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Old 02-15-2019, 11:43 AM
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When women say they don't need anything for birthday/Valentine's/anniversary etc.....


Question mainly for lady Dopers, of course, but men welcome to chime in as well:


There's a whole Facebook meme about Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars ("It's a trap!") along with the heading/caption of "when your GF/wife tells you she doesn't need anything for her birthday/Valentine's/anniversary/Christmas". The meme is, "Woe to a man who is naive enough to actually think that she doesn't expect or want anything for that day - he will feel her wrath if he doesn't do something for her that day."

Obviously, this is a passive-aggressive meme, but how often is it true?

Is it true about 70% of the time that when women say they don't need anything for those particular commemorative days, that they really mean it, or is it more like 50% (All women are individually different, of course, but just ballparking - how often is this indeed a trap, versus genuinely not needing/expecting gifts or something special for that particular day?)

Last edited by Velocity; 02-15-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:56 AM
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No idea how true it is but I've always take women at the word. If they say they don't want anything they get nothing and if they don't like that they can fuck off. Needless to say I've lost a couple of girlfriends over the years.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:02 PM
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My wife's gift to me is that I don't have to do anything for Valentine's day. I gratefully accept each year. So far, no blowback.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:09 PM
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Early in a relationship, if you're not absolutely sure, I'd err on the side of getting something -- maybe a card and candy. Later in a relationship (after a few years), hopefully you'll have figured out when they really mean it and when they don't.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:10 PM
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It all goes to love languages. Do people feel that the best way to say "I love you" is with gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, or physical touch?

Mine is mostly (but not exclusively) quality time, so I don't prefer gifts. Especially since we are not financially stable and have real needs. What I do like is some indication that Mr. Celtic Knot has put some time and effort into the day. Unless we have a real date planned, (almost never, due to work schedules) I like a card. Not one that has all kinds of embellishments that cost a fortune, but not a generic card that has no relevance to our lives.

Discover your loved one's love language Read Gary Chapman's book or look online to find out.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:17 PM
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In my experience each woman is a unique individual and the answer is different for each. I know that’s a controversial stance but I’m sticking to it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:17 PM
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I take my wife at her word. I know she likes a card, and I surprise her randomly every year or two on a non-Valentines Day with flowers, but neither of us was ever interested in that kind of gameplaying (i.e. she has never ever said, “I know that’s what I said, but...”). I also tell her not to bother with my birthday, and she doesn’t, but she knows I want the kids to pay attention to father's day.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:18 PM
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How often does ignoring Admiral Ackbar lead to a good result?
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:19 PM
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I get my wife flowers delivered to her office. Not because she expects me to but because I want her to feel special as she is typically the only woman in the office to get flowers from her significant other*.



* At her last job, the women in the office would get roses indirectly from me because <insert prank story here>.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:21 PM
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I stopped doing holidays. I stopped doing birthdays. I stopped doing anniversaries. Mostly at my wife's request and the pure passage of time. These days if she wants something she asks and other than that I stay out of it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:38 PM
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When I say it I mean it, my (lesbian) partner also says it but doesn't mean it. She says it because finances are tight and she feels she should. I say it because I didn't grow up with positivity about such occasions and seriously don't care.

Gift buying is hard territory for most of us, shifting the pressure to the recipient to ask/tell is downright mean. What am I worth to you in terms of money, effort or time? That can't be my decision.

There is as much "trap" in the question (spoken or implied) as the answer.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:38 PM
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I would like simple acknowledgement and that's all. I don't need stuff, I have plenty of that. I don't like flowers, unless I grow them. I can't have the candy. I don't want to go to a restuarant, I'm phobic. Mr.Wrekker knows what I need. Well sometimes he goes overboard on that, buts that's ok. It's his way. We don't play games with me saying one thing and meaning 2 others. I found out long ago games just muddy the water. And I'm not a good game player. I can be read like a book. All you have to do is look at me.
I'm more upset if my kids forget me on my special days.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:48 PM
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It's not just women. A lot of humans aren't good at communicating. Fuck the question of gift giving, give both of you the gift of learning communication, and perhaps other relationship skills. That's the gift that keeps on giving.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:28 PM
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But these things, birthday, Valentines, anniversary, are not the same.

We're gonna give each other something on the anniversary or the other one is gonna think there is trouble. It can be a trifle, a mere acknowledgment. Or we can give each other a joint thing that's big, like a new TV. Note, it's just one TV I'm talking about. This is our special day together and we're happy to remember it, however it happens.

There had better be something on my birthday, even though I don't "need" it. And it doesn't have to be big. Again, an acknowledgment. Also I traditionally do not work on my birthday and I don't cook on my birthday. Unless I have to.

