Banal birthday

It was a friend’s birthday recently. What did your husband give you, I enquired.

“A bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates.”

“Oh no! How BORING!” I blurted out – and immediately regretted it. Me and my big mouth. After all, perhaps she was thrilled with these gifts.

I didn’t mean to criticise his presents (which apparently were rather nice: good quality chocolates and a beautiful bouquet). It’s just that they’re… well…a trifle dull. Predictable. They’re the sort of gifts that say: “I have no idea what to give you. Hopefully this will suffice.”

A person could get mad (or worried) at receiving such gifts from a spouse. Because one could surmise that perhaps he didn’t know what you are actually interested in. Or because he finds you boring. Or because he simply couldn’t be bothered. None of these being relationship-enhancing notions.

So what should the husband have done? Well, if he truly couldn’t think of anything – beyond candy and flowers – to give his wife, I’d recommend the honest approach.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying to your nearest and dearest: “Honey, I know it’s your birthday coming up soon, but I just can’t think of what to get you. Is there anything special you’d like?” Which would open up a useful discussion about what some options might be – and would likely be appreciated by the other party.


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