(Check out my next post this week for great responses to receive gifts graciously.)
You don’t have to be a child to LOVE receiving gifts. But, when it comes down to it, kids just naturally get it! They show excitement, enthusiasm, and happiness. Their faces light up. They exude emotion as they tear off wrapping and dive into their surprise. With children, it’s not hard to tell if they’re delighted by a gift.
With adults—not so much. While some adults do resemble children when receiving a gift, the reactions of many adults leave much to be desired. Here’s an example. I once struggled to find a great baby gift (not my forte) for a friend. When I gave her the present, she thanked me and promptly put it in her car. I never got to see if she liked it, was happy, or what. It simply disappeared.
My all-time favorite one though is this. My husband and I once found a beautiful black sweater we loved so much, we not only bought one for a family member, but one for him as well. When the relative opened the gift, his wife critically blurted out, “Oh, black. I don’t know if we can get used to black on him! Really? Of all the things to say, that was their best response?
Giving a gift requires time and effort. Even the smallest of gifts requires thought, shopping and money. In spite of this, we love to give presents. And we love it because it makes us feel good. The old adage, “It is better to give than to receive” hits the nail on the head. We’re take pleasure in the act. We like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from bringing joy to others. For most of us to really feel that satisfaction, however, we have to know the gift was appreciated. We want to see and feel the receiver’s reaction.
Flat, indifferent responses take the joy out of giving. Don’t be an ingrate with responses like these in your gift-receiving moments:
- “Can I open this later?” (meaning after you leave) – This response denies the giver all the joy of giving the gift. They don’t get to see your response and will definitely feel slighted hearing these words.
- “Do I have to open this now?” – Seriously? Someone went to the trouble to think of, shop for and buy you a gift and you want to know if you HAVE TO open it now? This one is never a good response to generosity. It creates discomfort for everyone and most often the giver will respond politely with “No, you can wait,” but secretly inside they are disappointed.
- “Oh, thanks, I just bought one (or got one) of these.” – Unless the gift is something you want and need two of, the “I just bought one” is unnecessary info that should be left out.
- “Oh, my God… but I don’t have a gift for you!!” – This one is a common response among women, one that needs to be ditched. Giving a gift was the choice of the giver. If someone elected to purchase a present for you without specifically asking to exchange gifts, no apology is necessary. They are doing what they wanted, expressing sentiment. Be a gracious receiver and let them know how surprised and pleased you are. I challenge you to say absolutely nothing about not having a gift for them. Don’t take away from their generosity by apologizing and shifting the focus. Simply enjoy!
- “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” – This is definitely an outdated saying. It’s from a time when people spoke more formally, less directly and more politely. How can the gift giver possibly respond but to explain and defend why they wanted to do this for you? Skip this response.
So exactly what should you say? See our next post this week for great responses for gracious receiving and be sure to share these posts with people who want to be better receivers.
Now, tell me…what are your horror stories? What’s the worst thing ever said to you when you gave a present? I’d love to hear your experiences, too.