V-day not so much. I don't need/want/demand anything. I usually get something (flowers, jewelry) and it is nice to get it but there would be no blowback if I didn't get it. I hardly ever get him anything, now that I no longer make the traditional red velvet cake in the shape of a heart (which I used to do when we had kids at home, they loved it).

I'm just enough of an oddball that if I say I don't want something, and I get something anyway, I might very well be pissed and there would be blowback. ("You never listen to me!")
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:34 PM
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We've always discussed give giving occasions (birthdays, Christmas/Hanukkah, Valentine's Day) ahead of time and what we do varies from year to year. She doesn't really like celebrations very much so we're always low key. The biggest tradition we have is on each of our birthday weekends we are always right. The other partner doesn't contradict or challenge any decision made by the birthday boy or girl. It's a pretty big deal in our household.

Otherwise we just communicate and listen to each other. If she doesn't want a celebration, there's no celebration. If she doesn't want presents, there's no presents.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:55 PM
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I’m torn on this.

If a woman volunteers that she doesn’t want anything, don’t get her anything.

If you ask if she wants something, then tread carefully when interpreting her response. It’s generally considered ill-mannered to elicit a gift from someone. So saying “yes, give me something” is going to be difficult for a lot of people to say.

I’m torn because I’m normally not a gift person and don’t have sentimental attachments to Valentine’s Day and the like. That said, I was a bit disappointed my husband didn’t get me anything yesterday. I bought him some chocolates, which he was happy to eat. Don’t know why it didn’t occur to him that such a simple gesture would make me happy, too. And dude, I just had your baby. Can’t I get some candy or something?!

But I know I only have myself to blame because when he apologized for not giving me anything, I said not to worry about it. :sigh:

Last edited by you with the face; 02-15-2019 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:06 PM
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I've made it a solid policy that if you don't ask me for something, and something specific at that (or lots of specific somethings for me to pick from - ie a list) then you get nothing at all. I don't care if it's your birthday, I don't care if it's christmas - no exceptions. No list, no gift.

It's been a decade and a half since I've been in a relationship (), but my recollection is that I would just talk to the woman in advance about the plan for the holiday. I also vaguely recall that we mutually agreed that there were probably better nights to go out to eat on than the day everybody else would be going out to eat, so we just went some other day, but I could be wrong about that.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
My wife's gift to me is that I don't have to do anything for Valentine's day. I gratefully accept each year. So far, no blowback.
Say what?
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I've made it a solid policy that if you don't ask me for something, and something specific at that (or lots of specific somethings for me to pick from - ie a list) then you get nothing at all.

It's been a decade and a half since I've been in a relationship
There might be a connection there?

We always discuss things as reciprocal, ie, "are we exchanging gifts for birthdays this year?" I always can think of a several things that we've discussed over the past year that would make a good gift, and I always keep an eye out for things online. We just passed our 5th wedding anniversary and since the gifts for 5 years are supposed to be wood we just agreed to that and found gifts for each other along that theme. It was fun.
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
There might be a connection there?
It probably has more to do with the fact that in the past decade I've only interacted with females who were at least one of:
1) related to me
2) married to somebody else
3) a co-worker
4) a poster on this forum
5) behind a cash register

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
We always discuss things as reciprocal, ie, "are we exchanging gifts for birthdays this year?" I always can think of a several things that we've discussed over the past year that would make a good gift, and I always keep an eye out for things online. We just passed our 5th wedding anniversary and since the gifts for 5 years are supposed to be wood we just agreed to that and found gifts for each other along that theme. It was fun.
Gift shopping is different for everyone. I'm just spectacularly hard to shop for and have absolutely zero confidence in my ability to find things that others will like (and don't already have).
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:59 PM
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I never said I did not want a gift, because I like presents, both giving AND getting. I was not hard to shop for, the standard flowers or candy would be appreciated.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Question mainly for lady Dopers, of course, but men welcome to chime in as well:


There's a whole Facebook meme about Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars ("It's a trap!") along with the heading/caption of "when your GF/wife tells you she doesn't need anything for her birthday/Valentine's/anniversary/Christmas". The meme is, "Woe to a man who is naive enough to actually think that she doesn't expect or want anything for that day - he will feel her wrath if he doesn't do something for her that day."

Obviously, this is a passive-aggressive meme, but how often is it true?

Is it true about 70% of the time that when women say they don't need anything for those particular commemorative days, that they really mean it, or is it more like 50% (All women are individually different, of course, but just ballparking - how often is this indeed a trap, versus genuinely not needing/expecting gifts or something special for that particular day?)
This is kind of messy. Someone has said “I don't need anything” and this is interpreted as “Don't get me anything,” and we don't know what question happened beforehand. “Do you need anything for your birthday?” is a valid question that is very different from "Do you need me to get you a gift your birthday?" And "No," can be a valid answer to both questions, which is not the same thing as saying “Don't get me anything.”

