Question: I’m worried I Won’t Get My Engagement Ring
Question: What Happens if I Give a Gift and Don’t Get One Back?
Alison and Tony aka Leather and Lace: We receive so many questions about gift giving, and about getting engaged. They’re the ones that drive people absolutely insane. They’re some of the most anxiety-producing situations in relationships and the letters we receive are often among the most anguished.
So we’ve decided to answer two questions about “gifts” that are unrelated, but both are causing distress around the time of year. We’re doing it together instead of in our signature “double-take” two views (Tony’s View and Alison’s View) because this one is a long feature. There’s a lot to say! &NEW FEATURE! Check out our new YouTube Channel with two quick Video Tips on these topics (we’d love your comments, feedback).
Alison & Tony answer this together:
Many couples think about getting engaged over the holidays, because they think it’s the perfect time.
But is it?
If you are stressing yourself out over the concept of “will I get that ring?” we hope you will consider:
First off, we believe that if you are ready to get engaged, you probably already know it. This isn’t a surprise.
Secondly, You have discussed this with each other and feel you are ready for this next step. You might even have a particular wedding date in mind.
As a couple, you have hopefully looked for rings in person or online, because no one wants to be surprised with an engagement ring that isn’t her style and that she now has to wear for the rest of her married life. Your prospective fiance should at least have a clue about what you might like.
By the way, an engagement ring is not a gift. It is given in consideration of marriage. If the marriage doesn’t take place you have to give it back. You don’t have to give a genuine gift, back (unless you want to).
Is the Big Family “Whaoo” Wise?
As we have already stated, hardly anyone anymore (except maybe in free Kindle romances) is surprised (really, it’s “ambushed”) with a proposal totally out of the blue. But if you want that full-on audience and family “surprise!” with congratulations and the whole classic of his getting down on one knee and producing a ring, consider the consequences:
First popping the question during a holiday dinner in front of the whole family might come from a prospective fiance who might be just one step above friends with benefits might get down on one knee and at that panicked moment, the only thing that might be going through your mind is “OMG! There’s s no way I’m supporting this slacker for the rest of my life!”
If this happens, or should you not be ready to accept your real beloved right then, it would be an awkward holiday for everyone, and lots of cringe-worthy holiday memories which you might never live down!
Tony thinks getting engaged on a holiday ruins that proposal date (after all, then you don’t have a special engagement date to celebreate every year –it’s just the holiday).
Alison thinks if you want the whole family to witness this event and the whole family only gathers infrequently, this would be a practical time to do it.
However, we both agree that it’s best that a couple get engaged in private first. Then if they really want a huge scene around it they do that whole thing over again.
This is why a lot of couples also get married at City Hall even though they have planned a big wedding. It takes the pressure off them, and they get to enjoy a private experience, leaving them relaxed enough to enjoy the big show, later on.
Alison and Tony Answer This One Together:
As relationship experts we believe that if you’ve been dating someone even a short time, a small token of esteem, even if it’s just a card, is appropriate and welcome.
If you do give someone a gift it should be from the heart, and without expecting anything in return (other than “thank you“).
But it isn’t that easy for most people. If you are in a relationship, especially if it’s relatively new, you probably do want something in return. If f you don’t get that little token of esteem, you are going to wonder “Is this person just not into me?”
You can’t image the scores of letters we get where one person offered someone a gift and the other didn’t give one back. Now, the one who gave the gift is having sleepless nights wondering why.
We will try and put this in perspective so at least you can get a good nights’ sleep.
How To Give A Gift If Your Relationship is “New”
If you give a gift from the heart, it still has to be appropriate. That’s where for some people, the trouble begins.
A lot of people, especially men, just don’t know what an appropriate gift for a new “friend” should be.
As a result, they offer nothing, thinking that’s “safer” than giving a gift that sends the wrong message. But giving nothing sends a message just as much as sending an inappropriate gift does.
We both think something, even if it’s just a card, is pretty much a “must-do.”
In a new relationship however, it’s best to give something affordable and “nice” but neutral. Books with an inscription inside ( a real book, not a download), tech toys, a mix tape, cute items are all appropriate. What isn’t, is something like lingerie, or offering a $5,000 gift to someone who earns $5,000 a year, even if you can afford it.
Even if you are really wealthy and want to give something great, it’s best to make that first gift something in a price range where they can reciprocate so that there is balance in the relationship.
Handling: “I Gave A Gift & Didn’t Get One Back Situations:
If you are worried about this happening, there are things you can do to prevent it. But if it has already has happened to you and now you feel horrible, read our previous Q&A columns on the subject (search gift or gifts in our search box, they’ll pop up).
People really have different feelings about gifts. If you read our previous columns on gifting you’ll realize that some people honestly don’t understand gifts, or didn’t get them as children, or simply are lazy, or intimidated, or simply don’t know how to give a gift for dozens of other reasons (some valid, some not).
If you want your new love to give you tokens of affection and s/he isn’t doing it the first thing you need to do is communicate it. Relationships don’t work well if you don’t say what’s on your mind.
Even people who don’t think gift giving is a big deal or who don’t want to do it, can understand needs. Men, especially, need to be educated about what you expect from them. They don’t do well with subtle hints.
If you believe (like most of us) that showing affection in a tangible way, even if it’s just with something small, is important to you, most people who want to be in a relationship with you will do it to please you.
Make it easy on the giver. We think it’s a good idea to point out little things you like (e.g. a book, socks, a funny gadgetsBVu) in your daily life so that when gift time comes around your special someone already know the kinds of things you like and it’s easy to pick something out for you.
If you haven’t given your special someone hints and now the holidays are here, you can still gather up some courage and (nicely) say: “I’m planning to get you a small gift, just because it’s the holidays and I care about you. I hope you’ll like it. ”
If your new “friend” doesn’t respond or reciprocate, you should follow up later with “ I’m wondering, did you like my gift?”
….and then what?…
Tony says that if Valentines’ day if you are still together and there’s no flowers, cards etc. he’s just too into himself. You can do better. Alison say everyone deserves another chance, but make it clear what you expect and then if there’s no positive reaction we both agree, it’s dumping time!