It’s not like all of us at CouponPal are relationship experts. But let’s face it, there are some obvious gifts that you should never, ever give the person you’re dating.
Some people are just generally clueless when it comes to finding the perfect present for their significant other, so we’ve identified the top three gifts that have the subtle subtext of “I want to break up with you.” If you, in fact, do not want to join the single’s club, steer clear of these three gifts.
1. Bad Idea: Self-Improvement Gifts
Self-improvement gifts are sort of passive-aggressive, because they seem to be giving the message that your significant other has major faults that you’d like them to change. For example, no girl will ever think a scale is a thoughtful present. Likewise, exercise videos or gym memberships will give them huge doses of body anxiety and will mostly make them worry you think they’re fat, out of shape, ugly, etc.
On the boyfriend side of things, grooming kits also make lousy presents. Guys can buy their own grooming supplies at the drugstore and aren’t likely to even appreciate the fancy stuff. Plus, grooming kits can make guys feel self-conscious and possibly make them concerned that their girl doesn’t think their looks are up to par.
Good Idea: Concert Tickets
Instead of pointing out flaws, focus on what your significant other is passionate about. Concert tickets are usually a great way for you to show you’re paying attention to their taste. Scan their iTunes playlist and figure out their favorite bands, so you can be sure you’re selecting a concert they’d actually enjoy. Bonus points if you buy them tickets for a band you hate – you’ll show them you can sacrifice a few hours of your time doing something solely for their happiness.
2. Bad Idea: Visa Gift Cards
If you’ve been dating someone for, let’s say, longer than a day, you should not get them a Visa Gift Card. Aside from being sort of thoughtless, it also will make your significant other feel like you don’t know anything about them. It’s basically like saying, “Here’s some cash, because I have no idea what your interests are.”
Good Idea: Store-Specific Gift Cards
Gift cards from specific stores are not always a completely horrible present. Your girlfriend might be a total caffeine addict and hates how much money she spends at Starbucks. So, a gift card for a month’s worth of lattes might be acceptable. Similarly, your boyfriend is a music freak; an iTunes gift card demonstrates that you thought about his passion for downloads. Just make sure your gift cards still display affection in some way. A Visa Gift Card just displays laziness.
3. Bad Idea: Pets
Unless you have had deep conversations about buying a pet, do not give your significant other a living, breathing animal. Why would anyone want the gift of added responsibility? Or a gift that you end up spending money on for years to come?
If your girlfriend has come to you and specifically said, “I would love for you to buy me a puppy for Christmas,” that’s one thing. Otherwise, do not fall into the trap that cuddly kitten = good present.
You also don’t really know pet preferences until you’re pretty far into the relationship; you could end up getting your boyfriend a snake when he’s actually been too embarrassed to admit he’s terrified of reptiles. Avoid any gift in which the person will actually have to spend time, effort, and money in order to appreciate it.
Good Idea: Vacation Plans
There’s no better way to forget daily stressors than a nice vacation. Planning a trip for a significant other is a great way to spend quality time with one another. Even if you can’t afford fancy hotels or restaurants, a good road trip can be just as exciting if you pick a fun destination. Try to select activities that your boyfriend or girlfriend will enjoy, and they’ll be impressed that you went to all the trouble of planning the details ahead of time.
Gift giving can be a lot of pressure, especially when the relationship stakes are high. Just pay attention to the likes and dislikes of your significant other, and if you’re still stumped, ask their friends or family for suggestions. No good best friend will ever say, “Well, what they’d really love is a treadmill or a pet bunny.”