If you're let down by your Valentine's Day gift this year, don't blame the giver, because it actually may be connected to experiences in their childhood. Rutger's researcher Harold Siegel decided to study how family relationships and childhood experiences affect social behavior in adulthood and looked at how the research could be applied to Valentine's Day gifts. The psychology department chair studied this to see how one's childhood affects the types of gift-givers they become later in life. To do this, he created three categories of gift-givers (avoidant, ambivalent, and secure) and theorizes that what category you fall into goes back to your family and upbringing.
1. Ambivalent Givers
If you got an amazing Valentine's Day gift from your significant other, they probably fall into this category of givers. People who fall into the ambivalent category are the best at giving according to Siegel, since they've dealt with issues of abandonment and rejection and use giving as a way to solidify their relationships. These people likely come from broken homes or unstable childhoods, according to Siegel. "They were never certain that mom or dad would be there for them,” he says. “They would be here on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you're not sure.”
2. Avoidant Givers
Do you view gift-giving as a necessary requirement of partaking in holiday festivities? Then you are probably an avoidant giver, who according to Siegel were raised to be independent. They may have been raised by a family who threw out insults more often than compliments or were forced to fend for themselves from an early age.“If they have to give a gift, it’s an obligation...Maybe they buy a gift certificate, where they don’t have to think too hard about it," he explains.
3. Secure Givers
If you had a hunky-dory childhood full of love, affection, and stability, you are probably a secure giver. These folks generally have healthy relationships and don't have problems displaying affection or emotion. They show love all year round, so they don't usually feel they have to go all out on Valentine's Day or any other holiday. There's no proving that they have to do, so these aren't the types to spoil you with a Rolex or luxurious vacation.
Although this new research is fascinating and can probably tell you some sort of truth about yourself or others as givers, don't mindlessly place people into one of these categories. “Unless you know the field of psychology very well, I think it can be dangerous,” Seigel says. “But knowing about these categories is a good way to avoid becoming upset because you’ll realize it may not be about you.”
Take this as a sign that rest assured, how good your gift was is probably related to how good of a partner you are.
Images: Getty (1), Giphy (2)