It was the birthday of a person (let’s call him Mr. A) who means a lot to me. Not just any birthday, but a milestone one. As Mr. A belongs to that category of people who are hard to gift, I put a lot of thought into what could be the best gift. I finally chose a couple of popular novels by celebrated authors as Mr. A likes to read. A bit of research was required as I was looking for books in a language I spoke, but didn’t read or write.
Since I would not be meeting Mr. A in person for his birthday, I bought the books online, got them gift-wrapped and delivered a day before the big day. Later, Mr. A mentioned that he had received the gift and thanked me. So far, so good.
The next time I spoke to Mr. A, I asked him if he had read the books. ‘Not yet’ was the reply. No problem there. And then, the next two times (actually three) I spoke to Mr. A, I asked him if he had read the books and liked them. I would have persisted of course, until my husband told me, “What are you doing? Stop following up. You’ve done your bit. Just let him decide when and where he wants to read the books, if at all!”
Suddenly, a stray memory popped in my brain. I was 15; an aunt visiting our home had gifted me a pretty set of clothes. I accepted the clothes, said they were nice, ending my comment with a simple thank you. The aunt continued to look at me with an expectant look and prodded me to respond with a comment, “Isn’t this a beautiful fabric? We bought this from a famous store.” She was expecting me to wax eloquent about how wonderful the gift was. I was both irritated and mildly amused.
That’s when I realised I had not just made a gifting faux pas, I had done something I disliked in others! Here I was, building myself up in my mind as a gifting expert, and I had blundered. I simply did not realise when to stop and, that my role as the gift giver was over…finito. Maybe it’s time to remind myself about gifting etiquette, I think I’ll save that for a later post.
Have you been guilty of this too? What was your gifting faux pas?