Ah, new love…an amazing person is now in your life. You are enjoying every minute and are anxiously anticipating your next date. As excited as you are, it seems that new relationships are just one test after another. Will he like my dad? Will my children like her? What makes her angry? Thankfully, those tests tend to sort themselves out quickly in the relationship. However, one test is a bit more ambiguous. At what point in the relationship do we exchange gifts?
Stereotypically, women tend to be more gift oriented than men are. Nevertheless, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier for a man to choose the perfect gift for the woman he is just getting to know. This is definitely true for her as well. Giving an expensive gift too early in the relationship could appear as if she is trying to “push” him into a more permanent relationship. So, what does the newly attached couple do about the holidays? Birthdays?
Talk and Listen
Significant and on-going communication is a main element of a strong and healthy relationship. That is not to say that you would want to begin discussing gift giving on the first date. However, through genuine communication, which includes listening — really listening — you learn more about each other quickly. You learn what he/she likes and dislikes. Discuss movies, books, food, and activities. Everything learned can be used for future gift giving opportunities. For example, you found out that he loves action movies, but does not own his favorite yet. This is a great gift for a newly nearly committed couple–no pretense and it is not expensive.
Get Out There and Have Fun!
Couples learn more about each other while sharing activities and experiences. Be observant. Notice if he or she truly enjoys each activity. Does he really like art galleries or is he tagging along just to please you? Does she really like playing softball with your buds? If so, your new love may need a new baseball glove. Also a no-pretense gift and does not have to be expensive.
Discuss shared activities and experiences afterward. Be honest if you did not like playing chess in the park. However, if he does, a new chess set just might be the best gift ever, especially if found at a flea market or thrift store (in very good shape). It is a great gift, not expensive, no inference, but thoughtful.
In the end, it comes down to this: do you feel that the event is important enough to give a gift? Do you want to give this person a gift? If so, then do. Give a gift that does not appear to connote commitment — nix the ring — and is not too expensive. An expensive gift implies commitment.
Alternately, what if you feel that you would like to give something, but feel that it is too early in the relationship. After all, we all have our own perceptions on this matter. Why not do something nice and expected for him/her? Actions speak volumes. For example, it is her birthday and you know that she would like to celebrate but has a cold. Making her a pot of her favorite soup is a very nice gift. With so many websites available to teach you how to prepare it, it will be a breeze.
Whether you buy a gift or bestow a favor, the important thing is to recognize the new person in your life in a light-hearted manner. After all, he/she is important enough to see more than once. Therefore, he/she is important enough to acknowledge with some sort of gift.
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