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What She Means When She Says, “I Don’t Need a Valentine’s Day Gift”

It’s pretty much always never true, and the best Valentine’s Day gifts display that you’re paying attention. Planning — including listening to her throughout the year — is key.

It’s a rare woman who absolutely, positively, in no way, shape or form wants a gift from the man she loves on the day that’s all about showing your love.

Now, she could be one of those people who sees Valentine’s Day as a manufactured holiday and doesn’t believe in the commercialization of romance.

And on a perfectly practical level, she may know how much you struggle to figure out what to get her, and believes it’s kinder to say that there’s no need for a gift.

Maybe she’s “testing” you to see if you understand just how important it is to give a gift on Valentine’s Day. This woman is saying, “show me how much you love me” or “show me how well you know me.”

And on a perfectly practical level, she may know how much you struggle to figure out what to get her, and believes it’s kinder to say that there’s no need for a gift. It’s easy for you to run with that one; you’ve been given a “get out of jail free” card. (Don’t do it, though.)

And depending on your finances, she could know you’re strapped for cash, or if you share a household, that there’s no room in the budget.

That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want something, though.

A game plan

How you treat the women in these scenarios is crucial to how your February 14 (and the days, weeks, even years after) treats you.

For the manufactured holiday kind of woman, do something just for her. You could write her a poem or simply a romantic thought, and present it to her on a beautiful piece of paper. A flea-market locket with a picture of you or something special inside can also be engraved to make it even more personal. Take her broken or worn jewelry in to be repaired or cleaned. Does she have a favorite pair of earrings she can’t wear because she lost the backs? Get her replacements. The idea is to take something and transform it into a gift that shows you care deeply for her.

Then there are the women for whom you will/must buy something. Just know that you cannot wait until the last minute to make a decision. Then you wind up with flowers or candy, and, frankly, they’re cop-outs for people who have been in relationships for a while.

Listen to her throughout the year and have a plan. When you pay attention to her interests, buying her a gift becomes a breeze. A designer handbag she mentioned in passing? You score additional points for actually noting it! Does she point out someone’s diamond earrings? Get some!

The woman with  a lower sense of self-esteem is a bit trickier — the middle ground is safest with this woman.

A colorful blown-glass bowl that fits her design sense into which you’ve put a memento (Ticket stubs from the first movie you saw? Tickets to a new play or concert?) will be cherished for both the short and long term.

You could choose a gift that means something to both of you. A trip back to a bed and breakfast you loved, a watch that matches the one you wear most frequently, a photo album of your most recent year together — these are thoughtful gifts.

Gift choices should also be made on the basis of your relationship. A Jet Ski® for her on Valentine’s Day when you’ve known each other for three weeks is just creepy — no matter how much you both love the water. Something like a water-themed pendant that reflects your combined interests and hangs on an inexpensive chain might be a better choice.

The longer you’ve known each other, the more is expected. No self-help books, no power tools, no cheap jewelry, no “nothing.” If you can, look for a gift of jewelry that is ornate and shiny without being gaudy. A tennis bracelet in rubies or garnets to reflect the holiday shows some thought. And a link necklace is not only a bit shiny, but can also be symbolic of how “linked” you’ve become over the years.

If you’re on a tight budget, you could create a playlist mix of “us” music — the music that makes you think of her or that the two of you love. It could be a new pair of her favorite jeans (she’ll think of you whenever she puts them on) or a simple ring engraved with both your names. Although it might not seem so at first glance, you really do have options when you’re strapped for cash.

If it becomes clear that your gift didn’t work, don’t get defensive. Just tell her that you are not very good at choosing gifts, and you want her to come with you next time to help you pick something she really loves. Then, do it.

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