Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How Soon Is "Too Soon" To Give A Gift Of Jewelry?

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I have been dating a woman I will call "Annabelle" for about six weeks, and I am absolutely crazy about her, but I am not certain how she feels about me. She seems to like me, but I just don't feel like I am a priority in her life - at least not the way she is in mine. Christmas is a few months away, and I would like to buy her a nice gift; but I am unsure exactly what kind of gift I should get her.

I am considering buying Annabelle a gift that expresses how I feel about her, like a nice piece of jewelry - obviously not a ring (not yet) but a tennis bracelet or a pair of gemstone earrings would let her know just how much I care about her, and how deeply invested I am in the relationship. On the other hand, I am afraid that giving such an extravagant gift might frighten her away, which is the last thing I want; but I don't want her to think I am not interested, either. Should I wait until Valentine's Day to buy her something expensive, and just go with something a little more generic - like a sweater - for Christmas?

Sighing Over Annabelle

Dear Sighing:

Traditional rules of etiquette state that it is inappropriate for a woman to accept jewelry from any man to whom she is not related, with the exception of an engagement ring. Some women still subscribe to this point of view, and will gracefully refuse such a gift; while others will accept anything shiny and sparkly, regardless of who is offering it. I would say that most women fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

According to the gift-giving guide, it is not proper to give jewelry to a woman you have been seeing for less than three months and, as you have safely assumed, it is never a smart move to give a ring as a gift - even a gemstone ring - unless you are proposing to her or she is under the explicit understanding that it is not - or is, if that is the case - an engagement ring.

Since you are uncertain as to the level of commitment Annabelle is feeling towards you, jewelry should be out of the question until this question has been settled. Do not pressure her for an answer that she may not be ready - or even able, at this early point - to give; rather, allow the relationship to develop in its own time.

In the meantime, if you wish to purchase Annabelle a Christmas gift, try for something more personal than a DVD but less personal than jewelry. A sweater, as you suggested, might be seen as a little personal; as it would require knowing Annabelle's "sizes", and this is not information most women willingly reveal. For a personal gift with meaning, why not consider Annabelle's interests? If she likes to read, you could purchase her a nicely bound edition of something by her favorite author. If she likes music, an iPod shuffle is a thoughtful gift. Be creative, without breaking your bank account; and keep in mind that Annabelle may not be as serious about you as you are about her, so try not to be disappointed if she fails to reciprocate. In the immortal words of The Fonz, "Christmas is for giving, not for trading".


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