What Not to Buy Your Girlfriend

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For many guys, getting their girlfriend a gift for an upcoming birthday, holiday or special celebration can be an anxiety filled task. If you find yourself clueless upon buying a gift for your girlfriend, a good place to start is knowing what gifts are typically best to avoid.

Here are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind as you shop for a girlfriend gift:


1. Avoid items designed for cooking, cleaning or everyday chores.

Even if she needs a new toaster, vacuum cleaner or iron, it's usually best to steer clear from these types of products. Giving these types of gifts could give the impression that you view your significant other in more of a domestic way – and they definitely DO NOT carry with them the feeling of romance that she longs for.

2. Avoid the kiosk tables in the department store.

Department store kiosks typically feature pick-up-and-go items that the retailer wants to sell quickly - it's kind of like buying a candy bar at the check out aisle in the grocery store. The products on these tables are typically inexpensive, and are meant for impulse buyers or cheapskates, and they can usually be found in the jewelry department. Shiny, prepackaged jewelry is not only considered an easy out, it sends the message that you chose the first thing that caught your eye. Most women have a sixth sense about these things, and know when a gift has been hastily chosen just to get the gift-buying over with.

3. Don't buy expensive gifts you can't afford just to impress her.

With that credit card burning a hole in your pocket, you must resist this temptation and listen to your head instead of your heart! Even if she's been drooling over that extravagant emerald necklace, buying it for her may give her the wrong impression of your financial status. Building the relationship on credit can be even more devastating if the relationship were to end suddenly - not to mention the tension that could be caused if she knows you're spending beyond your means. Don't allow your gift to become a source of stress or guilt for the recipient or for yourself!

4. Don't buy her something that you want for yourself.

It's true that you both might enjoy a fancy new barbecue grill or that big screen TV you've had your eye on, though chances are that she'd see the gift as being more perfect for "Boy's Night" than a gift that was chosen with her in mind. Likewise, even if she regularly attends your football games with you, unless she is truly a fanatic, a pair of tickets to the big game would not be a good idea. Lastly, be careful when buying lingerie as a gift for your girlfriend. In most cases, she'll likely see this as a gift that you'll appreciate more than she will!

5. Avoid gifts that imply she has room for improvement.

A gift certificate for a make-over (not to be confused with a spa gift, which is usually well received), a piece of exercise equipment, or a self help book are good examples of "improvement" related gifts that are likely to NOT make a big splash. Even if you don't mean anything by it, she could take it personally. Hurt feelings can linger, and could affect a relationship long after the suspect gift was presented.

6. Don't buy her clothes.

While there are some exceptions, fashion apparel should typically be avoided. There's just too many variables -- styles, colors, body shapes, etc... If you pick something that's too loose or too tight, you're just inviting one of those conversations that'll make you want to pull your hair out. Many ladies have a hard time picking out their OWN clothes and will spend hours trying on items in front of mirrors -- only to decide they HATE them. So, unless she makes a point of oohing and aahing over a particular clothing item, it's a safe bet that your odds of going into a store, walking down the aisles, and -- within a few minutes of deliberation -- finding something she'll actually like, are far less than slim.

Once you've got the basic "don'ts" down, the key to giving a successful girlfriend gift is to start brainstorming early. Waiting until the last minute will be the kiss of death -- literally. Give yourself at least a month to start thinking about her interests and hobbies. Pay attention to the types of movies she prefers, the food she likes, what she talks about when you're together or how she spends her free time. Ask her friends and family for suggestions and be willing to do a little research. Find out what stores she likes.

In a pinch, a gift card to her favorite shopping spot might suffice. If you consider giving a gift card, just be aware that this could be viewed as "taking the easy-way-out". So if you do choose this gift, be sure to make it personal by getting one that is related to her interests to show that you at least put some thought into it. And, it would probably be a good idea to combine it with a small non-gift card gift, so she knows some effort was exerted.

And lastly, keep your ears open for those little subtle hints! Women will often point out what they want, either directly ("Oh, I'd love to have that!") or indirectly, ("Oh, look at that! Isn't it beautiful? It would look good on me. I really love it! and so on..."). Buying her something she's already pointed out to you is most likely your absolute #1 BEST BET.

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