Buying presents can be one of the hardest things to do. As such, we generally descend to the rationale of the more expensive the better. Yes most girls would love the Chanel classic flap bag and most guys would probably love the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. However, a poorly thought out gift is still a poorly thought out gift even if you add a few more zeros to the price tag.
When you ask someone what makes a good gift, you get many generic phrases such as ‘get something meaningful’ or ‘something that you know they will use.’ Wow how helpful you are people, I definitely know what to get now. How about you also tell me something else as utterly useless like ‘get them a gift card.’
Seriously though, you shouldn’t hate on someone that is only trying to help. However, the art of choosing a great gift is by and large a psychological analysis. Understanding someone’s motives for wanting and using things will go a long way in achieving success. So what should you assess when choosing a suitable gift?
Vanity makes it to number 1, as there is no faster way to eliminate options. Vanity unlike overcompensation (which I’ll discuss later in number 3), is concerned with how ‘pretty’ the present is. Some people favour this more so over practical function which is also why it is undeniably linked to overcompensation. As such, correctly gauging a person’s vanity level will very quickly help you to eliminate many unsuitable gifts.
So how do you assess how vain someone is? There’s many ways to do this so i’ll leave that up to you to figure out. However, if you really can’t figure it out, I’ve been told that ‘neat handwriting is a sign of vanity.’ Have a look at someone’s handwriting and tell me if you agree?
Self-confidence comes in at number 2. This is because the true level of self confidence (the confidence a person projects when they feel safe), is a true measure of what someone actually likes. This differs from the ‘confidence’ displayed when said person is around strangers or people that make them uncomfortable. This also shouldn’t be confused with their ability or confidence to trend set (#5), as this may not reflect who they truly are.
You want to get as close as possible to (or try to imagine) how you think this person would behave in their freest setting (be it on holiday or when they’ve had to much to drink). Think about the things he/she would talk about or want to do but won’t because of the restrictions they feel society imposes upon them. Success at this will open your mind to better gift ideas.
Essentially, number 3 assesses how much a person likes to brag. As I mentioned in number 1, pretty items are often easy to brag about. However, overcompensation goes much further than just a pretty gift. You essentially have to ask yourself, ‘how much will the person want to tell others about the gift?’
As such, an assessment of their level of modesty will hopefully hold you in good stead as you go about picking a great gift.
Any present you get has still has to have a ‘practical’ function to the recipient. However, practical doesn’t necessarily mean useful in this context. It does mean that it gets lots of use. You wouldn’t argue that a painting is particularly useful. However, if the recipient is going to look at it multiple times and a day and draw inspiration or comfort from it, then it is getting ‘lots of use.’
There are many items which you may think do not belong into this category. I encourage you to think beyond the obvious uses of the item and instead assess it in terms of what emotional return the recipient would gain from it. Just don’t get crocs – I don’t care how ‘practical’ they are.
5. Trend Setter
A person’s trend setting ability will help you quickly define how ‘out there’ to go for a present. Someone that has a high ‘level of ability or confidence’ will appreciate you getting them something that is out of the norm, especially if they always have to 1 Up everyone. The opposite is also true as a ‘follower’ would prefer you get something that is well researched by society and is now considered cool at the moment.
Essentially, you must ask the question; ‘from zero to Kanye, how Kanye are they?’
Ultimately the best gifts have the greatest timeless potential (i.e. will be kept and treasured for the longest amount of time). This is where you will need to assess the type of occasion you are buying for and determine if timeless value is important or not.
With the theory out of the way, stayed tuned for gifts for guys and gifts for girls; coming soon
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