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The Perfect Gift for Women? It’s the One They Won’t Buy for Themselves

The Perfect Gift for Women? It’s the One They Won’t Buy for Themselves

Picking up gifts for the opposite gender can be difficult, simply because women and men look at things very differently. Imposing our own perspectives when we pick gifts for the opposite gender can get us into trouble, because that will lead you to the gifts you think they will like, not the ones they ACTUALLY like.

If you are looking for a perfect gift for the woman in your life, whether she is you significant others, your mum, sister or even aunt, it is important to understand what women are looking for in your gift!

Women value the love and care more than the gift itself

    Photo credit: Source

    As a woman myself, I can make a few general observations to steer you in the right direction for your next gift-giving occasion.

    In my experience, women tend to analyze the intentions behind your gifts. The thought and care that you put into the gift is more important than how badly we need the gift in most cases. We like surprises, and we love to know that you care. For women, a little bit of effort and thoughtfulness speaks volumes.

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    Always remember women keep close eyes on your intention

    Whether she is your significant other, your mom, or your sister, the same general gift-giving principles apply. It isn’t hard to appreciate women if your gift shows that you care about us and you focus on what we like.

    Women enjoy practical gifts, but they are even more fond of receiving unique gifts that they might not buy for themselves.[1] Women tend to take care of getting the necessities on their own, but rarely treating themselves to something special.

    To put it in perspective, it’s the difference between buying your wife the extravagant handbag she fell in love with instead of getting her a bottle of anti-aging cream. You may not think the purse is practical, but if she’ll use it, then it is practical in her mind. Maybe that anti-aging cream does address a concern that she has about wrinkles, but if you get it for her, you might be sending her the message that you think she looks old. Yikes!

    5 mental notes on choosing the perfect gifts for women in your life

      Photo credit: Source

      Showing appreciation for the women in your life doesn’t have to be complicated, but as you saw in the last example, it can definitely go awry. To keep yourself out of the dog house and score some points, consider the following:

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      1. Try to send a gift on a random day

      Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays are times when gift giving is expected. If you really want to impress her, give her something on an average day just because you are thinking of her.

      You don’t have to break the bank to do this. She’ll probably love it if you surprise her with her favorite chocolate, pick up some flowers, or cook a nice dinner. It’s not so much the monetary value of the gift but the way that you show your appreciation that matters.

      2. When you get a gift for a holiday or birthday, show your thoughtfulness

      We like to know that you have been paying attention to things that we like. You can either choose something practical and desirable that we’ve been talking about for a while, or you can pick something that we may not have realized that we needed.[2]

      Usually, when women like something, they talk about it all the time. Spend enough time listening, and the ladies in your life will likely mention things that they like or are considering buying. If you’re lucky, she may go into lots of details about the things that she wants. If she stares longingly at that black handbag every time you walk by it in the department store, it would probably be a great gift.

      3. You don’t have to be telepathic to figure out what to buy

      Figuring out what a woman needs, but doesn’t realize she needs can sound a lot like mind-reading, but it isn’t. You’re just applying your problem-solving skills to look at her experiences in a new way.

      For example, maybe you realize that your girlfriend experiences terrible period pain. You see her popping pills and trying to sleep away the discomfort on the couch every month. If you wanted to surprise her, you might get her a cute hot water bottle or a heating pad, some chocolate, and a nice card saying that you noticed she’s been feeling under the weather. You not only showed her that you care, but you get bonus points for not being afraid to discuss your lady’s natural bodily functions.

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      One time my mother, who has been a waitress for many years, complained about how much her feet hurt. When I looked at her shoes, I saw the problem right away. They were so worn that they weren’t supporting her feet properly anymore. Buying her a new pair of shoes was the best gift I could have given to her at that time. She was so worried about everyone else in our family that she hadn’t noticed her own need for new shoes.

      4. Be mindful of the meaning your gift could carry

      When you choose a gift related to weight or body image, exercise caution. We ladies face a lot of pressure to meet unrealistic beauty standards.[3]

      Unless your wife says to you explicitly, “I want a Weight Watchers membership for my birthday,” or “I really need a gym or yoga studio membership,” please don’t get that for her. You could accidentally send her the message that you think there is something wrong with her appearance.[4]

      Buying her a kitchen appliance is also a no-no. There are exceptions to this, of course. All my mom wanted for her birthday one year was a fancy mixer to take her baking hobby to the next level, and that is what my father purchased for her. She was overjoyed that he had gotten it for her. In the absence of a specific request, though, gifting a kitchen appliance can send the message that you think she belongs in the kitchen. I know that probably isn’t your intention, but that could be what you end up saying.

      5. Make it exclusively for her

      When you chose a gift, pick something that is just for her. Buying tickets for both of you to go to a baseball game when she isn’t interested in baseball might be more of a present for you than her. Yes, it is a date, but is there another type of experience that might align with her interests better?

      You’ll get bonus points with her for stepping out of your comfort zone and picking an activity that she likes.

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      Now go out there, and show her how thoughtful you are

        Photo credit: Source

        Buying gifts for women doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Women may seem complicated, but a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. The perfect gift doesn’t have to put you in debt, nor does it have to be the most practical.

        The best gifts come from the heart and are an expression of the bond that you have with the recipient. Get her something you know she’ll love, or choose something unique that she didn’t realize she wanted or needed. Chances are, she’ll love that you took time to show her how much you care about her.

        Reference

        More by this author

        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.

        It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous The Jeopardy of Taking Others’ Opinions Seriously life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind What Is The Secret To Convincing Someone To Change Their Minds?

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

        Posture

        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

        Facial Expressions

        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

        2. Relax Your Face

        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

        3. Smile More

        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

        4. Hand Gestures

        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

        5. Enhance Your Handshake

        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

        Final Takeaways

        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

        Reference

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