1) to try and get in someone’s good graces/make them like you
2) obligation (like your friend’s birthday)
3) because you see something you think the person would like/were thinking of the person
Alright, number one up there is a bunch of nonsense. I know that people do that all the time, whether they’re supplicating to someone they’re dating or trying to butter someone up at work, or even trying to bribe someone, but it’s still nonsense. If you think about a high value person, they’re not really going to change their opinion of you based on if you give them a present or not (although if you disagree, you are welcome to send me presents…)
Number 2. Social convention. This is the one that gives me issues. When I give my friends gifts, it’s more because of reason 3 than this one. I know you’re supposed to give a gift on someone’s birthday, but I do it because I want to. Do you see the difference? Although I have a love/hate relationship with this custom because sometimes I can find some really cool gifts, but other times I just can’t think of anything and have to get my gift ideas from the internet.
The third reason up there is the best. Looking back, the best gifts I have been given were gifts that people got me just because, not because they felt like they had to. Not only does that take the pressure off of everything, but you also know you’re getting the gift for the right reason, because someone saw something and it reminded them of you, or they were like “hey, I know who would love this!” That’s the way to do it.
I have some friends who give gifts all the time, and honestly I love my friends, but it’s just like hey, you don’t really have to do this. I’ll still like you even if you don’t get me stuff. Plus, then it’s like what, are you expecting me to get you stuff all the time, too? Cuz I’m probably not going to. No offense, it’s just not how I am.
And then you’ve got the people who actually do expect gifts. I dated someone like that once. They thought that if I didn’t get them things that I didn’t like them. It was like giving gifts was the only expression of love they understood. You may have guessed that relationship didn’t last.