We’ve all been there: a birthday, Christmas, or any another special occasion, is coming up, and we have NO IDEA what to get a loved one. When you’re stuck for inspiration, just remember this scientific study from a couple years ago, which definitely didn’t get all the attention it deserved.
Contrary to what is commonly believed, buying a gift by focusing solely on the receiver’s tastes is not a good idea. You should actually go for presents that match with the giver’s – that’s you – preferences! The aim is for the receiver to feel more emotionally connected to the person offering the gift.
For the two Canadian researchers who conducted this study, this approach is indeed quite counter-intuitive. “The idea that we should determine what someone likes when we choose a gift for that person (rather than what we ourselves like) is widespread. We did feel the same way at first too. But we thought: it can’t be that simple », explained at the time Lauren Human, a McGill professor (Montreal), who conducted the study along with Lara Aknin from Burnaby University.
To conduct this study, the two researchers put six experiences in place, calling for the participation of 528 people! The first experience consisted of offering a card for Mother’s Day. The result: those who chose a card corresponding to their own tastes felt closer to their mother after offering it, than those who chose according to their mother’s tastes. The same experience was conducted by asking witnesses to choose a song on iTunes for a close one … with the same results.
According to Lauren Human and Lara Aknin, trying to find a gift corresponding to the receiver’s tastes could be hazardous on several levels. By attempting to stick to someone’s preferences, you can fall completely off track, or even forever damage a sacred bond! On the other hand , « offering a gift which we personally like allows us to feel closer to others, as it appears as a true revelation of ourselves, or a way to give ourselves to someone. This type of action can be very beneficial for relations, bringing you closer to the person you are gifting to”.
Do remember though, you don’t want to fall into a narcissistic or egotistic circle by constantly applying these tips on the long run!