Saturday, December 17, 2016

Want to Give Better Gifts?: Lessons from Psychological Science

In my email today was a link to this article, which explains why some people give really awful gifts without even realizing it:
In this review, we propose that many giver-recipient discrepancies can be at least partially explained by the notion that when evaluating the quality of a gift, givers primarily focus on the moment of the exchange, whereas recipients instead mostly focus on how valuable a gift will be throughout their ownership of it. Givers and receivers have different perspectives on what makes a gift “valuable”: Givers interpret that to mean that the gift will make the recipient feel delighted, impressed, surprised, and/or touched when he or she receives and opens it, whereas recipients find value in factors that allow them to better utilize and enjoy a gift during their subsequent ownership of it.
So part of the trick to buying good gifts for people is to put yourself in their shoes. Think about what it would be like if someone gave you that gift. Would you actually use it? Or would it gather dust, be regifted, or worse yet, end up in the trash? I'm sure I'm guilty of giving some really awful gifts to people because I didn't stop and consider this issue. What has probably worked best for me, especially when buying gifts for people I don't know as well, is to think of something they said recently - a hint about something they would really enjoy.

Or, if all else fails, I give them something I would want for myself and just hope for the best.

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