Ask and ye shall receive... or not?

In the moderately early budding stages of a relationship, say less than a year, have you ever asked your partner for a gift out of the blue?

Not on the occasion of some event (like a b-day, for ex) but just for no reason at all. Say you were window shopping and saw something you liked and simply asked your partner to get it for you because you really love it.

Is that even appropriate?

If not, what kind of person doesn’t realize that’s not appropriate adult behaviour?

How do you even politely suggest that it might not be appropriate?

It’s inappropriate and a major turn-off to me (red flag) . If I wasn’t ready to just “have the conversation” about it being bad manners, I’d probably say something like, “If you have to ask for it, it really isn’t a gift.” or something similar that would hopefully make her stop and think about how sucky that behavior is.

Incidently, my in-laws do this all the time and it drives me up the wall.

Tacky in the extreme. If I’m out with someone and see something I want, I buy it myself – and pulling out my wallet is not a ploy to get him to buy it. (I will admit the words “Ooh, that’s what you can get me for my birthday” have come out of my mouth – but only as a joke, and only with regard to something so ridiculously expensive that it’s obviously a joke – like a sports car or a diamond necklace or something.)

It is so beyond my comprehension that someone would do something like this that I have no suggestion as for how to respond – but I’m with Kalhoun – is someone who would do this someone you really want to date?

Hmmm…my gut feeling is that it surely seems inappropriate, and I myself would not do it if no occasion were involved. On the other hand, I did ask my new b/f to get me a hardback edition of “The Historian” recently when we were out and I saw it in a bookstore, but specified that it would make a decent birthday or Christmas gift for me…it was more a suggestion for a gift I would like on an occasion than a “buy it for me NOW if you love me” kind of thing.

But do tell more…what was requested, and when, and how was the request framed? That could make all the difference. We were on a road trip weekend about 2 months ago, our first weekend away together, and at that time HE offered to buy me another book he noticed I had taken a liking to as we shopped around, but I politely declined. I told him I would certainly find the book at the local library and read it before deciding if I wanted to own it, but I thanked him for the thought and the attention paid to me. Kind of the reverse situation. I guess in your situation, I might have said, “I thought you might be admiring (whatever it is)! How about if I consider it for (our next special occasion)?” With a fond smile, of course, and perhaps a brief hug. Who could miss the point of that?

This wouldn’t be a dealbreaker in the relationship for me, however, unless the person became petulant or demanding and repeated that behavior often. From experience, I can say that failing to point out an item you may want, to someone you may be interested in, if you have expectations of the relationship becoming long-term, can result in many unsatisfactory gift-receivings in the future.


To answer your questions specifically:

No way, Jose. Inappropriate with a big, honkin’ I. No No No No No.

One who is unbelievably immature.
One who will perpetually have their hand out.
Bad News.

“Pardon me? You want me to what? Um, I don’t think so.”

The only possible way an other-wise sane person would think this was sensible would be if it was a weird family thing. I guess you could have a family where asking for a giving gifts is a ritualized way to show affection The other possiblity is if it is just a family that gives lots of gifts as a way to show affection (this is fairly common) and she’s been feeling unloved because she isn’t getting any tokens of affection. That isn’t right or wrong, it’s just a different communication style. If that’s the case and she’s been giving you little things that you have been appriciating as things not understanding that they are actually statements of affection, she might be frustrated that she isn’t getting any tokens of affection back and is desperate enough to ask for them.

I come from a family that never gives “occasion” gifts, myself, --not even Xmas or birthdays, so i’ve struggled for years to understand gift-giving systems. What I have learned to accept even if I don’t understand it is that if gifts are how someone says/hears “I love you”, the lack of them is brutal, even if there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for that.

So if it was someone I really liked, and who showed no other symptoms of avarice,I would look at the role gifts played in their family before I came to any conclusions. But it would bother me.

Yep. I would never consider asking for a present, even for my birthday or Xmas. Like Kalhoun said, if you have to ask, it is not a present. And it would turn me off to a relationship with that person. Although frankly it is so bizarre that I would probably treat it as a joke. “Yeah sure honey, as soon as you buy me that new car. And blow me.”

