So I’m listening to a conversation about a girl in a relationship that is having second thoughts about the relationship and the source of her doubt is the fact that her guy no longer brings her Swedish Fish.
I love Swedish Fish. Best candy ever. And if I was getting Swedish Fish on a regular basis and then one day they didn’t show up, I’d be second guessing things too. Because the first time I get Swedish Fish, I’m so very much in love. The second time I get Swedish Fish, I’m so in love with you. The third time, I think you’re so in love with me. After that point, every bag is a reminder of your love. So, when the candy stops, I believe the love has stopped.
Human beings are creatures of habit. We are patterned oriented. When the same occurrence happens again and again, we recognize the pattern, process the pattern as routine and eventually expect the occurrence to happen again. It’s our nature. So the key to success is to avoid routines.
Now, there are certain routines - working, communicating, bathing – that should rarely ever be broken and should live up to any and all expectations. I’m not talking about avoiding these routines.
I’m talking about gifts. I don’t know what it is about relationships but as soon as we get in them we want to start giving each other stuff. I guess that’s our nature too. Or maybe because we only have one word to express love, we use things to express our love. Whatever the reason, it happens. We start gifting. And it’s a wrap after the first gift. After that, it’s gift giving for the rest of the relationship. And since that routine is bound to happen; the key is to not lock in on one thing. Like the Swedish Fish. The gifting and the object cannot become one because then all the focus ends up on the object. We have to be creative. The gifting must be consistent but the gifts must vary. There must be an organized randomness if you will.
Here are a few tips:
- Having a running list of potential gifts.
- As a rule of thumb, rarely ever give the same gift twice. If I get her a candle and she likes it, I hope she really likes it because she won’t ever see it again. I’m on to the next thing on the list. I will repeat a gift upon request but only upon request.
- Sit with her at least once while she peruses her favorite magazine. She’s bound to point at something reasonably priced and say, “I want that.” Put it on the list.
- Lastly, but very important, thoughtful trumps expensive every time. There’s something about looking at something and imagining all the thought that had to go into making that something happen that excites a receiver of a gift.
Gift giving isn’t hard if you’re listening.