Your man bought you the worst gift ever. How do you tell him?

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January 14, 2016
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Your man bought you the worst gift ever. How do you tell him?

Your man bought you the worst gift ever. How do you tell him?

It’s your birthday. Happy birthday! The streamers are strung, the cards are plentiful, and the cake is tasty.

Your man got you a scarf and a pedicure gift card! But you have at least 10 scarves – 2 in that colour – and the gift card is for a spa you’ve never been to.


With a face filled with disappointment, you complain to him, “you should know me by now!”

Birthday. RUINED.

Does this sound like you? Oh, honey. We need to have an uncomfortable conversation.

With all of the work that we women put into a relationship to make someone happy – and that includes romantic AND family, and friends, and co-workers, and clients, and the barista – sometimes we miss the signs that a man has put equal thought into making us happy. Hollywood doesn’t help our perceptions of what a grand gesture really looks like, either. We grow up thinking animated princes with heaps of cartoon money and smitten boys standing outside our bedroom window serenading us with a boom box is what we have to look forward to.

What do men want? To please you. When your man realizes it’s time to pick out a present for you, he likely starts to sweat a little because you are so very important to him, and here he’s got a chance to treat you to a physical symbol of his love and devotion to you, and he has NO idea how to find the perfect thing. But your birthday is next week!

What does he do? He thinks about everything you like, you wear, you read, you eat, you listen to, you watch, you said. You, you, you! You are at the forefront of his mind. He knows you love scarves and that you love that scarf in particular, so he finds one with the same colour in it and thinks, ‘exactly!’ Then he remembers you commenting on how lovely it is to get a pedicure, and pedicurists are all over the place, so he picks the one his co-worker’s wife goes to and gets you a gift card. Nailed it!

That’s what he was thinking when he bought you those gifts. And now you’ve hurt his feelings by telling him he’s wrong. You punished him for being thoughtful.


But you can overcome this obstacle with one simple realization: he can’t read your mind.

Men don’t pick up on subtlety like women do. So when you’re out and randomly mention a new book that’s coming out, he heard you’re looking forward to the book, but he’s already forgotten the name and figures you’ll buy it for yourself. You need to tell him, “If you’re thinking of getting me a birthday gift, there’s a book I’d really like.”

This strategy for avoiding unwanted gift situations is the same key to any successful relationship.

JUST TELL HIM! Be honest. If there is something you really want for your birthday, tell him what it is. If you feel like you can’t have this conversation face-to-face because it’s rude, (it’s not rude, for the record, if you have established that you will be buying each other gifts), or you just want to be a bit cheeky, print off a picture of what it is you want, draw hearts all over the page, and write “For Catherine’s Birthday…please!” and leave it in his favourite coffee cup.

If you’re caught in a situation where he bought you something you don’t want, tell him…nicely. “Sweetheart, I’m so touched by your thoughtfulness. I hate to say it, but I don’t like this shirt. Would you mind if we go to the store together and exchange it?” I know that it’s hard, but he will appreciate the direction, and the fact that you want him included in choosing something you do like. If you’ve ever dated a decent man, you have at least one piece of jewellery he bought that you hate, but kept so that you didn’t hurt his feelings. But did you really not hurt his feelings, or did you waste his money? If you can make an exchange, it’s worthwhile to do so because he will learn more about what you like, and he won’t ask you why you never wear that necklace he gave you – and he WILL ask.

There are so many things that can go wrong with gift giving. Maybe you are the first woman aside from his mother that he has ever bought a gift for. Maybe he got the wrong size sweater because that company’s fit is smaller than what you usually wear and the salesperson told him so. A gift card isn’t impersonal – perhaps you’re the kind of woman who refrains from spending money on herself, and he wants you to treat yourself.

It’s not the gift that matters, it’s the thought. Look at the gift from his perspective, and always say thank you like you mean it. And mean it.



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Chantal Heide – Canada’s Dating Coach

Chantal Heide is an Author and Motivational Speaker, focusing on dating and relationship building. Her books Dating 101, Comeback Queen, Fake Love Need Not Apply, No More Assholes, After The First Kiss, Fix That Shit, Say Yes To Goodness, and Custom Made (available on this website, Amazon, and your favorite online book retailer) help her readers attract the love they’re looking for, regardless of their starting point . View her BOOKS page for more information. Be sure to check out more free advice on Facebook, YouTube, and Itunes, as well as fun tidbits about her life on Instagram and Twitter.

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