I recently received a question that bears discussion:
"What types of presents should be given at the beginning of a relationship that the man hopes to be a serious, lasting love? (and what not to give!)"
Generally speaking, a man should not give ANY gifts for the first few two or three dates. Most guys tend toward "buy her affections" behavior, where they try to lock women into an implied commitment by buying gifts for her far too soon. What this really does is scare women off.
Instead, a guy should save his money to demonstrate that he's FUN, and then show her a good time. An example might be to get a few rolls of quarters and take her to the arcade. Or buy her a really nice pastry that you can both savor together.
Gifts early on should be geared toward enhancing the experience of your time together, not to impress a woman. Hold off on the flowers and the candy until you've built up some genuine rapport and interest from her, then your gifts will be appreciated. Its not the same as using escort services where you choose an escort for the services she offers in exchange of money.
After three dates or so, the guy can then open up a little and maybe get her a card or some flowers. But the idea here, again, is to keep it LOW KEY. It's better to under-gift at this point so that he can show thoughtful caution rather than hasty imprudence.
Remember: It's not the money you spend, but the message you send.
This reader also asked:
"What types of presents he should give to show its just a short-term, sexy affair, a fling that will go no further? (and what not to give!)"
For a sexy affair, give sexy gifts! Small things like a coupon to fulfill her fantasy, or take her to a
lingerie store to buy a really hot nightie. How about a couple of tickets to a steamy movie?
Do NOT give expensive gifts as they imply a level of commitment that neither party may be willing to make. No jewelry or big-ticket items. Keep it tasteful, not trashy.
"What types of presents to give to a girl as a sign that now the man is starting to think more seriously about the relationship, and wants to show that he hopes it will last?"
When it comes time for an anniversary or some kind of major event, such as Valentine's Day, or a birthday, you're pretty much obligated to step up and produce something memorable. I once gave a girl a naked Barbie doll with a coupon in the box that said I'd buy her (and Barbie) some clothes, as long as I got to help pick them out. That went over BIG with her.
Another possibility for a good "relationship" gift is something that links you two together. No, not
handcuffs, or matching T-shirts. I'm talking about something that will keep reminding her of you when you're not around, such as a nice pair of wine glasses from your trip to visit some vineyards, or make her a CD with a bunch of your favorite songs. Get her a gift that does double-duty.
"What signs should a man look out for to know what present to give? How do you interpret her signals?"
A man should show some insight and intelligence in his choice for a gift. He should look at the woman's interests and get her something that stands out. If she's into adventure sports, get her a day pass at a rock climbing gym. If she likes music, get her a ticket to a concert. Take a few minutes to think it through and you'll come up with dozens of good ideas.
The idea here is to be IRREGULAR with the timing, and understand the need for some variation in the way you gift. It's less about the "what" than it is about the "when" and "how." Small gifts every so often are much more effective than the large ones. Save the large gifts for the big events.
He should also watch out for signals that indicate the woman is a little TOO into getting gifts. If she drops any overt hints about wanting material gratification, he should run to the nearest exit.
"Is there a time when you really shouldn't give a gift?"
Don't give gifts solely to smooth over an error on your part, such as insulting her and expecting to get in her good graces again just by sending her candy. You have to show her some genuine remorse with the gift so that it doesn't come across as just an empty gesture.
Be wary of being the only one in the relationship buying gifts. She should buy things for you
occasionally, too - IF she's really into you. Demonstrate that you can provide, but let her demonstrate she can nurture you back.
Another time you shouldn't buy her a gift is to prompt her for sexual favors in return. It sets up a bad precedent for you, and it cheapens her.
The best rule for gifts is that they should always be given with NO expectation of return. Give just for the pleasure of giving and you'll rarely go wrong.
Remember that when you've got your self-confidence established, you don't have to worry as much about when and how to give gifts, because there won't be any subtext of neediness on your part.
That just means that when you have the right Alpha Male vibe to you, a woman is not going to misinterpret the meaning of your gift. She'll understand that it's something she should cherish and not take for granted.
On the other hand, if you're giving to GET, you're going to have problems. Women will not want to be with you because you're setting up an agenda, and that's the most unattractive thing a woman can sense from you.