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Featured Trouble reacting to gifts from your partner

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by righan, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. righan

    righan Active Member

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    Christmas is right around the corner and I have always had trouble with gifts when my wife gets them for me. I don't really deal well with surprises to begin with, presents make me uncomfortable because I don't know how to react to them, and I generally don't get excited about things to begin with.

    So, usually when I open gifts from her, I'm either very neutral ... or if I do react, its usually because I'm confused by the present or don't know why she got it for me which isn't a good reaction. One time she got me a punching bag but we lived in a one bedroom apartment ... I saw it and all I could think is "I have no place to put this" ... I don't remember if I said that out loud, but I do know that however I was acting it really hurt her feelings and I didn't mean too.

    Every year I worry she's going to have spent a lot of time or money coming up with a gift for me ... and my reaction is going to be, at best, less than thrilled ... or its going to be a situation where she didn't think something through and all I can see is how its going to be a problem.

    I've tried giving her a list of things to pick from ... but she thinks if she just gets me stuff from a list it doesn't show that she knows me ... she wants to get me something I want but that I wasn't expecting ... and I think that is a tall order. Especially with a person like me who doesn't outwardly show interest in things ... so even if I want something, she'd never know it unless I specifically told her.

    I hate that this happens. I wish I knew how to handle these things so I could give her a positive response ... obviously, it would be best if it was genuine, but even if it isn't ... I don't want to ruin her christmas because my brain is pragmatic and I don't know how to get gifts.

    Any thoughts or ideas would be helpful. Thanks.
     
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    We are often hard to buy for. The way we do it is I basically get my own gifts (always special interest based) and then give them to her to give to me. I broke her in early and actually started on our honeymoon. :D Hey, when you find just right thing you got to jump on it. In that case it was a nice boxed set of german made knights with seige engines (toy soldier collector here) I guess the thing is for her to understand that I am quite happy that way. I prefer to not be surprised but able to get something I really want for fun (as opposed to need) a couple of times a year. She likes surprises however so I have to put thought into it, but also there are also some favorites I can't go wrong with, like horribly expensive chocolates. L.A. Burdick is her current favorite. Even Godiva now is below her standards. :D
     
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  3. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't like receiving gifts because I also don't know how to receive gifts. I've been trying that "Oh, I love it", but it probably sounds fake. I just want to tell people that the best gift would be not to get me something. But it IS easier these days, because gifts are labeled from the grandkids instead of the parents and I'm going to hug them and tell them how much I like it, no matter what it is. And, I'm kind of like you, in that I wonder why did you get me this? I hint that I would be happy with a new notebook and pens, or a little plastic animal - little things because my space is limited and everyone knows that.
    But this reminds me of a story. My son tries to be thoughtful in getting his wife gifts. He IS like me and isn't going to get something specifically asked for because it's supposed to be a surprise and thought put into it. So my son had gotten his wife this skin care set. When she asked him why, he said because he noticed she was watching the infomercial on it. But she had fallen asleep watching a movie, just the infomercial came on when the movie was over. But it turned around the next year because she kept seeing him looking at driving gloves so she got him a nice pair. When he asked why, she told him, and he said he was looking for the gloves for their sons - not himself.
     
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  4. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    You should sit her down and read your post to her. Just be honest. Once she understands how you really feel and that it has nothing to do with her or her choice of gifts, you guys won’t have to go through this every year anymore. Problem solved.
     
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  5. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

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    I can totally relate to your post @righan. I am mostly underwhelmed by gifts (outwardly); I never know how to respond and absolutely hate opening gifts in front of people as they all have a scary look of expectation on their faces that freaks me out and removes any joy in receiving the gift - internally and externally.

    Years ago I asked people to donate to a charity of my choice instead of giving me gifts at Christmas. Most refused and continued to buy me things that I didn't really want or have any use for (and they were donated to charity by me after Christmas). My way of solving this was to stop Christmas totally. No gifts at all. Very liberating.

    My advice would be for you to have an honest conversation about gift giving and your response to receiving gifts. Or get your wife to read this thread, your post and the responses, so she'll see that you're not the only person who struggles with this.
     
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  6. Rexi

    Rexi owo uwu owo SlightlyFilterless Atheist Science=<3 V.I.P Member

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    This makes me think... but maybe Christmas isn't about what you get and give but about trying. It makes me fulfilled the sentiment that everyone is trying their best to make a good gift, and I think that in itself is so important. It doesn't matter if it's a failure, what matters is that everyone tried. And that is beautiful.

