General Question

suzanna28's avatar

My other half never surprises me with a gift. I always have to be there when he buys it. I find this really annoying. What should I do ?

Asked by suzanna28 (684points) December 19th, 2011

Okay in a way it is nice that he wants me to always like the gifts he buys me but geez I just find it so unromantic that he cannot pick out a gift for me without my knowing.

I have told him this but it just seems like he is incapable of thinking up gifts for me.

What should I do ?

It is so bad that if I don’t say anything at all he will not buy me a gift at all. Why is this?

I feel like it is a self esteem issue. A fear of rejection.

Okay so he grew up in a weird family where they never exchanged gifts but before we married we agreed we would exchange gifts on special occasions. However, i feel like he just doesn’t know how to. It is kind of annoying me because I always am able to think up stuff to buy for him.

I just find this weird and upsetting. What should I do ?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

flo's avatar

You are so lucky to have that as a problem. I don’t see that as a problem. He is doing his best, that is all one can ask for.

gorillapaws's avatar

Go shopping at a bunch of places, and put a ton of stuff that you like on hold. Then have him go to those stores without you and pick out the one he likes. Do this for a while, and eventually he may get good at learning your tastes, plus it gives him confidence since he knows he can’t go wrong. As a bonus, you’ll always be surprised and you’ll always like the gift.

MagsRags's avatar

How about a wish list (or a couple of them) at online sites like Amazon, Artfire and Etsy? Other sites offer similar services. He could check it to see what you’ve been looking at and liking when there’s a gift giving situation coming up. He’d feel more secure, and you would be at least partly surprised by what he chose off the list.

suzanna28's avatar


Qingu's avatar

I am like her boyfriend. Wish lists don’t help actually because then you don’t know which item from the wish list to pick. You want to make sure the thing you get for her is the best, not merely one of several she’ll like, and won’t be surprised by regardless.

bongo's avatar

I hate it when I guy does that, and takes me out to buy my own present. It makes me uncomfortable and to be honest I would prefer not to have anything if he does that. I am not good at taking compliments and I dont like people spending money on me. It is all about the thought for me. My ex always used to insist on doing it too even though I told him I don’t like it. My new bf this year completely got that, as we aren’t spending Christmas together (he lives in Germany) he brought round 3 bottles of wine, lots of nice food and some films for a cosy night in. One of my best presents ever

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Most every store or site offers you to create wishlists you can share with your SO’s email address. You can bookmark pages on your computer and tell your SO you’ve found some neat stuff you like. My favorite is creating a folder on the desktop where I put pictures of items I like. Thing is, you have to show him where to find your likes, hints and ideas. Put things on your list like your favorite colors, flowers, scents, movies, music, birthstone, candy, restaurants, clothing stores, dress size, etc.

jca's avatar

I would say a wish list, but not specific gifts, just a list of themes or categories that can guide him. For example, “I collect salt and pepper shakers.” “I like anything with cats on it.” “I need a scarf and I love the color purple.”

That way he does not have specifics, but he has an idea. Some people are not creative when it comes to gift giving. If this is your biggest problem with him, it’s not so bad.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jca but what if he gets you a purple cat-scarf that’s a lousy material, or an ugly shade of purple?

ucme's avatar

Get him to buy gifts months before crimbo, then by the time it comes around you’ve forgotten all about it.

wundayatta's avatar

Look. I’m tired of you having a whole box full of earrings I bought for you that you won’t wear. If I’m going to get something for you, I want to get something you’ll at least use, if not like. I’m tired of guessing wrong. Why do you have such unreasonable taste, anyway?

Yes, there are those perfect guys who are so romantic and know how to please you, but I’m not one of them. So work with me here. If I get you something, you promise to wear it once a week for the next year, no matter what you think of it. If you can’t do that, then come shopping with me.

And don’t give me that exchange thingy. I’m not going back to the story. Bad enough to be there once, and anyway, I bought it online and I don’t do mail. That’s on you. Knock yourself out if you want to exchange it, but if you want it to be romantic and a surprise, then just enjoy the surprise, whether you like it or not. Elsewise we’re going shopping together. And you’re buying dinner.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t grow up in a gift giving family either and gift giving is very difficult for me. I have become better over the years, but I like to buy something I know for sure the other person wants. I also like to receive what I want and like.

Tell him you like to be surprised sometimes, and you don’t care what time of year. Maybe that will help. Pressure of a holiday or special occasion can just be too much. Let him pick you up something he hears you mention in the middle of July that you would like to have or buy, that will be the surprise part, unexpected gift, but not the gift itself.

Gifts that are not really what a person wants or likes is such a waste. It might be romantic, but for us practical people, wasteful.

zenvelo's avatar

I endorse the wish lists. My girlfriend updates hers periodically on amazon, so do I . That way we get something we like and will use. And it keeps it a ‘secret” until the present is opened.

jca's avatar

@gorillapaws: Some people are not good at picking out gifts. If their relationship lasts, he may learn, he may not. Oh well, like I said, it’s not the biggest problem in the world. Nobody’s perfect, no relationship is perfect.

filmfann's avatar

Let him buy you some ugly sweaters, or mis-sized items, then maybe you’ll fucking appreciate it.

marinelife's avatar

Help him pick out your gifts without you.

Give him a list of things. Make sure and write out at the top that he is only to choose a few things not buy the whole list.

Suggest that he go to Nordstrom’s or another store that has personal shoppers who can help him.

Give up your expectations. With his background the whole act of gift giving is very fraught. Love him enough to understand.

Enjoy doing things with him. Christmas concerts, dinners out, movies.

Bellatrix's avatar

The obvious answer has been provided. Take him out and show him things you like. Tell him you want him to note down the things you point out and then he can pick the thing (things) he wants to buy you. Perhaps suggest he does this throughout the year so as @ucme said, you will have forgotten by your birthday or Christmas.

Set up wish lists on Amazon and at your other favourite stores with a shared log in name and password. He can buy it with his own account so you don’t know what he got you. That way there is an element of surprise without the element of “what was he thinking!” I bet you have quite specific taste. We all do. So he doesn’t want to disappoint you. Can’t fault him for that. Some people don’t buy presents at all! Having been on the receiving end of some very thoughtful but very off-the-mark presents… better to make sure he knows exactly what you want.

I have to say, not really a horrible problem to have :-) Your man sounds caring and thoughtful.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

How about you just start talking more about things that you like and are interested in then?

YARNLADY's avatar

I wish my husband would do that. He brings home things I don’t want, and I have to take them back.

Blueroses's avatar

Why not tell him to think about things you both have in common? Instead of looking for items, he could get tickets to the opera or NASCAR or the rodeo or whatever you would enjoy together. It might be easier for him to think of those.

I’m awkward about the whole special occasions gifts too. I empathize with both of your points of view.

roundsquare's avatar

@wundayatta hinted very strongly at this, but I want to point it out: it may not be just a lack of ability to give gifts. It may be a hatred of shopping. I’m not great at choosing out gifts but I can do a decent job (by staying away from things like clothing and focusing instead on things for around the house, books, etc…). But I really despise shopping. Maybe your dude is like that.

You might say that this means that he doesn’t care enough for you to spend the time… but it also means that he is overcoming something he already hates to get you something and you are now asking him to do even more of it.

Of course, he may not hate shopping, in which case you can ignore me.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther