance. (Better read Romance 101 again.)
13. Says, you really don’t know me. (You are history, bubba.)
14. Says, you are guilty of something. (If you are, gifts are not going to do it for you here, dude; better consider just fessing up.)
15. Tries to buy your way out of the doghouse. (Just learn to be happy there.)
16. Says, she is not the center of your world. (You better get a new girl friend.)
17. Helps her be more successful in her career. (This one could be a little touchy, boys.)
18. Helps her with her domestic responsibilities. (Big freaking deal.)
19. Shows your general lack of thoughtfulness. (Your mother will not be happy about this one.)
20. Originates from motives that are less than honest. (You are not fooling anyone.)
Here are my twenty gift giving rules if you want to be a hero and not an idiot the next time you give the love of your life a gift.
There are gifts that cost money and there are gifts from your heart. Here are just a few.
The gift of honesty.
The gift of support.
The gift of acknowledgement.
The gift of interest.
The gift of friendship.
The gift of respect.
The gift of trust.
The gift of unconditional love.
The gift of conversation.
The gift of listening.
The gift of caring.
The gift of a romantic spirit.
The gift of touch.
The gift of talk.
The gift of thoughtfulness.
The gift of appreciation.
The best gifts are;
– Your time. And I don’t mean just your time but your active and conscious presence while you are with her. You have to “be there” and not secretly wishing you were fishing or on the golf course.
-Your creativity. Any idiot can buy a gift certificate. Or, if you have more money than God any jerk can buy an expensive piece of jewelry. It takes imagination and creativity to give her a gift that will bring tears of joy to her face and a smile in her heart. Trust me, these will be remembered long after she has forgotten the jewelry.
-Surprise trips. And, I don’t mean fishing trips. But an evening on the town or a weekend at the beach that she wasn’t expecting. It will have even greater positive emotional impact if you have gone out of your way in some way to make the event special like arranging for a baby sitter or clearing it with her boss.
-Something from the past. A photo collage of a number pictures taken while on a special trip years ago or something that has special significance like a family heirloom that she always liked but never could have, for any number of reasons.
Let’s end this with fifteen of the twenty gift giving rules. Follow them and you will never again give a bad gift.
Rule Number One -If she didn’t ask for it make sure it is a personal item.
Rule Number Two: If it plugs in don’t give it to her for Valentines day, her birthday, Mothers day or Christmas or unless she asks for it.
Rule Number Three: If it reminds her of a former relationship, hers or yours, forget it.
Rule Number Four: Flowers express your thoughtfulness but save them for special times. Don’t use them as gifts.
Rule Number Five: Cards can mean a lot but they are not gifts. They will never make up for an expectation of a gift.
Rule Number Six: A promise of a gift is not a gift. Don’t make promises – either give the gift or don’t talk about it or promise it.
Rule Number Nine: If it is not something she likes or wants, it doesn’t matter how much it sets you back financially.
Rule Number Ten: The worst gifts are gifts you THINK she wants or will like because you like them.
Rule Number Eleven: If the gift is an act of barter – you give her something to get something in return – it will backfire every time.
Rule Number Twelve: You can hardly ever go wrong if the gift has a romantic overtone.
Rule Number Thirteen: If the gift says you were too busy, don’t really know her or it has a hidden agenda – beware.
Rule Number Fourteen: Once you give a gift, don’t keep reminding her of how much it cost. All you do is make her feel like she isn’t worth it.
Rule Number Fifteen: When you give a gift. Leave it at that. Resist the tendency to add a lot of verbiage and useless words to the gift. Let your gift speak for itself.
Rule Number Sixteen: When you give her a gift make sure it is for HER and not YOU.
Rule Number Seventeen: If it has a plug, make sure she asked for it.
Rule Number Nineteen: If it’s on sale make sure you take the tags off of it.
Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, relationship, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; He can be reached at [email protected], 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com.
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