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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 November 11, 2019

        Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

        Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

        A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

        You know how this looks:

        • Parents constantly comparing children.
        • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
        • Domestic violence.
        • Adultery…
        • And many others.

        For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

        Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

        Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

        This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

        In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

        If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

        How to fix a dysfunctional family

        In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

        And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

        Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

        It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

        Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

        Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

        There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

        Dysfunctional… Or just average?

        Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

        The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

        You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

        A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

        Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

        Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

        • Unrealistic expectations
        • Lack of interest and time spent together
        • Sexism
        • Utilitarianism
        • Lack of empathy
        • Unequal or unfair treatment
        • Disrespect towards boundaries
        • Control Issues
        • Jealousy
        • Verbal and physical abuse
        • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

        You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

        If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

        Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

        How to turn it around

        When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

        But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

        One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

        We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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        As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

        What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

        Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

        Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

        Correction is possible

        In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

        Verbalize it.

        All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

        Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

        This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

        But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

        So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

        Putting it to work in real life

        In real life it would be something like this:

        “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

        Or:

        “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

        Or:

        “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

        As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

        This is what you have to remember:

        1-Stop.

        2-Why it’s wrong?

        3-What you need.

        And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

        It’s a family thing

        A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

        Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

        In other words, you will need cooperation…

        So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

        Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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        We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

        You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

        It’s not a free-for-all battle

        In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

        No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

        Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

        And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

        The method

        1. Drop the ego

        Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

        You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

        Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

        What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

        It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

        After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

        Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

        Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

        Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

        And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

        You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

        2. Not blame, but responsibility

        When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

        But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

        When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

        What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

        Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

        As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

        You will do something like this:

        “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

        I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

        You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

        I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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        It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

        What happened here?

        We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

        We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

        We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

        And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

        You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

        This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

        3. Doing the work

        What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

        This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

        Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

        If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

        It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

        “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

        I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

        But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

        You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

        Love is all you need

        You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

        That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

        And what happens if it simply is not there?

        What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

        What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

        There is only one thing you can do:

        To break away.

        Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

        There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

        “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

        If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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        Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

        You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

        Putting distance

        So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

        What do I mean?

        Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

        Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

        Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

        Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

        They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

        Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

        I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

        I choose my peace of mind.

        And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

        Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

        Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

        How to prevent it

        There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

        • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
        • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

        Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

        You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

        Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

        Priorities and clear thought

        You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

        You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

        You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

        Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

        If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

        And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

        Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

        But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

        Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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