How to Buy the Perfect Gift for Someone You Barely Know

Sometimes buying the perfect gift is not an easy thing to do. Even when you’re buying for your family, finding the “perfect” gift can be a struggle. Choosing a gift for someone you barely know can be even more complicated. With close friends or family, you at least have the advantage of knowing their likes and dislikes. With an acquaintance, however, you likely do not have this information. If you have found yourself stuck in this situation, the tips below can help you pick the perfect gift, even when you don’t know what to get them.

Set a Budget 

As bad as it might sound, you are not close with this person, and as such, there is no reason for you to spend an excessive amount of money on their gift. Instead, set a realistic budget for the present and do not go over it. $50.00 is more than enough to buy a nice, reasonable gift for someone you do not have a close relationship with. 

If you are gifting in a work or group situation, you may already have a budget assigned for you. If so, don’t be “that” guy and purposely go over budget. Doing so will make others in the group feel bad they did not spend the same amount and may cause resentment. It is best to stick to the budget you are given. 

Try to Gather Information.

Before you purchase your gift, try to gather as much information as possible about the person. This information could be things such as their favorite color, allergies, and so on. Allergies, especially, are important to know about. The very last thing you want is to give someone a gift that sends them to the emergency room because of an allergic reaction. 

You can often gather this information in the course of everyday conversation. Offer up the same information about yourself in passing and watch as the people around you share in return. However, with that said, try not to be weird about it. If you suddenly bring up your allergies when you’re not eating anything, you will likely get a few odd looks from your recipient. 

Don’t Get Personal. 

Personal gifts such as perfume or clothing are best kept for people you are close with. For a co-worker, acquaintance, or other non-personal recipients, keep your gift more on the broader side. By gifting a more generalized gift, you avoid the risk of overstepping a boundary and making things awkward. 

A few gifts that may be too personal are:

  • Clothing
  • Personal Care Items
  • Home Decor 
  • Automobile Items 

You may consider these items as perfectly acceptable. However, when you are gifting for someone you don’t know all too well, you can never be sure how they will view the gift. In that light, it is best to steer clear of these types of gifts altogether. 

Stay Away from Themed Gifts 

A Star Wars coffee mug might be great for your Star Wars fanatic uncle, but it may not be great for your co-worker. Themed gifts tend to be based on personal information that you may not have for this recipient. As such, if you do not have the kind of knowledge a personalized gift requires, it is best to stay away from them. 

With that said, if your gift recipient very obviously likes something and has made that clear, buying them a gift along their favorite theme should be okay to do. These themes may include television shows, movies, books, musicians, and so on.

Look for clues such as decor, the clothing they wear, and things they mention to help you discern if you are comfortable buying them something along these themes.

Opt for Old Standby Gift Options 

If, after shopping, you are still unable to find a suitable gift, opt for an old, trusted standby for them. There are gifts we all know and love to reach for when we don’t know what else to buy. They are not horrible gifts, but they tell the other person you were not quite sure what to buy them. 

These can include:

  • Candles
  • Gift Cards
  • Money
  • Food or Drink Gift Baskets
  • Drink Tumblers
  • “Nice” Ink Pen Sets
  • Essential Oils and Diffuser
  • Books or Journals

These gifts will not be the type that they remember forever; however, they will satisfy the responsibility of needing to gift someone. Plus, you never know. Some people like getting candles or gift cards. And I can’t think of a single person who does not like receiving money.  

Don’t Be the Elephant in the Room. 

Finally, it may be tempting to give a white elephant gift that you have already received. These are the gifts that you received but put on a shelf and forgot about. There are very few situations where this is acceptable to do for one main reason; you may end up regifting the item to the very person who gave it to you.

Another bad situation that can arise from white elephant gifts is regifting them in front of the person who gave them to you. Because you likely cannot be sure where it came from at this point, it is simply best to avoid regifting it all together. 

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