Gift expert: Re-gifting can put a relationship at risk

Dec. 8, 2013 at 11:26 PM
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HERTFORDSHIRE, England, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The laws of gift giving call for making an effort when choosing a gift so a gift card or re-gifting can put a relationship at risk, a British researcher says.

Karen Pine, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England, who studies the psychology behind giving gifts, says re-gifting tells the recipient exactly what might you might think it does -- you don't care, Time magazine reported.

"Being a recipient of a gift that someone is just passing on to you violates all the laws of gift giving, especially that you should make an effort and choose a gift for someone," Pine told Time. "If you're discovered, the person receiving the gift usually feels quite hurt and insulted."

Gift cards can be problematic depending on the recipient. A woman is less likely to appreciate a gift card from a romantic partner because it lacks the sentimental factor.

Pine said an example of this occurred in her research. A woman hinted to her husband she wanted jewelry. The husband gave her a gift card to a jewelry store. He saw it as a practical solution, but the wife was looking for the sentimental value of the gift, so the husband missed the point, Pine explained.

Women tend to be more sentimental about gifts and attach a lot of meaning to presents, while men tend to desire and give gifts that are usable, pragmatic and functional.

"Oftentimes, a man finds it easier to buy an iPad for his wife. If he thought she wanted a piece of jewelry, he would have no idea how to choose it. He doesn't necessarily know what type she likes. It puts him in a retail experience that's awkward and unfamiliar to him," Pine told Time. "But he does know how to buy a gadget."

How to tell if your gift was a dud? If the gift recipient doesn't make eye contact with you as they're praising the gift, puts it back in the box, or starts re-wrapping it, the gift did not go over.

However, if the gift recipient makes eye contact, and interacts with the present by smelling it, holding it up or stroking it, the gift was a hit, Pine said.

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