How to make it through the minefield of giving gifts

POOR Felix. When he bought a pricey surprise gift for his new squeeze he expected a happy response.

Instead, she yelled at him. It didn't make sense. For him, the gift was showing her that he thought of her. For her, the gift meant something different.

Most men just see a gift. They think women like shiny stuff: "I'll buy it and then she'll love me."

Women look deeper into it. They ask their girlfriends: "What does this mean?" "What has he done?"

And that's when everything gets lost in translation. Choosing the right gift can be a complicated ordeal.

Before you embark out and buy your new boo a gift this Christmas, here are a few gems to consider.

Too expensive-too early: this was Felix's mistake. For him the gift said: "thinking of you". For her, because he had spent too much on a relationship that was still forming, it was the equivalent of a marriage proposal.

Remember, also, over-spending early in the relationship sets an expectation to spend twice as much in the long term.

Too sentimental-too early: sentimental gifts early in the relationship like poems or portraits you have drawn of her will make her run for the hills.

This rarely works and says to most women: "I want to wear your skin as a suit."

Avoid gift certificates: they are slack and impersonal. If you are not sure what to buy her, take her to her favourite shop and let her choose.

It may mean hours of painful shopping but ultimately it will be far classier and more personal.

Surprise pets: don't buy a pet, unless you have discussed in depth who will take the responsibility of looking after it long-term.

Wants not needs: make sure you give her what she wants, not what she needs. She may say she needs a new ironing board but that doesn't mean she wants it for Christmas.

Once Felix explained to his new lady that it was just a gift to show he cared, she was able to enjoy it.

Good luck Christmas shopping for your boo this year. Stay classy.

Got a relationship question? Email manaboutgtown@gmail.com.



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