Birthday Week Post : What Should the Spending Limit be for Giving A First Gift in a Relationship?

I was aware that this caused people some grief but I never realized how much. In fact I hear more people confused about what to give more than how much it should cost. And then I realized … I had my girl Goggles on. Women don’t typically have this problem in relationships, because if you’re a straight woman any gift you give a man is usually pricey seeing how men’s apparel, electronics, cologne pretty much everything is expensive. However, I totally understand the confusion and frustration for both sexes no matter the sexual orientation. Gift giving is difficult ALREADY, but the FIRST gift you give to someone you’re dating has the potential to make, break or complicate the interaction. For a man, showing that he can provide, showing that he listens and that he cares enough to get you a gift is a big deal. If you’re from NYC, you know that guys are VERY particular about who they spend their money on, because in NYC you don’t just go spending your hard-earned money on anybody, considering how expensive it is to keep up with NY fashion, eat half way healthy, drink, club, and STILL be able to buy a monthly metro-card. There are some exceptions (for the “ballers”) but for us middle class dreamers….uhhh no. However, no matter the location, budget, or sexual orientation the first gift sets the expectation bar. If you start too big, one of three things could happen, your partner could think you’re “balling” thus expect bigger and better things, they could think you REALLY REALLY like or love them  (which could be a bit scary assuming the  relationship is pretty new due to the fact it’s the first gift) or they could refuse to take it, or even feel pressured to match your gift in price. If you start too little they could think you’re cheap or that you don’t care very much. In my opinion, the only thing that trumps the price of the gift is the thoughtfulness of it. If I’ve said to my partner, I would love to go to Cipriani’s (Famous celebrity filled Italian restaurant in NYC) one day, and my partner surprises me with a night out…I would be ecstatic because they paid attention to my interest. Now yes, Cipriani is pricey but I would be more swooned over the fact that they listened, I wouldn’t feel taken back by the money spent. Same if I said, I love O.P.I nail polish,I think I want to get their new pastel blue color, way less expensive but still thoughtful. If you can create an experience or give someone a gift they have yet to give themselves that in itself is a perfect 1st gift because you showed them that you really do listen when they speak and that you went out of your way to deliver. Who doesn’t want a partner like that?! Now if you slipped up and haven’t listened to them or genuinely don’t have any gift ideas, my equation for this situation is that the gift should be a reflection of how you feel about them with respect to how they feel about you.

A spending limit is relative. What’s considered cheap and expensive is not the same for everyone, so you must do what’s best for your budget. If you think your gift is too expensive, it may in fact be. If you are more worried about that person feeling obligated than excited you went too high. If your gift is too practical (ie; foot cream) and other people give you bad reactions to the idea, you went too low. Remember that the best gifts are thoughtful experiences and all the best ones are free !


*special thanks to C. Nau for submitting this question* 


One thought on “Birthday Week Post : What Should the Spending Limit be for Giving A First Gift in a Relationship?

  1. I agree with the points u made. I would like to add it all depends on the two ppl involved and how deep is the relationship. It is gud to both agree on setting limits on buy each other gifts so this way the is no confusion. It is a case by case situation.

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s