Dear 100 Hour Board,
My question is: how can I become a better gift giver?
Even though it's just a semi-silly online quiz, I'm a believer in the love languages. Mine is quality time, but one of my good friends is a gift giver. For my birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc. she has consistently given me thoughtful gifts that I genuinely appreciate. Her family is less well off economically than I am, so sometimes I feel terrible thinking of how much a sacrifice purchasing a gift is for me, but I have a hard time doing the same for her. I either don't know what to get, or I try to be a cheapskate, or I don't even make time to purchase the gift. Any suggestions?
-Trying to be a better friend
I love giving gifts! The key to good gift-giving is knowing what sort of thing the person you're giving to likes. Are they big into books? Earrings? Fun experiences? Clothes? Fuzzy socks? Sentimental items? Self-care stuff? Most people like multiple things, so you should have a pretty big cache of general ideas to draw from. Next, pay attention to what people say about specific things they might need or that they've been looking for lately, and try to combine that with one of the general categories of things they like. For example, I know that Anathema loves books, so I just have that in the back of my mind for possible gift ideas. Then if she mentions that she's been trying to find out more about Heavenly Mother, I can buy her a copy of the book Mother's Milk, because it combines something she always loves (books) with something else she's been trying to research (Heavenly Mother).
Sometimes it's also helpful to peruse things online. I do a lot of online window shopping, and occasionally I'll see something that would be the perfect gift for someone. I wasn't necessarily looking for a gift for them, but sometimes a certain item just pops out, so I buy it and save it for a special occasion (or give them a gift just because). Some of the best gifts I've given have been things I just happened to stumble across online when I wasn't trying to find anything for anyone. Also, there are so many websites that do so many gift guides. Just google something like, "Gift guide for women in their 20s" and you'll be amazed how many results you get. Because you mentioned you have a hard time going to a physical store to buy gifts, buying them online might be a really good option for you. You can either have it shipped to you and wrap it up before giving it to your friend, or you could have the online store gift wrap it and ship it directly to your friend (a great option for friends who live far away). If a special occasion is coming up and you have absolutely no inspiration for what to give your friend, Etsy has a lot of cute gift boxes that you can ship directly to someone. I also recently found these cute fill-in-the-blank books on Amazon, where it gives you prompts about what you love about someone, and you fill them all in to make a super personalized gift. You can't really go wrong with something like that.
Although good gifts can certainly be expensive, they don't have to be. Some of the best gifts I've gotten have probably cost $10 or less, but they meant a lot because it was something handpicked to match my interests. You know your friend, and presumably have some idea of what sort of thing she enjoys, so just try to incorporate that into whatever you get her.
Way to try and give love to your friend in a way she appreciates. Giving good gifts can be hard, and sometimes no matter how hard you try your gift might not be a hit, but just keep trying.
To confirm what Alta is saying, getting Mother's Milk seriously meant so much to me. To make it that much better, it even is a collection of poems, and I've always loved poetry.
So yeah, follow Alta's gift giving advice, because she's a pro at it (love you, Alta, and thanks again ;) ).
I just want to second Alta's advice. I've found that good gift giving comes a bit more naturally to those who are very attentive to what people do and say.
I'd really like a WiFi extender...
-Sunday Night Banter