What Will Your Gifts Reveal About Your Relationship?
Mr. ToughMoneyLove has a certain fascination about money and human behavior. I enjoy reading the psychology of money blog. This month the blog published some hard truth research about gift-giving that is particularly relevant to the holiday season.
The research targeted how men and women in a relationship reacted to the gifts they received from each other. What I gather from the results is that as guys giving gifts to our ladies, we are in a very precarious if not impossible position.
So how does this put the guys in an impossible situation? Apparently, there is lots of other research showing that repeated episodes of “bad” gift-giving can wear down a relationship in small chunks. So, if a clueless man makes a habit of giving gifts that his lady doesn’t like, her short term reaction will remain outwardly positive but her long term reaction will be inwardly and subconsciously negative. Eventually, it may all blow up in the guy’s face and he won’t even know what he did wrong. (We guys are quite skillful at not knowing what we did wrong to our women.)
Mr. ToughMoneyLove has made plenty of gift-giving mistakes with Mrs. ToughMoneyLove. ( I distinctly remember the Christmas of 1979 when genius me gave her a pot hanger for the kitchen topped off with fuzzy cover-all pajamas. A bad gift double-whammy.) Apparently, I mixed in enough good gifts to help keep the marriage going for 31 years. I can’t be 100% sure which gifts were winners and which were losers because my wife has been nice about all of them. (Thanks babe!) But as a “duh” tip for you other guys out there, jewelry seems to work OK. My bonus tip is to be sure to let her know that she can return what you selected for something sparkly that she likes better, then go with her when she shops for the replacement. That way, you get credit for the good gift to balance out the subconscious blame for the bad gift. Based on the cited research, you need to keep that gift ledger well-balanced or kaboom!
I suppose that another takeaway from the psychology of money and gift-giving research is that if you want to end a relationship quickly without having to actually say anything, giving just one intentionally lousy gift probably won’t get it done. Better find a less expensive strategy.
Good luck at the mall guys!
Ladies – what do you think about this research? Any advice as to how the guys should be allocating their gift money this year?