presents that say, “let’s be friends and not date”

consider this post like chili that’s better the next day.  it’s an updated version of a post from last Christmas, but i thought it might bear repeating.

also, we still need $400 $300 more to reach our $600 goal for a single mom and her 5 children.  my friend Jiffy who works with them told the family about our endeavor here at the blog and the mom cried.  her family was facing having absolutely nothing for Christmas and now they have hope of something to unwrap.  please give.  no amount is too small…or too large.  MAKE A DONATION

due to timing issues, i have had to shorten the due date of donations to Monday the 12th. 

presents that say, “let’s be friends and not date”

why don’t you just ask me to explain string theory?  it might be easier.

first of all, giving a girl a gift, any gift, will be interpreted as you wanting to date her if she wants to interpret it that way.  you could give her socks and Starbucks mints (aka: napalm for your mouth) and, if she’s into you, she’ll think, “he wants me to be warm while he kisses me on my minty fresh mouth.”  while you, on the other hand, simply couldn’t think of anything better than socks and you saw her buy Starbucks mints once and figured she was out.

i’m of the opinion that you should err on the side of she’s-going-to-read-too-much-into-this.  if both of you are DEFINITELY on the same page about your friendship, fine.  get her whatever you want.  she’ll appreciate something that took thought and not try to sit on your lap.  however, if there’s ANY question about how she feels about you, you need to be very careful.  anything that could at all be seen as a personal gesture by you, will be blissfully received by her as some sort of declaration.  she may even convince herself that the gift is your subconscious telling her that you feel more for her than you realize.

nope.  i’m not joking.

happens all the time.  girls are weird like that.

even if she doesn’t come to that conclusion, her friends might.  then you’ve got a gaggle of misunderstanding on your hands.

either way, when she finally figures out you don’t intend to date her, you’ll be the bad guy.  you’ll be the one who mislead her with your socks and Starbucks mints.  lame?  unfair?  bat $#!+ crazy?  yes.  but that’s the reality.

since anything you give her can be interpreted as you wanting to date her, i’m going to give some “don’ts” instead.  hopefully these will help you avoid the awkwards.

1.  don’t single her out – make a list of friends (how long is totally up to you) and buy them all gifts.  it could even be the same gift, doesn’t really matter.  but if she thinks she’s the only one you bought for, you’re in trouble.

2.  don’t buy her anything drinkable or edible – wine and chocolate, or the like, are considered very romantic.  don’t do that.  if you’re buying the same thing for everyone and it happens to be consumable, that’s fine.

3.  don’t buy her perfume – in her mind, this will only solidify your desire to smell her neck.  and it’s always best to never trust your own judgment when it comes to what smells good.  unless, we have since learned, it smells like food.

4.  don’t buy her “let’s hang out” gifts – movie tickets, dinner for two certificates, tickets to (insert favorite sporting event here).  this will make it way too easy for her to assume that you intend to share in this gift with her.  the exception is if you designate it to be used with someone other than you.

5.  don’t make it too initimate – proving you know her so well that you can pick the exact right thing only she would love, is like defcon 5 of danger-love zone.  you’ve just given her the green light to adore you and expect hearts and flowers next.

i know this isn’t the “buy her rock candy” post you were looking for, but hopefully having some parameters to your gift giving will help you out.  keeping a clear intent behind the gift is much more important than the gift itself.

good luck with that.

all right girls, help the boys out.  what gift would say, “awesome! we’re friends!” if you received it from a guy?

and again i say DONATE!

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26 comments on “presents that say, “let’s be friends and not date”

  1. The friends will read into it. Two of my best friends are girls, and any commercial break intervening ‘Grey’s anatomy’ (yes, feel sorry) was used to listen to a voicemail from a guy as if they were the FBI and the kidnappers had just called for the first time. I have heard amazing theories in which the two girls almost seemed to willingly drag each other down in a neverending cirkle of false conclusions. I was using the commercial break to catch up on football scores while ensuring them the guy honestly meant to say only what he litterally did say. They wouldn’t have my common sense.

    I always give any girl chocolate for every occassion (give me one reason why not), but make sure to announce it’s my standard gift while handing it. Not impressive, but very clear.

  2. Jess says:

    High fives. Maybe accompanied by a candy cane. That’s about it.

    oh! oh! another good option is to TEAM up with someone–your sister or brother, male roommate who hangs with you guys as well, your PARENTS. If the gift is “from us to you” instead of “from me to you,” it’s so much harder to jump to the wrong conclusion.

    If you have to go to the lengths of enlisting your roommate, and buying gifts for most of your mutual acquaintances in order to not seem suspicious, you may wish to a) re-evaluate whether you do actually have feelings for this woman and/or b) whether giving her a Christmas present is now worth the trouble and production it has now become.

    If the answers to the above are no and no, stick with a Holly-Jolly High Five.

  3. Jenn says:

    Hmm being a graduate student – I would totally take anything drinkable or edible and understand it to be a gesture of survival rather than one of liking. But for those who can afford their own food and remember what the sun looks like – I would suggest you give something to someone else on their behalf – like the family sponsored here or World Vision. It’s a win-win – you don’t have to decide it that scarf is too personal and someone who needs a gift gets something awesome – like a duck.

  4. Rachel says:

    Personally, I have a hard time thinking of any guy that I wasn’t interest in ever having a reason to give me a Christmas present. Maybe I’m just not the gift-getting type (my last love language on the list), but the closer my friends are to me, the less I would expect them to spend money on me . I know they love me, therefore it is unneccessary. Why this doesn’t translate to family, who I am even closer to, I don’t know. I anticipate a gift or two from them, though honestly I’d be just as happy without.

