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10 Gifts You Should Never Give a Woman

Updated on November 24, 2013

Don't Make These Mistakes

Here's a list of 10 gifts you should never give a woman, just in time for your holidays. You want to be happy; you want her to be happy. Let's get started!

1. Never, ever give a woman a self-improvement book or video. She knows she's not perfect. She wants to believe you think she is. Don't shatter the illusion, especially with a gift. You will only hurt her feelings. This holds true no matter how obsessed she is with a certain topic, whether it's fashion, budgeting or household management. This holds true even if she asks for the latest diet book or exercise video. Let her know how much you love her, not how much she could improve!

2. Don't give a woman anything that once belonged to another woman. The only exception I can think of here is your grandmother's engagement ring, which could be considered a great compliment because you would be trusting her with a family heirloom. Even then, you should offer to have it reset to her liking. Otherwise, if you give her a gift that once belonged to someone else, she is getting secondhand goods and is going to feel like, well, secondhand goods herself, or at any rate second class in your heart.

3: Don't give gifts like the ones she knows (or is likely to find out) you have given another woman in the past. For example, I once knew a man who gave his second wife pearls for Christmas. It was a great gift except for one thing: he had given his first wife pearls for Christmas only a few years earlier, and had talked about how ungrateful she'd been. His new wife felt like he was giving her a chance to make up for the first wife's ingratitude. So while she was in fact very pleased, she'd have been happier still with something that didn't have that particular echo.

4: Please resist getting a woman a video game unless she is really into video games. Otherwise you will probably be unable to resist either "testing" the game for her or standing over her shoulder giving advice while she's trying to play it, which, if she's just getting interested, is going to suck the fun right out of it.

5: On the subject of clothes, be very, very careful. First of all, don't give a woman anything that has even the faintest chance of making her look and feel like an idiot, like those puffy jumpsuits designed for motorcycle riding in cold weather. Don't buy her any clothes at all without being very sure of her size. If it's too small, she's going to be embarrassed. If it's too big, she's going to be insulted. (Hint: instead of asking her size, sneak a look at the tags inside of the clothes you think she looks great in.)

6: Don't give a woman a pet unless she's been begging for one, and even then, make sure she doesn't want to choose it herself.

7: Under no circumstances give the "gift" of plastic surgery. This is like #1 the way rockets are to mopeds. Besides being insanely cruel, it's just plain dangerous. I know of a woman whose husband got her a tummy tuck for her birthday. She died in surgery. If you think that's a fluke, let me ask you this: is it worth the risk, even if that risk is "only" one in 10,000? Is a little extra skin so horrible that you'd "give" someone the chance to go under the knife? What if she doesn't even want the gift but feels obliged to please you?

8. Please don't give a woman a gift certificate unless she's your granddaughter. If she's your wife or girlfriend, she's going to wonder why you couldn't be bothered to make an effort.

9. Similar to #1, don't give a woman something you enjoy that you "know" she would love if only she would try it, get the hang of it, whatever. If she doesn't enjoy electronics, go for jewelry or something she does like. Otherwise it's pretty obvious that the person you are trying to please is yourself.

10: Of the 10 things you should never give a woman, the very worst one is nothing. If you're afraid she won't like whatever you get her, let me assure you, her disappointment at a less than stellar gift would pale beside her feelings when you don't come up with anything. She wants to know that you cared enough to try, so get out there and do your best. She'll love you for it, and you might be surprised how much she likes the gift!

And here's a shortcut for you: while men like gifts that do something, women like gifts that mean something.

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    • profile image

      4 years ago

      You make women seem like insecure beings constantly lacking appreciation and approval. We should know instead that they are precious—as are all humans; and they themselves, of all people, should realize this and be greater than themselves.

    • Naomi Rose Welty profile image

      Naomi Rose Welty 4 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Gift certificates are great if they're from your employer -- unless you're dating your employer, but that's a different column.

    • profile image

      Tracey giftless 4 years ago

      Yes gift cert = couldn't be bothered, so I never!

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 7 years ago from Australia

      Fantastic! I totally agree!

    • Naomi Rose Welty profile image

      Naomi Rose Welty 7 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Jane, I agree about appliances; I think the trick there is to get something she really, really wants rather than some "cool" gadget like a hot-dog roaster (laughing).

      SantaMail, whoever wins the Xbox should certainly get his wife/woman/girl something really nice! And he should let her play, too. Then again, maybe it won't be a guy who wins.

    • Jane Bovary profile image

      Jane Bovary 7 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      You're so right about no. 10 Naomi.

      I'd have to add *boring domestic appliance* to this list, although there are a couple of exceptions. Yes, I would like a new washing machine.