How Bad Gifts Affect Romantic Relationships
Gift-giving and Relationships
B uying a gift for someone is an act of kindness that helps us communicate our emotions for the receiver and strengthen our relationships with them. In these terms, the gift is not a mere object or product that we give to someone else. Instead, a gift can be considered as a messenger of our emotions. The type of occasion and relationship with the receiver will shape the type of gift we will choose for the receiver. A perfect gift for your mother's birthday might not be so perfect for the anniversary with your loved one. When it comes to gift-giving in romantic relationships, the success of the gift could significantly impact the well-being of the relationship itself. Consider the significance of gift-giving at the start of a romantic relationship. The consequences of gifts on recipients can help to advance relationships. At the same time, gifts can help maintain the relationship, serving as a demonstration of love and commitment to the other person. A romantic gift is often more meaningful than a gift given to a large group of people, such as friends or coworkers, because of a romantic connection's ongoing and enduring nature (Huang & Yu, 2000). Furthermore, romantic gifts have symbolic and expressive value in addition to practical value. Research on this topic affirms that in romantic relationships, gifting serves as a way to show similarity to your partner. A study on married couples demonstrated that people who were quite similar to their spouse were more accurate in choosing better gifts for their spouse's preferences than those who were very unlike. At the same time, learning that a spouse has correctly predicted one's preferences may boost the feeling that the partner is similar to oneself. In the early stages of a relationship, the similarity is helpful in the creation of initial acquaintanceships. Similarity appears to grow in value as the relationship progresses, as it provides the foundation for feeling understood by our partner. In this view, providing a "bad" gift to someone we care for might affect the view that you and your partner are similar, weakening the relationship. The idea that a beautiful act like gift-giving could result in something negative is awful. The fear of delivering something unwanted can put a lot of stress on the givers and result in Giftophobic behaviors (You can read more about Giftophobia in our shared secret section). The longer the relationship, the more likely you will be requested to choose a present for your significant other, so you must be prepared! That is why it is essential to know what constitutes a poor gift, what the effects are, and what are the things we must do in order to prevent giving a poor gift.
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What Constitutes a Bad Gift?
The extent to which a gift is considered good or bad is based on the receiver's preferences. Therefore there is not such a thing as the "List of gifts you must not choose," but luckily for you, there are some indications that would tell you which behaviors could trick you into choosing the wrong gift. Some points that you have to keep in mind are:
Direct Effects of Bad Gift on Romantic Relationships
Dunn et al. (2008) explored the effects of good and bad gifts on relationships. In their study, thirty-two heterosexual couples in dating relationships were recruited. They were given a list of gifts to choose from for their partner. The idea was that each participant would then evaluate their perceived similarity to the other person by looking at the present chosen for them. Each participant was asked to rate the gifts in the order they would prefer to receive them before the experiment. The experimenters then gave these preferences back to the individuals as though they had come from a new acquaintance. One-half of the participants were told that their partner had chosen their top choice, while the other half were told that they had chosen their last choice. This resulted in two groups: those who got what they desired and those who didn't. After getting a terrible gift from their love partner, males reported feeling less similar to her, which appeared to impact their perceptions of the relationship's future negatively. However, after getting a bad gift from a romantic partner, women's perceptions of the relationship's future were unaffected, despite women being just as dissatisfied with the bad gifts as men. Dunn et al. (2008) hypothesized that the observed gender differences reflect a broader tendency for women, more than men, to protect relationships from potential threats(e.g., a bad gift).
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Why are Gifts Necessary in Romantic Relationships?
In a romantic relationship, gifts can serve various purposes. To make an apology, feed the flame of love, show gratitude, and celebrate special occasions.
Now you can look back at all those gifts you gave your partner with more consciousness about what constitutes a good or a poor gift. Hopefully, you didn't give them anything terrible, but if that's the case, don't worry, there is always time to make up for it!
Gian Marco De Luca
The Shared Secrets Lab,