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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

        Reference

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        Anna Chui

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

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        Published on April 7, 2021

        6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

        6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

        Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

        While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

        1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

        Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

        If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

        In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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        2. They Make Everything Transactional

        Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

        For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

        Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

        A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

        Some statements to be wary of include:

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        • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
        • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
        • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
        • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

        3. They Criticize Everything

        One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

        However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

        Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

        • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
        • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
        • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
        • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

        4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

        We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

        For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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        This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

        5. They Socially Isolate You

        Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

        Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

        This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

        In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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        6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

        It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

        Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

        Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

        • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
        • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
        • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
        • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

        Final Thoughts

        It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

        More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

        Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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