I'm wondering what the trap actually is in this case, like what percentage of people are looking for the words that get them out of buying gifts?
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:18 PM
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Yeah, the primary difficulty with this is that people feel pressured to not "be materialistic" and feel bad saying "yes, please, get me something" (especially someone close to you where you may know their finances aren't the best or whatever). Women, especially, are conditioned to be people pleasers and not rock the boat, and are arguably more beset on by the culture at large when they're materialistic.

When most women (and I'd argue this is really gender neutral) get upset about it, we're not, usually, upset at our partner, friend, or family member per se. We (usually) know they just took us at our word and that's a good thing, but especially if we got them a gift some of us kinda wish it had happened and are angry at ourselves for saying we didn't want anything and at the same time kind of wish our friends/family/partner "knew us" well enough to intuit we said what we did out of shame more than a genuine expression of desire. Some are, of course, better at hiding it or ended up having a bad day for other reasons and snap causing arguments about it. And of course some people are just dramatic and do expect those they're close to to be mind readers.

This is all, of course, complicated by the great deal of people who really don't get much out of gift giving and don't want anything.

Last edited by Jragon; 02-15-2019 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:26 PM
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By this point we have a sense of each other on these things. I know on what occasions my wife wants a present, when an event like a special dinner, etc. We agreed early on that Valentine's is stupid and we don't even bring it up any more. Oddly, though, she would get my daughter to make a card or something for her close female relatives on Valentine's, until my daughter got too busy for it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:47 PM
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Dude, I'm from Pamplona... if I say "I can't figure out anything I want right now", it means exactly that. And if I give you a wishlist which includes, say, one specific book from a specific series, it means I want exactly that specific book; if I say I'd like any book from a different series, it means any book. People who do things such as give me an outfit when I've asked for a book. Piss. Me. Off.

Do I know people who do that "oh I don't want anything" thing? Not quite. I do know people who claim to be "low maintenance" when low maintenance my ass; the literal translation of the expression muy sencillita would be along the lines of "very simple". Yes they're simple: you simply have to give them exactly what they want, which in turn is about as simple as the Russian legal system to someone who doesn't speak Russian. I figure it's a matter of the same kind of personality expressing itself differently in different cultures.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:36 PM
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Anyone who says they don't need or want something for a birthday, holiday, etc. and then gets upset when they don't receive anything deserves to be disappointed. I think they just want to be able to complain. Same goes for the ones who complain every year that their SO forgot their anniversary or birthday "AGAIN!!! " They like feeling sorry for themselves or they would make sure it didn't happen again.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiannon8404 View Post
Anyone who says they don't need or want something for a birthday, holiday, etc. and then gets upset when they don't receive anything deserves to be disappointed. I think they just want to be able to complain. Same goes for the ones who complain every year that their SO forgot their anniversary or birthday "AGAIN!!! " They like feeling sorry for themselves or they would make sure it didn't happen again.
And if you DO get something and tell the gift-giver, "I don't want this junk!" and destroy it, yeah, forget about getting anything again any time soon, especially if it came from a child. Ask me how I know this.
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:54 AM
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I never ran into a woman with this attitude. Those who said they didn't care indeed didn't care, and those who cared said so.

However, I refuse to celebrate Valentine day so it doesn't apply here. For this I got some flak (from women who *didn't* pretend they didn't care), but I won't budge on this. I generally speaking think of mandatory gift-giving and mandatory celebration days as a general annoyance and as totally artificial once you're past childhood, but I will relent for birthdays/anniversaries/Christmas if it's important for you. Valentine day, no fucking way. The concept seems to me, not just completely fake and business-driven, like all these other celebrations, but even antithetic to love.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:25 AM
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My wife and I usually get funny cards for each other. She also gives me a little box of those chalky hearts with phrases on them? I don't really know why she chooses those, but I'm happy to crunch 'em.

I will get her a little something additionally...can be something funny or grade school romantic, just so long as she gets something.

We did take it a bit farther this year....her idea. She made a lemon sour cream pie, and I made jambalaya. Our two favorites! I even left the last slice of pie for her - two days after V day. Now that's love!

Just as importantly, I spread little gifts and do things throughout the year. Gotta keep her fooled that I am a great guy!
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:59 PM
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Since nobody has actually tried to answer the question as phrased in the OP, I'll take one for the team.

Sample size of ~n=20 here and calling out probability "I don't want anything" or "oh, nothing" when asked what they might like is actually not true / is a trap:

If relationship of duration under 1 year: 90% chance it's a trap
Between 1 year and 2 years: 70% chance
Between 2 and 5 years: 30% chance
5 or more years: 10% chance

Be aware the 5+ year samples only have n=2 in this study, and may represent a skewed sample...conversely, the duration<1 had the highest n (n=14), and presumably indicates a higher validity measurement. :-)
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