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Never Give Unwanted Gifts Again: 5 Rules to Make a Good Gift for Men

Never Give Unwanted Gifts Again: 5 Rules to Make a Good Gift for Men

Buying gifts for the opposite sex is tricky business. Ladies, does it ever seem like we go above and beyond and still miss the mark? Choosing the best gifts for the men in your life may seem daunting, but it’s possible to overcome the struggle and find the perfect present. Could it be that men and women view gifts differently?

Sometimes it seems like men and women are speaking different languages in terms of what they want. Most loved ones–husbands, boyfriends, fathers, and brothers– will appreciate your effort no matter what, but most of us really want to surprise and impress the recipients of our efforts. We spend time listening for clues about what he might want. We guess and second guess until frustration and time get the better of us.

One of the most common pitfalls for us as women is that we try to figure out what the men in our lives want based on what we value in a gift. There will arguably be some overlap between what men and women want in gifts, but there are also a lot of cultural and social norms tied to gender that affect the way gifts are given and received.

Why men don’t need surprises like women

When we think about giving gifts to men, we think about the presents from our perspective. Women are moved by a man’s intentions and efforts regardless of the gift. Men seem more interested in presents that demonstrate your understanding of their needs. They like practical gifts that contribute to their personal and professional life.

When you start to panic about getting the perfect gift, think about much of the gift-giving process is for him and how much of it is for you. It may make you happy to spend hours on a project, but if he isn’t interested, then the gift probably satisfies a need that you have, not his.

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Instead of wasting time planning an elaborate surprise or spending months knitting him the ultimate sweater, think about what he really needs. Sure, he’ll appreciate your kindness, but he might not appreciate it the same way that you would appreciate it if he crocheted a scarf for you.

5 mental notes to choose the perfect gift for men

We tend to over complicate our gift-buying, but it is possible to come up with an ideal gift without going off the rails.

1. Understand his needs first. Are there items that will help him enjoy his hobbies or perform better at work? Does he want to try to take his hobby in a new direction, and is there something that facilitates that shift?

2. Don’t overthink it. Guys are pretty straightforward when it comes to what they want and need. They are probably not going to analyze your gifts in the same way that you deconstruct the meanings behind the things he gives to you. You don’t have to spend months making a collage of your life together (unless he has expressed that he really wants that). Sometimes less is more.

3. Observe what they like to buy for themselves.[1] If your guy buys video games on a regular basis, then get him something related to gaming. When a man makes a financial investment in his hobbies, you can guarantee that he’ll appreciate a present related to them.

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    Photo credit: Source

    4. Notice how they spend their time. Your guy may not be the type who likes to spend lots of money on a regular basis, but he has to spend his time somewhere. Whether he’s career oriented, sporty, or into cars, he’ll probably wear his heart on his sleeve about his interests.[2]

    5. Figure out what they need. You know what piques his interest, and there are probably things that he needs to take those interests to the next level. If he likes something that you don’t know much about, you can do some basic research to learn more. You don’t have to get him something that is way beyond your level of understanding. You can make a safer buying choice and still cater to his needs.

    For example, my boyfriend loves photography. I knew that he would appreciate some camera gear because he spends his spare cash and limited free time on taking photos. I thought about getting him a new lens, but they vary so much in price and functionality that I didn’t feel comfortable choosing one.

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    Instead of buying him a new lens, I did a bit of research and found a nice tripod that would work with his camera. He absolutely loved it. It enabled him to practice new photography techniques and make use of the other gear that he already had. It didn’t take tons of money or an inordinate amount of time and photography experience to get him a gift that he truly enjoyed.

    Still at a loss? No worries! We have gift suggestions that cover most of the guys out there for you

    Breaking out of a cycle of overthinking gifts can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science.

    For career oriented guys:

    • Consider the nature of the work that they do. A doctor, a sales manager, and a fitness trainer are going to have different wants and needs.
    • Think about what will help him achieve his career goals or become more efficient. Does he complain about a specific tool that he uses, and can you find a nice replacement? Is there something you could get him to help him do his job more easily or quickly?

    Imagine that your dad is an outstanding carpenter. For years he handpicks the wood that he uses for his work, and cuts and trims them down himself.  Maybe you notice that one of his handsaws looks old and worn and he complains that it doesn’t work as well as it used to.  Before you make a decision to get a new one for him, figure out if he is looking to replace it first.  If he is, he probably has a preference for a particular brand which he finds is the most reliable.  In fact, it’s very likely he prefers exactly the same brand and model that he’s replacing!  Remember, men don’t think like women.

      Photo credit: Source

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      For guys who have a particular hobby:

      Think about what will help him enjoy his hobby even more than he already does. We’ll consider sports-oriented gifts here since many men enjoy athletics.

      • What is going to help him achieve his fitness goals? The body builder, the distance runner, the yogi, and the reformed couch potato are going to have different needs. Are there things you can buy that will help him eat well and get the proper amount of exercise? Think about things he might want to use at the gym.
      • A new towel, a protein shake bottle, a water bottle, weights, a fitness tracker, or information about a new workout routine are good options. Even if he has some of these things already, does it hurt to have a spare towel or Blender Bottle?

      For guys who have a specific interest in cars, sneakers, or tech:

      This category can be tricky because the guy might know a lot more about these items than you. It can also be tough if you aren’t certain of his brand-preferences or what types of things he has in his inventory. You don’t have to be a tech geek, a sneaker expert, or a car enthusiast to get him a great gift.

      • Think about what he could use to take care of the things that he loves. If he loves cars, a nice car-cleaning kit could be a good option.
      • With a little bit of research, you can find some basic items with good reviews. Simple is often times better if you feel uncertain about the items in which he’s interested.

      A man with a passion for sneakers may tell you that he has his heart set on shoes of a specific brand, color, style, and size. If you have enough information, by all means, get him the shoes. If you’re really not sure, go with a safe bet like a Jason Markk Sneaker Cleaning Kit. The product comes highly recommended by sneaker heads everywhere, and he’s always going to be able to use products to keep his shoes clean.

      Gift-giving doesn’t have to be so nerve-racking for you

      Save yourself time and money by targeting your purchases to reflect things that he really wants or needs. Trust me, he’ll appreciate small random gestures, but he’ll love getting practical gifts even more. Think about how gifts can benefit the men in your life in the long-run. Do these items support interests or fulfil a need? Is this something he would buy for himself anyway if he could? If you can say “yes” to both of these questions, you are on the right track.

      There’s no need to over complicate the process with your own ideas about what you would like to receive. You can get the men in your life thoughtful gifts without getting bogged down. When it comes to getting gifts for men, keep it simple.

        Photo credit: Source

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        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

        If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

        Example 1

        You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

        You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

        In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

        Example 2

        You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

        People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

        You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

        Example 3

        You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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        The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

        Example 4

        You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

        Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

        If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

        Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

        • Understand your own communication style
        • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
        • Communicate with precision and care
        • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

        1. Understand Your Communication Style

        To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

        In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

        Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

        2. Learn Others Communication Styles

        Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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        If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

        “How do you prefer to receive information?”

        This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

        To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

        3. Exercise Precision and Care

        A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

        On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

        Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

        I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

        I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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        In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

        The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

        Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

        4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

        Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

        In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

        “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

        Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

        Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

        It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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        It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

        It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

        Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

        Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

        The Bottom Line

        When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

        I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

        More Articles About Effective Communication

        Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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