    I can't really value gifts, edibles are not satisfying after the time you eat them, things that aren't useful just waste money and hang around eventually forgotten. Jewelry i dont wear and care products i buy myself and dont use just anything, besides theyre more of a letdown. Apart from electronics I cant imagine anything fun. But maybe just a touching time with my girlfriend, sadly she's in the army and will not be able to be home for xmas.

    Maybe your gf can buy you 2 gifts, one off your list and one to satisfy her desire to impress you and catch you off your guard, or at least try to. ^^
     
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  7. Rexi

    Rexi owo uwu owo SlightlyFilterless Atheist Science=<3 V.I.P Member

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    What was the thought behind the idea of gifting you a punching bag?
     
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  8. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes I would definitely talk this through more with your partner, explaining that you want each of you to really understand each other deeply, and work out how to do presents in your own way, as a couple.

    It might help to explore with her what her experience of presents and present giving, and the values around it, has been in her family, as it does sound like she is currently not picking up on your actual feelings and preferences, but working to a past family script.

    Actually, it's pretty hard to guess what someone wants, and the way we get to know each other in depth is to communicate in depth, not by just observing and trying to guess, without asking.
     
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  9. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    Boyfriend and me have a lot of similar interests, so I usually give him something I would like to receive. Or I give him something that’s a reminder of something fun we did together. I know other people usually don’t know what sort of gifts to give me, so they buy me gift cards for stores they know I like.
    I’m happy just getting a gift and that usually shows in my response. The only person that usually gets disappointed responses from me is my sister, but that’s because she usually steals something from me, only to give it back to me as a gift. She thinks it’s hilarious. I don’t really care for it.
    Still, I’m better at giving gifts than receiving them. I have a reputation for giving great gifts and that gives me anxiety because I feel like if I give someone a gift that’s just “eh” I’ll be judged harder because the expectations are higher.
     
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  10. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I've always been told I'm quite good at choosing gifts, but I never feel confident about my choices until they're in the hands of the recipient and evidently being used.
    As to receiving.... I'm a list person. I make quite a specific list to a set budget, but they are always things that I wouldn't buy for myself because they feel indulgent. This year I have a selection of new hats on the list. I also list things that are either practical or will get a great deal of use. Some people have bought me dreadful gifts in the past, so I guess I don't communicate my desires that well.
     
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  11. Running Girl

    Running Girl Active Member

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    My husbsnd and I (both on the spectrum ) make lists, and we never buy each other anything that isnt on the list. Very specific, even with a link whete to purchase it. We know what we want. Works so well, the rest of our families do the same thing now too.
     
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  12. Alexej

    Alexej Active Member

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    A lot of good points here. I never feel that I am profuse enough with thanks when I get presents, so the people dont think I like what I get.
     
  13. hatfullofrain

    hatfullofrain Active Member

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    My sister is the same. I only buy her gifts when I see something I know she wants. That she has told me she wants.

    Or I buy her chocolate and edible things. Can't go wrong with food.

    I understand the NT need for the fun of surprises, but we don't do things the NT way in my family. We've made up our own rules.

    I don't know the answer, but I understand your frustration.
     
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  14. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy getting gifts but I do realize people's appreciation of gifts.
     
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  15. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I tried giving a list to Mr Gracey one Christmas.

    In the event he couldn't find or buy a specific item I offered alternatives on the list too.

    It was a fair sized list.
    I wanted to make things as easy as possible for him.
    I'd have appreciated any one of the listed items.

    Damn fool bought EVERYTHING on the list :)

    I understood the sentiment behind his actions.
    It was a bit overwhelming having to appreciate every single one of those gifts on top of reacting correctly to satisfy his excitement at surprising me with such a huge display of affection/appreciation.

    moral of story : Don't give Mr Gracey lists unless it only has one thing written on it :)
     
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  16. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, instead of asking for a wish list directly, since that doesn't work, you could try to ask them a list of interests they have. Maybe try to write them down yourself if they only want to say them if they let you do this. Then you could look up interest(s) off of Amazon and buy something that looks nice appearance-wise.
     
  17. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    You guys are very lucky to get gifts.. In my region, in my culture, we don't have this gift exchange ceremony.

    We do give & get gifts occasionally, but usually the giver will say, "oh open it after i go back" because we usually feel shy or a bit afraid to see if the gift is what the recipient wants or not. But depends on people though.

    I would be happy to receive any gift, since it's very kind and thoughtful of the giver to get me something.. But opening the gift in front of everybody, where it is like a reaction competition? Sounds overwhelming..

    Maybe because you regularly get gifts every year, so it's kinda not a happy occasion for you..