Finding the perfect gift for a loved one can be difficult, but finding the perfect gift for an acquaintance can be excruciating. There are times in life when you must find an acquaintance an appropriate present, ranging anywhere from a colleague's wedding to a friend of a friend's dinner party. These events will inevitably pop up, but instead of rolling yourself into a ball and quietly rocking in a corner, you could make the process a lot easier by first eliminating the gifts no one ever wants.
Of course there are ways to find out exactly what your acquaintance might be into — possibly by dropping hints and asking subtle questions, or asking people who know them for gift ideas. There are very few occasions in life when you and your family or friends are all in the same boat and have no clue as to what to buy your mutual acquaintance. However, these times will pop up too: Maybe you and your roommate are invited to a party by a classmate you barely know, or your new supervisor invites you and the rest of your team to a birthday soiree.
In order to help you weed out the good, the bad, and the ugly, here are a list of gifts that may be inappropriate to give to your acquaintances.
1. Home Baked Goods
Even if you are the most exquisite baker, giving delicious home baked goods to an acquaintance is best to be avoided. The main reason not to give your future pal, colleague, or possible love interest home baked treats is that you probably don't know if they have any specific dietary requirements. Certain allergies can be so serious that even touching a tasty treat could cause a reaction. In addition to this, if they aren't allergic to anything, everyone has different tastes and you may spend a whole load of time pouring your heart and soul into a batch of delicious gingerbread cookies, only for your acquaintance to feed them to their dog or pass them along to their friends, due to their dislike of ginger.
2. A Self Help Book
You may have discovered an awesome self help book this year and you just can't stop shouting about it from the rooftops, but whatever you do, do not gift it to an acquaintance. As much as your gift might appear super thoughtful to a friend, a partner, or a family member, it could be totally misconstrued by an acquaintance. You never know what personal problems that person has been struggling with, and giving them a book that implies they could still need some work could be a trigger.
Alcohol of any kind might seem like a foolproof give, but not everyone enjoys drinking (I know, it sounds impossible to believe). If you've seen this person drinking a social events, however, you're probably in the clear. Otherwise, pick sometime else.
No matter the price you actually paid for the piece, your acquaintance may feel super awkward about what may appear to be a very generous gift. Plus, it's super easy to get jewelry purchases wrong, even when buying it for someone you know intimately. Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to jewelry, from statement to subtle or frivolous to elegant, there are so many styles and designs that jewelry is something you can spend a lot of money on and there still be a high chance the person you are buying it for might not like it.
5. A Planner
A planner, diary, or organizer of any kind is the dream gift for list makers and stationery fetishizers. That being said, when you give one to someone who does not fall into these categories, they may think you're trying to tell them that they're unorganized. It's a risky present which could pay off big time if given to the right person, but definitely steer clear if your acquaintance is a work colleague, as you could end up giving them the hump.
6. Perfume & Makeup
For all you know, the person you are buying a gift for may be a total beauty babe, however the point is, you unfortunately don't know that. While some people enjoy beauty products, others don't wear makeup or perfume. I know that I personally have specific brands and scents that I like and which I buy time and time again. It may turn out that you spend a ton of money on some gorgeous designer perfume but the recipient just isn't into the fragrance, or you may get them some makeup which they've never used before and which they aren't likely to trade their much loved brands for.
7. Exercise Equipment
Although you may have good intentions, there are many connotations attached to giving someone exercise equipment. The most obvious presumptive thought is that you feel they should be doing more exercise which could be very offensive — you may love exercise and working out, but it doesn't mean that everybody does. My advice would be to not give an acquaintance exercise equipment. Ever.
8. Novelty Anything
We're all different and we all have varying tastes in comedy. What one person will find thigh-slappingly hilarious, another will find horrendous. Therefore novelty gifts are a no go zone when it comes to acquaintances.
Take heed of these items and do not give them to an acquaintance unless you've got the go ahead from someone who knows them well. Otherwise your potential friend may not look so friendly anymore.
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