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How to Pick the Right Gift for Your Relationship Stage

Now don’t get nervous, but a present has the power to make or break a relationship. That’s why we’re going to help you choose wisely.


  • Step 1: Don’t scare them off! If you’ve been dating less than two months, get something impersonal but thoughtful. Books by authors they like, DVDs of their favorite movies, or CDs are all safe choices.
  • Step 2: Proceed cautiously If the romance is between two and four months old, spend a bit more but keep it light – try moderately priced electronics or an accessory for one of their hobbies.
  • TIP: Ladies, make his gifts practical, not sentimental. And don’t be offended if he does the same: Research shows that men see gift-giving as a simple economic exchange of goods.
  • Step 3: Get personal Approaching the six-month mark? Start making gifts slightly more personal. Ladies, show that you’re willing to indulge his preoccupations, even if you have to compete with them. Guys, make it a funky necklace or bracelet if you don’t want her to think it’s a prelude to a diamond ring.
  • TIP: Guys, never have earrings wrapped in a ring box!
  • Step 4: Fulfill a desire Made it past six months, but still well short of your year anniversary? Make this one thoughtful by splurging on something you know they’d love to have, but can’t or won’t spend the money on themselves.
  • Step 5: Invest in the relationship If you’re approaching the one-year mark, invest in gifts that keep the romance alive, like a weekend getaway, a course or lessons you can take together, or season tickets to something you both enjoy.
  • Step 6: Keep it creative Celebrate your one-year anniversary with a one-of-a-kind or hard-to-find item; check out eBay for inspiration. Or how about giving them a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • Step 7: Go back to practical Once you’re firmly established as a couple, feel free to suggest foregoing gifts one year so you can afford one big treat for the both of you – like a trip to the Caribbean or a 40-inch high-definition TV.
  • FACT: Nineteen percent of survey respondents expect to receive holiday gifts that they will either re-gift or re-sell.

You Will Need

  • Insight into their likes and dislikes
  • Caution
  • Generosity

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