Are you the type of person who feels anxiety when trying to buy that special someone a gift? Every year, whether it is a friend or family member, I hear that bashful and often miserable lament, “I don’t know what to give her!”  

Believe it or not, gift anxiety is more common than you think, so do not feel alone. While I may not have a certification or degree in gift distribution, I will toot my own horn and tell you that I am pretty good at it. The secret to giving the perfect gift is becoming a character spy!  

I like to imagine that I am a Gift Ninja and I enjoy analyzing everyone that I meet. If you have more interactions with a person than casual weather talk, it is important that you develop the habit of being curious aka nosy! Don’t be shy–most people like talking about themselves. You need to find out the most general information about them. This investigative work can be broken down into levels.

Level 1 – Co-workers and casual acquaintances:

  • What is your favorite color?
  • What kind of music do you like?
  • What is your favorite scent?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What is your favorite type of food?

When it comes to casual acquaintances, you can keep it simple. By asking these questions, you can personalize a simple and inexpensive gift. For example, if my co-worker loves the color pink, Jon Bon Jovi, the scent of roses, dancing for fun, and Italian food: I would give her a gift card to a local Italian restaurant in a pink envelope that smells like roses with a lyrical reference to a Jon Bon Jovi song (non-romantic). I would also include a handmade calendar for the month with events around town that cater to dancing or free dance lessons.  

In this example, my gift was inexpensive and highly personal while managing to be suitable for such an acquaintance. This is the kind of gift that makes someone feel special. Making a person feel special is an amazing feeling for both parties. Not only that, I know that my co-worker will associate the memory of my gift with a warm feeling.  

 Level 2 – Beginning to Intermediate dating period (less than 3 months):

  • Same questions as above
  • What is your favorite flower?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What size shoes do you wear?

Your observations:  

  • Does she wear jewelry?
  • What kind of perfume does she wear?
  • What kind of things does she collect and have in abundance at her place?
  • Does she buy a lot of books, movies, shoes, clothes, jewelry, etc…?
  • Does she have a lot of feminine skin care products?
  • Does she like to save money or is quality more important to her?

When it comes to this level of dating, you have to base your gift on one question: is this a casual relationship or can I see myself with her for longer than a year?

If you have identified that this is a casual relationship, do not worry about going all out to spend a significant amount of money on her. You can still buy jewelry at this level; however, make sure that it is not gold or diamonds. Sterling silver is a good level to show your affection and it is not too expensive.  

If you are not trying to court your lady love on a long term basis, be sure to keep the gift as something more practical instead of romantic. For example, if I was dating a woman that I cared about but was not in love with, I would give her a gift card to an hour massage. It is a way to spoil her for an hour without leaving her with something to throw away if the relationship goes sour. I have learned that some women will throw away anything that reminds them of you if there is any sentimental value associated with the pain of a break-up.  

Level 3 – I think I am falling in love with her!

If you are interested in courtship, at this point, it is perfectly acceptable to go the extra step to show your intentions. If I know that the woman whom I am dating is not materialistic, I like to give a gift that is either homemade or event oriented. Women who are not materialistic tend to be relationship oriented and see acts of consideration as romantic. Instead of buying her a massage, I would give her a massage. You can add a little spice by surprising her and dressing up as a masseuse and doing a little role-playing. Create a scene at home as if she was visiting a luxurious spa. Have a glass of wine, music, dinner, and a massage. After you spoil her, you can give her the finale. I would give her a very special piece of jewelry that befits her personality and explain why that piece of jewelry personifies her intimately.  

If your lady love is the type who enjoys being spoiled and treated to pricey gifts–either you are able to afford it or you’re on a budget. If you can afford it- always go with the best quality product that you can afford. For example, consider her hobby and research the top brands within that genre and see if it is affordable. If you are on a budget–go to eBay or Groupon and see what specials you can find.  

Tips on buying jewelry:

Buying jewelry for a woman is like buying a piece of her personality. You have to pay attention to those details. An elegant woman enjoys classy jewelry or quality style. A whimsical dreamer enjoys the light and delicate whereas the free-spirited woman enjoys something unique and artfully stylish. All jewelry is an extension of a personality type. It is up to you to determine what type of person your lover is.  

Level 4 – I want to marry this one!

If you have been dating for a sufficient amount of time and you know that you want to marry her–nothing is more romantic than saving for a lover’s getaway. Create an itinerary that both of you can enjoy. It can be as simple as a small weekend excursion in the next town. When you are investing in a long-term relationship it is always important to keep the romance alive. One of the biggest mistakes that couples make is becoming complacent and neglecting the romance. If your budget does not allow you to take time off, try to keep tabs on free or inexpensive events that are happening in your city or in the surrounding areas. Romance does not have to be expensive. You are only be limited by lack of imagination. If this is the issue, I encourage you to employ the all-knowing Google for ideas.

While it may be challenging to think about what to buy your significant other, always consider that anyone who loves you will appreciate any effort that you put into romance. Never hesitate to ask for advice from your lover’s friends and family if you need help. These are only a few ideas to consider and I encourage you to really dig in and make it your mission to really commit. Surprise your lover with Valentine’s Day gift which affirms that you really understand who she is intimately, emotionally, and spiritually.

As always, I encourage any feedback or ideas from my readers. If you have an amazing gift idea, please share it with the rest of us.  Happy Valentine’s Day gifting to you!