I love giving and receiving girlfriend gifts. They’re the tiny, emotion-laden items women exchange with their BFFs. All girlfriend gifts share similar qualities. First, they’re unexpected. They’re not associated with the usual gift-giving moments, such as birthdays, holidays or hostess gifts. Instead, they infuse an “Oh-my-gosh-what-a-surprise!” excitement into an otherwise humdrum day.
Girlfriend gifts are inexpensive. They barely cause a blip on the giver’s credit card. And they’re completely devoid of guilt. The recipient doesn’t have to send a thank-you note or feel pressured to buy something in return.
Most importantly, girlfriend gifts set in motion an exchange of warm, fuzzy feelings. Givers make statements like, “This reminded me of you!” or “I just wanted you to have it!” Even, “I knew you needed cheering up. I thought this might help.” Recipients bask in the attention. Then they react with their own affectionate verbiage: “Oh! This is so special! love it! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
The women inevitably embrace, their emotional buckets momentarily filled to the brim.
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But girlfriend gifts are more than a pair of earrings or a darling scarf. All that female bonding may stimulate the flow of oxytocin, the hormone associated with emotional well-being and connectedness.
The same hormone encourages women to “tend and befriend” in response to stress, according to an influential study published in the July 2000 issue of Psychological Review. Lead researcher Shelley Taylor explained that females protect themselves and their young by nurturing behaviors (“tending”) and forming alliances with other women (“befriending”).
Men produce far lower levels of oxytocin and tend to respond to the same stressors with fight-or-flight behaviors, such as anger, bottling their emotions or fleeing the scene.
Of course, sweet, spontaneous gift-giving isn’t just for ladies. Guys can surprise their sweeties too. Still they’d be advised to follow the simple guidelines to make their gifts fun for everyone involved.
HOW TO GIVE GREAT GIRLFRIEND GIFTS
Think outside the box. The sky’s the limit when it comes to potential gifts. If you think it’s fun, give it!
Never mention the price. If the gift costs more than you’re comfortable with, don’t give it. A gift should never be accompanied by hard feelings.
Add positive vibes. Never apologize for a gift or give a sob story about how you got it. Those sentiments are instant downers. Instead, words like, “I couldn’t wait for you to have this!” give the recipient an instant boost.
Don’t lay on guilt. Not all gifts can be winners. Sometimes they’re the wrong size or they’re not to the recipient’s taste. Sweetly say, “Not a problem,” and offer to exchange the item or give the recipient the receipt. Never make anyone feel bad