How Do I Get Him a Gift Without Making Him Think I’m Asking to Get Serious? [Ask A Dude]

Dear Dude:

I’ve been hanging out with this guy for a quite few months now — nothing serious, but we’re definitely good friends who share an attraction and occasionally a bed. With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to know if it would be appropriate to get him a gift. I wasn’t planning on setting up a formal “gift exchange” dinner or anything, but every now and again I’m in a store and see something that makes me think, “Ahh, he would love this!” Small items, mostly tchotchkes that relate to our inside jokes…you get the idea.

Would it completely scare him away to snag a lil something to wrap up and give him? Is it doormat-y to be fine not receiving anything in return?

Happy Holidays!

Trying Not to Be a Grinch

Dear Trying not to Be a Grinch,

It’s tricky territory to navigate when you’re friends who share more than what puritanical platonic expectations declare you should share. There’s always the risk of an unexpected gift to be translated as an intention to shift the boundaries of what you have and create new terrain for something…else (more?). I totally get your hesitancy and flutter of worry but don’t fret. I daresay you’re on pretty safe ground here. Depending on the gift…

If you buy him silver cuff links from Tiffany’s, that’s one statement. If you buy him a snow globe with a monkey in a Santa suit from a gift shop, that’s a different statement. So really it’s all a matter of what you get him and if it seems like it was a gift with a lot of planning put into it or not.

You get him a cute little tchotchke (great word, btw!) and odds are you won’t scare him away. You won’t necessarily even make him think you’re looking to transform what you’ve got into something it’s not. I think you’d be playing it safe.

Is it doormat-y to be fine not receiving a gift? I wouldn’t think so but I’m not everyone. Yes, it’s a little one-sided but there are one-sided moments in every friendship. Certainly accept a gift if he gets one for you. And don’t insist he doesn’t get you anything in return. However, it’s a risk that you’re making it feel like an obligation that he needs to get you something. I think the key to pulling this off without arousing any kind of miscommunication from you is in HOW you give it to him.

The more casually and last minute-esque you give him what you got him, the less he’s going to possibly think “oh, sh*t, I didn’t get her something. Was I supposed to? Are we suddenly doing that? Does that mean we’re more than…?” and so on. You don’t treat it as a big thing and he won’t treat it as a big thing.

Besides, it’s Christmas, friends get gifts for friends at Christmas. ‘Tis the season.

Happy shopping,

Santa Dude

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall?  We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]



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  2. I wasn’t planning on setting up a formal “gift exchange” dinner or anything, but every now and again I’m in a store and see something that makes me think, “Ahh, he would love this!” Small items, mostly tchotchkes that relate to our inside jokes…you get the idea.

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