What Manda-Jo said. Has she been giving you little presents out of the blue lately? If so, asking for a gift might be her way of saying she feels a little neglected by you, gift-wise. The nice thing to do would be to say something like: “Do you feel neglected?” lightly and affectionately, and listen to her answer. Emotional attention probably is half she needs, and the other half can be filled with little inexpensive gifts at thoughtful, unexpected moments, like a footrub when she’s tired.

If she has not been giving you little gifts, and then she asks for a gift out of the blue, I’d interpret it as an attempt to set up a role division of “the little girl and the sugardaddy”.

The circumstances are random. As is the asking.

I’m assured by the askee that this was just a joke. The article itself is not prohibitively expensive (a few hundred dollars or so) so it won’t break my budget. In fact, it’s actually good to have this information when a real occasion arises. However, even with the benefit of the doubt that this was meant as a joke, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to utter the words, “Buy me this!” without feeling really self-conscious about it. I’m sure it has everything to do with up-bringing and what they have been accustomed to or have been taught (or not taught) as a child.

Still, it feels really odd having to deal with this coming from an otherwise, intelligent, kind and sensitive adult.

Inappropriate and completely rude.

Plus, it takes the joy out of gift-buying. My boyfriend and I love exchanging gifts, even for no reason. Usually they’re small things that we ran into while out and though “Wow, Tashabot/Tashaboy would really love this!” Like when I found the cute stuffed R2D2 toy. It was five bucks and he loved it. We’re not big on the whole “BUY ME THIS NOW!” thing.

The only exception we have is things like sodas, cigarettes, and meals. We don’t keep track of those things; whoever has the most expendable money on them buys them. The request usually comes out like “Buy me a coke?” “Sure, go grab one.”

Actual gifts aren’t appropriate to ask for with ANYONE, not just significant others! If you want to hint that you want something for your birthday/Christmas/Anniversary, make comments like “Wow, that’s neat! I totally want one of those!” or something obvious like that. Don’t say “Buy me that!”

Reminds me of my spoiled younger sister, actually…


Well, at first blush it would certainly seem odd - however, I would probably just buy the item. Mind you, I’ve gotten in trouble in the past because BFs get irritated that I buy them too much stuff. I don’t know if they think I want them to reciprocate (I don’t) or I’m trying to emasculate them (I’m not), or what, but I’ve gotten in trouble. So I’m probably not the best judge of these things.

Now, if the SO and I were standing outside a sexy underwear shop, and he was eyeing something with interest, I might say something like “So, wanna buy me a present?” nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Those circumstances seem sort of unique, tho…

Well, on further conversation, it seems simply that it was meant as a joke. I have an explanation and apology. I’m going to call that an anomaly and focus on the positive aspects of this developing relationship.

We’ve not exchanged extensive or expensive gift to date. Just token stuff of affection. But if things continue to develop and go well, at least now I have an idea of what she likes.

Thanks all.

That’s kinda what I’m like. They like. They want it. It makes me feel good to make them happy so I’m going to buy the damn thing for 'em.

It has gotten me into trouble though in my now defunct marriage. It became an expectation which I regreted enabling. So I immediately knee jerked on this request.

God - can you imagine if we dated?!?! Our respective homes would be stuffed to the brim with crap we’d bought for each other! :slight_smile: And if we were married? We’d need a second home just to store all the stuff!

Actually, I get pretty freaked out if someone buys me something for no reason. I guess I’m just used to being the “giver” and not the “receiver”.

That and I’m impossible to shop for. I’m a complete pain in the ass. Very picky.


Either a thoughtless one, or a selfish one.

And PS… I know you say that you’ve since found out it was a joke, but I suggest treading carefully until such time as you’re sure that’s the case.

“Ha ha ha! Why, is your wallet broken?” or some such similar corny joke that implies that you think she’s incredibly hilarious for saying such a funny thing, because you wouldn’t dream of thinking she’s the kind of girl who could be serious.

Once bitten, etc…