    But if I were to receive a gift from a guy friend, I’d want a book. A- I’m a reader. I love books. Any kind of books. That would show me that he thought of me but since everyone who’s ever met me knows my infatuation with books, it wouldn’t be particularly intimate. Saying, “I read this and thought you would like it too” tells me that you care about me, were thoughtful, but I think it would be hard to misconstrue that as a declaration of love. Books just aren’t that sexy. At least not the genres I prefer.

    If you’re buying a girl a Harlequin romance, there’s just something wrong with you, and your gift will probably make her examine the room for emergency exits before she can work up an insincere “wow. how thoughtful. thank you.”

    Too, reading is a solitary occupation, so you’ve just given me something that will keep me home in bed alone on a Friday night. And made me happy with your incredibly thoughtful gift: a bigger book budget.

    • Jenn says:

      Yes books are good – just know what the reader likes or it could get awkward unless that is your point. I had a guy I liked – and vice versa – who knew I HATED Stephen King novels – so when I opened my gift and saw a Stephen King novel I was cheesed – turns out that was the point, it was just a dust jacket over a better novel. In the end he had listened to me rant enough about books to know what I wanted. You also may want to avoid any faith based books that could come off sexist… common sense I know but I am sure someone is still going to do that this season.

      • Rachel says:

        What a clever bloke! He gets bonus points for doing something to get a rise out of you. Much more memorable and gave you a story to tell. Well done.

    • Jess says:

      dunno, I feel like a book might say, “I read this and was incredibly moved by it. Please read it so we can discuss at length over coffee or wine.”

  5. “i’m of the opinion that you should err on the side of she’s-going-to-read-too-much-into-this.” ~ that is some good advice! For some reason, girls always read into EVERYTHING…good or bad.

    If a guy isn’t sure about what to get, it’s best not to get anything at all. Gift-giving can be complicated, especially if one of the people just want to be friends and the other may have some kind of interest in that person. It’s best to avoid all of the awkwardness and just give nothing…maybe a Christmas card and candy cane may be sufficient. 😉

    Great post!

  6. Rachel says:

    Do any of you find it exhausting the way our minds work? My roommate and I work hard at nipping those types of mind trails in the bud, but it takes conscious effort not to read romance into every situation. We almost have to disillusion ourselves with doubtful negativity and assume the worst just not to catch ourselves drifting into fantasy what-if-this-means-that mode.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Just throwing this out there; I’m glad I’m a guy. I don’t have to deal with reading too much into stuff. I do have to deal with not getting hints, but that’s a different story.

    • Rachel says:

      I know. Sometimes I think it would just be easier to be a guy. Actually, a lot of times I feel that way. But it’s not all bad to be a woman. God designed us this way for a reason. As crazy as we may feel sometimes, when it’s almost universal, you have to accept that there was purpose in it. Or, he just wanted us to drive you guys and ourselves crazy. Of course, when you guys just don’t get it, it drives us nuts! You make it impossible for us to ever be certain about anything. And for people cursed with the desire to control, that’s a tough thing to take.

      • Lynne says:

        I don’t necessarily think it’s harder or easier to be either clueless or super analytical.

        I know guys who read too closely and girls who are clueless, and vice versa, so I don’t think it’s a gender thing, so much as a personality thing.

  8. Bethany says:

    It’s hard to say, because each girl is going to take hints from different things, but for me it would be those cheap bath kits: Shower gel, lotion, body spray all in some little basket-y thing.

    The CHEAP is important. If you get her something luxurious, then she can still read intimacy into it. But if you bought it from Target, it says the same thing as the other bajillionty-five bath sets we’ve received before: “I thought it would be nice to get you something, but I really don’t know you at all. Girls like to be clean, right?”

    But to be on the safe side, I just wouldn’t get her anything. I don’t buy my girlfriends presents, generally, so any gift from someone outside my family is going to stand out in my mind.

    • asoulwalker says:

      “Girls liike to be clean, right?” That is hilarious. Now I want to buy someone a bath kit.

      • jennw2ns says:

        Yes. We do. (Says this chick who’s still in her pj’s, unshowered, at noon-thirty.)

      • Lynne says:

        Please don’t buy any girl bath kit. I get SO MANY of those every Christmas from aunt what’s-her-face that I’m not even blood related to, but she thinks that she knows me and that I like musky fruity bath soaps, but they really just end up at Goodwill.

        If a guy friend gave me a bath kit, I would assume that he didn’t even care about me as a friend to take a little time to think about what I like. I might be inclined to throw it back at him. But I probably wouldn’t, because I’m too nice. But I still might throw it.

  9. Regan says:

    Presents from guys sometimes DOES mean they are romantically interested in you. Happened to me twice, and I know for certain that both guys were interested in me. (Sadly, I wasn’t interested in them, or the ending might have been happier.) So chicks are not all that crazy.

    • jennw2ns says:

      Yeah–my boyfriend just assured me last weekend that “it’s never platonic for a guy, no matter what he tells you.” I don’t know if this is true, but I suspect he would have a better idea about that than I would.

  10. Lynne says:

    Two words: Nerf gun

    Problem solved.

  11. Tess says:

    I think the method of the delivery helps clarify intent as well. For example, I had a guy friend (who I already knew was JUST a friend) yell-ask me from a different room which of 3 books I would most like to have. I chose one, he walked into the room, threw it to me (unwrapped), and said Merry Christmas. Maybe a bit too direct for some people’s taste I guess, but it made me laugh, and I spent zero time wondering if this was some sort of love gift.

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