Heather had been dating Ben for a little over two months. She quite enjoyed his company but was beginning to realize he was not the man for her. She wasn't so much physically attracted to him as she was entertained by his offbeat sense of humor and his sense of the ridiculous. They'd had some great times together but she was contemplating giving him the "let's just be friends" speech.
On the night of her twenty-eighth birthday, Ben told her he had something special in store for her. Heather felt a twinge of discomfort but told herself she was overreacting. Ben tended to over-dramatize ordinary events, which was part of what made him fun. They enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a beautiful restaurant, then returned to Ben's place so he could present her with his gift.
Heather was amused to discover that Ben had set up a treasure hunt in his apartment. In each of the rooms he'd planted objects containing small folded notes. On each note he's written an obscure message which would lead her to the next clue. Ben pointed out the location of the first clue, then left her to discover the rest.
Heather's anxiety began to mount as she reached the sixth clue. She found it in Ben's walk-in closet, just after she stumbled across three long dart blowers hidden behind his clothes. She'd already noticed the gun cases under the bed. At that moment Ben called out from the living room, "As soon as you find it, I'll shoot us!" Her imagination went into overdrive.
Two minutes later she found the box. It was large and beautifully wrapped. Inside it was a smaller box, and inside that one a third. When she opened the fourth box she saw the diamond ring. Heather was stunned.
By now Ben was beside her. He looked at her face and decided she was overcome with gratitude. "You don't have to say anything now," he murmured. "Just nod if you want to marry me."
Heather calculated her chances. Did he have any poison darts handy? Could she reach the front door before he opened a gun case? No, she decided. She'd have to tough it out.
"What on earth possessed you to buy this for me?" she demanded.
Ben hesitated but quickly recovered. "It doesn't have to be an engagement ring," he backpedaled. "Just accept it as a birthday gift. You can always change your mind later."
"But I can't accept something like this," Heather explained. "I can't stand wearing jewelry."
Ben was so caught up in his fantasy that he hadn't noticed the blatantly obvious. On both counts.
Heather was relieved to discover that the only shooting Ben intended that night was with his camera. But the celebratory mood was over and she left shortly afterwards, minus the ring. She didn't go out with Ben again.
Have you ever miscalculated with a gift? Perhaps not as blatantly as Ben did but there may have been times when you gave the wrong thing to the right person or the right thing to the wrong person. And then wondered why they didn't seem particularly grateful.
Gift giving involves thought and a certain amount of premeditation. If you don't know what to buy, ask. It doesn't have to be the person himself (or herself); you can ask their father, mother, sister or best friend. Just make sure it's someone who knows them well and can tell you what they would like. And don't count on someone's response on a previous occasion. Many people won't tell you if they don't appreciate a gift in an effort to spare your feelings.
Putting thought into your gift selection is usually worth the effort. And perhaps the best thing about receiving a gift you love is the feeling that the other person knows you so well that they knew exactly what to choose.
? Marguerite Bonneville
Marguerite Bonneville is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) whose passion is publishing information online. She is a contributing writer at http://www.romantic-gift-ideas-online.com, a resource site dedicated to helping visitors find the perfect romantic gift.