Author Topic: Do you call people out on PA comments?  (Read 22336 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #180 on: October 23, 2013, 05:46:19 PM »
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

If the giver has to rely on a list of stereotypes for ideas, then by your own standards, doesn't that mean the giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to know what the recipient wants?

This. I'm trying and failing to understand your logic, TootsNYC.

The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

As MariaE so clearly delineated: Unwillingness, not inability.

If you gave my son his fifth copy of MarioKart, or MarioKart for a game system he didn't own (has happened) he'd be touched. He'd just take it to GameStop and trade it in. (heck, a relative of his just game him a green T-shirt bcs his fave color is green--he was happy!) But his feelings are hurt if the subtext of your question is, "I don't want to spend time thinking about what you might like."

So I think someone could ask him for ideas in a *way* that didn't have that subtext, and thereby avoid hurting his feelings.

SlitherHiss

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #181 on: October 23, 2013, 05:49:02 PM »
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific

That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.


And, see, I personally would not be offended if asked the same question. It's just a difference in personality, I think. However, though I'm sure your son would be perfectly polite about receiving a gift that wouldn't necessarily be everything he wanted, many people would be upset about not being able to guess what he would really like. That's half the fun of buying a gift for someone - knowing what they like and using that to get the perfect gift. As someone for whom giving gifts is a love language, it would deeply hurt me if I bought something for a loved one and then they didn't really like it or it was something useless to them.

But how is the gift recipient supposed to help you with that? If you weren't able to come up with the idea on your own, it's not really the same power. That doesn't have the same "love language" logic for me. If it's that important to you, how are you nourished when you are *told* what to give someone? That's a disconnect to me.

As for when someone doesn't like our gift--I think that's a risk all gift givers run. And there's only so much that it's fair to expect the recipient to do, or the universe to do, to fulfill *that* wish.

I do think that some gift recipients are really hard to buy presents for. I'm really easy--I run around saying, "ooh, adjustable drill bit stops--I need those!" or "One day I'm going to buy pattern paper for drawing your own patterns, I could really use this" or "I love your pizza cutter--where'd you get it? Maybe I'll get one."

My husband doesn't. So I buy him beer with funny names--I know he'll drink it.



(and boy, are we WAY far away from the original topic of this thread, aren't we?)

My husband is the same way as yours, Toots, but instead of buying him something that I know he won't object to and will end up consuming, I ask him. "Sweetie, is there anything in particular you'd like for your birthday?" and he says "I dunno, something musical?" (Or green, or kitchen-related, or books)  or "...I was thinking about getting back into underwater basketweaving" and then I have a rough direction to go in. I mean, I could buy him geeky socks or t-shirts or desk gadgets (which he loves) every single gift-giving holiday, but I'd rather know where his wants are trending for that specific holiday.

Two Ravens

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #182 on: October 23, 2013, 05:50:11 PM »
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

If the giver has to rely on a list of stereotypes for ideas, then by your own standards, doesn't that mean the giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to know what the recipient wants?

This. I'm trying and failing to understand your logic, TootsNYC.

The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

As MariaE so clearly delineated: Unwillingness, not inability.

If you gave my son his fifth copy of MarioKart, or MarioKart for a game system he didn't own (has happened) he'd be touched. He'd just take it to GameStop and trade it in. (heck, a relative of his just game him a green T-shirt bcs his fave color is green--he was happy!) But his feelings are hurt if the subtext of your question is, "I don't want to spend time thinking about what you might like."

So I think someone could ask him for ideas in a *way* that didn't have that subtext, and thereby avoid hurting his feelings.

But why do you assume that is the subtext? That people don't what to spend time thinking about it? Wouldn't it be more charitable to assume that the giver cares about you, and therefore really wants to be sure to give you something that you need or makes you happy?

Olympia

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #183 on: October 23, 2013, 05:53:22 PM »
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #184 on: October 23, 2013, 05:53:43 PM »
Let's not make this specific about your son, who I'm sure was gracious and pleasant, even if disappointed to be asked. But in general, if I heard someone was offended that I'd asked him what he wants, I'd be terrified that I might offend him with something that didn't meet with some other unspoken criteria. Because he was asked with the intent of getting him something to please him. That's the "love language" bound up in that question, and getting feedback that it was offensive would be very hurtful.
Yep--
There's also the problem that while PersonA may be "FINE" with the fact that they got 3 green-lego themed video games, all from people who know and love them, PersonB, who gave the 3rd iteration of that game may not be 'fine' with going through the effort to suss out desires, hunt something down, find something, give it to someone (who is appropriately gratified by the gift)--and knows that, for all practical purposes, that effort was essentially buying PersonA the chance to stand in line for 2 hours to return the video game for a Bestbuy gift card.

(because some "love languages" are tied up in the 'result'--so it's great that someone is polite and wonderful about getting a duplicate/the wrong gift/etc...but I'll be honest, when I try REALLY hard to get the right gift [which is sometimes a lot of work and a lot of valuable time] and it falls flat, it doesn't matter that the recipient is awesome about it, I'm not especially happy about how it turned out)

But isn't that a risk we all run when we give a gift?

And I might argue that the *purpose* of the gift is -mostly- about sending emotional messages. "I care about you." "I'm indulging you." "I know you." So maybe he stands in line to exchange that gift, but the -message- still came through loud and clear. My son has exchanged such video games--and has then thought of the original giver when he played the replacement game.

TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #185 on: October 23, 2013, 05:54:40 PM »
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver recipient doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.



(Edited to fix my error in word choice--sorry!!)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 06:02:16 PM by TootsNYC »

TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #186 on: October 23, 2013, 05:55:47 PM »

If you gave my son his fifth copy of MarioKart, or MarioKart for a game system he didn't own (has happened) he'd be touched. He'd just take it to GameStop and trade it in. (heck, a relative of his just game him a green T-shirt bcs his fave color is green--he was happy!) But his feelings are hurt if the subtext of your question is, "I don't want to spend time thinking about what you might like."

So I think someone could ask him for ideas in a *way* that didn't have that subtext, and thereby avoid hurting his feelings.

But why do you assume that is the subtext? That people don't what to spend time thinking about it? Wouldn't it be more charitable to assume that the giver cares about you, and therefore really wants to be sure to give you something that you need or makes you happy?

Well, I'd say, if a person is alert to the idea that this could be the unintentional subtext, then that person might want to be sure to get that info in a way that can't be misconstrued.

SlitherHiss

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #187 on: October 23, 2013, 05:58:22 PM »
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.

No, I'm pretty sure I realize when my buying decisions are made on "Uncle George loves hangliding and sculptures of puppies" vs. "Uncle George is an agile 70yo...he probably loves golf."

TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #188 on: October 23, 2013, 05:59:28 PM »
Before this thread gets locked, I just want to say that I understand and agree with what TootsNYC is saying.

I think that gifts are meant to communicate thought, attention, and kindness.  It doesn't matter as much whether you find the "perfect" thing for someone, just that you give something out of the warmth of your heart to show that you care about them and want them to be happy.

When you turn gift-giving into a shopping list, "tell me what to get for you, and I'll wrap it up", it kind of sours the feeling of spontaneous generosity, of "Hey, look, I got you something because I care about you!"  It makes it clear that you feel an obligation to give a gift, and want to check it off.  You're trying to do something nice for someone, but you're putting on them the obligation to think of something and making them tell you what to do, instead of thinking of it yourself.

To me, it makes the gesture feel hollow if someone wants me to tell them to buy me something, instead of just giving me something they think I'll like.  "I'm supposed to get you a present.  Ok, what do you want me to get you?  Ok, here you go."

Thanks, anonymousmac.

But I do want to say that I don't believe that everyone who does the "tell me what you'd like, and I'll get it for you" is automatically someone who doesn't care, can't be bothered, etc.

I believe that people are more varied and complex than that.

I'm just trying to explain this one particular point of view.
That the choosing of the gift is the *giver's* responsibility, and that it can be seen as hurtful if the giver appears to not want to shoulder that responsibility. If it seems that choosing a gift is "too much work" or something.

TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #189 on: October 23, 2013, 06:01:28 PM »
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.

No, I'm pretty sure I realize when my buying decisions are made on "Uncle George loves hangliding and sculptures of puppies" vs. "Uncle George is an agile 70yo...he probably loves golf."


AAACK!!

No, I mistyped--what a doofus.

The *recipient* doesn't realize that the giver used a stereotype. And it's the recipient's perception of the giver's level of emotional investment that is the issue in my son's reaction.

Of course, sometimes if it's such an obvious mismatch, you can know. But again, in my son's worldview, that would be better than it would be to send him the message that you don't even want to do *that* much work.

Olympia

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #190 on: October 23, 2013, 06:09:10 PM »
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver recipient doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.



(Edited to fix my error in word choice--sorry!!)

Using a list of stereotypes to pick a gift is hardly putting time and energy into something.

Two Ravens

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #191 on: October 23, 2013, 06:12:39 PM »
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver recipient doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.



(Edited to fix my error in word choice--sorry!!)

Using a list of stereotypes to pick a gift is hardly putting time and energy into something.

Right. "Uncle Bob always buys me earrings since I'm a girl and have pierced ears, but Uncle Jim always takes the time to call me and see how I'm doing, then asks if there is anything special I want for Christmas." I'd be hard pressed to be offended by Uncle Jim.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 06:14:39 PM by Two Ravens »

TootsNYC

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #192 on: October 23, 2013, 06:18:17 PM »
And, of course, it might not be as satisfying for the gift giver to do that--I know I enjoy gift-choosing more when I can rely on something I know about the recipient instead of getting some stereotypical gift.


But even the "he's a 15yo boy, they like video games / she's a woman right out of college in her first apartment, so she needs kitchen tools" sort of category is going to require you to spend quite a bit more thought and effort than if you say, "tell me what to buy you" and go get that.

Of course it's less intimate.

Curious Cat

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #193 on: October 23, 2013, 06:21:37 PM »
I admit, I don't get it.  How is it better to get someone a game they cant play for a system they don't have rather than asking some questions about what they would actually like/be useful to them.  To me that would be the thoughtful gesture, not something that would make me have to waste my time returning something.

Two Ravens

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #194 on: October 23, 2013, 06:23:16 PM »
Or it could be more intimate, since you have spoken to the person, and they have told you how much it would mean to them to have a copy of such and such, or how they really need a teapot in their new apartment. Intimacy does not mean the same thing for everyone.