What are gifts for? Why do we give them to others? Why do they make us happy?
These are some questions I have been wondering about. Maybe you have too at some point in your life.
The tradition of exchanging gifts can be observed in different cultures all over the world, even the tribal ones. It has been around almost as far as our civilization and even before that. It seems like the idea of this benevolent gesture is embedded in our DNA.
When someone gifts us something, and if it’s not a particular crappy one, it makes us feel special. It’s not all about the gift itself, it’s also the attention that we crave. And when the gift is a good one, we feel flattered by the time and effort spent by the person and the thought that went into picking it.
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As for how to pick the right gift for your recipient, you need some knowledge of their personality and find a suitable gift for them. Not all gifts are created equal and neither are people who receive them.
From what I’ve gathered from my research and study, I’ve categorized recipient personalities into nine types. Each of these seven personalities are defined by their desires. And while these traits and desires can overlap, the fundamental core will be enough to guide you to an ideal present for them.
Following are the seven receiver personality types. I discuss each one in some length and provide some gift ideas that are ideal for them. Of course, humans are diverse and cannot be easily defined into rigid categories, but we do share some characteristics that are predictable and can use those to make finding gifts easier.
Your target recipient will fit into one of these types more or less. When you recognize their respective type, follow the guide on finding the proper gift for them.
If everyone in the world agreed on everything, there’d be no conflict, there’d be world peace and no wars, but there’d also be no progress. We would not question our beliefs because there wouldn’t be anyone to question or oppose them.
Diversity is important for evolution but it has its costs.
Dreamers are by nature a bit naive. You need to be realistic in life to function and navigate the world, but being too practical can leave you unable to think of options and possibilities that challenge reality.
Not all dreamers make it though. Having a vision is not enough, you have to make things happen to realize that vision. If you can achieve that balance of unrealistic ambition and a grasp of reality, nothing can stop you.
A dreamer can be recognized by their fundamental characteristics. They are not fond of ordinary ways of life. They feel different, special. They don’t have regards for the rules they think are without reason, or at least they try to find ways around them.
Most of all, dreamers have one basic desire, to have an identity that sets them apart.
Maybe your recipient is someone that shares these traits, you can recognize them by their interest in stories about extraordinary personalities, they may be a bit aloof and shy, love reading and watching films, their eyes light up when talking about their grand plans for the future.
They’ll find books and movies about struggling artists and entrepreneurs fascinating.
These types usually like to surround themselves with beauty, so attractive decor, art will work
They could be a bit hung up in the past. Finding themselves glorifying the times that came before them. And if they have a liking for old fashioned things, which you can tell based on the possessions they own, give them vintage looking stuff.
These types take great pride in their individuality, so you can gift them something that’s tailored to their personality, or some specific detail about them that you know, some hidden desire or wish they may have shared with you.
The Do Gooder
Every major religion in the world puts an emphasis on being “good” and “kind” as a duty for its followers. The spiritual gurus will preach the same message. I personally don’t think it’s practical advice. In a perfect world being nice would be the ideal but in the real world we live in nice people get walked over all the time.
Being unconditionally good leaves you open for being taken advantage of. There are sharks out there who see you as suckers for being trusting and trying to help. The world is a tough place and life is not so simple.
You have to be tough and practical when it’s necessary and be selectively kind. That’ll make your life easier in the long run.
The Do Gooders are people who are naive to this reality. They try to be as helpful as they can be, even go out of their way to help out others in need. They’re empathetic. Understanding and willing to share the pain of others.
These actions primarily stem from their need to be loved and respected by other people. But love and respect can’t be bought with excess favours. People are repelled by an overly needy person. And most people will resent you if they feel burdened by all you’ve done for them.
Anything that lets them know you care. They’re so used to doing things for others that they forget to take care of themselves. Ticket to a game of their favourite sport, a spa voucher, etc.
If you’re dating them, give them a temporary escape from daily life. Go to an event together and gift them something that feels sentimental. Maybe they mentioned, offhand, one of their wishes. Pay attention to the hints.
The price Tag won’t matter to them as long as they feel like you’ve put some thought into the gift. This also means they have high expectations about your gift being considerate.
If they’re close to you, a well written note expressing your appreciation along with your gift will be helpful.
Humans have been struggling for survival and basic needs for hundreds of thousands of years. Being a vulnerable and physically inferior species compared to others required us to work alongside with others to survive. If you weren’t the strongest in the tribe, you had to compensate with a charming personality to avoid being bashed in the head by a jealous neighbour.
Charmers like being around people. They have good social skills and know how to please and they use these skills to create social connections. They’re success oriented, optimistic, adaptable and image conscious. All in all they seem pretty normal and are fun to hang around with.
You can recognize these types by the importance they place on their place in society. They’ll say the right words, do the socially acceptable things and hide their darker side from the world.
Accessories(cufflinks, jewellery, ties, handbags, etc.), fitting clothes.
Funny gifts (If you’re friends with them. Funny print t-shirts, gag gifts.)
Card games, board games, something like a portable ping-pong set.
If they like talking about something, say history, buy them a history related gift like an interesting documentary or book.
If they have any interests or things they want to try, for instance they mentioned they wanted to try fishing, buy them a fishing rod and take them for fishing (That is if you know how to. Just an example.).
The bible says God told Abraham to go into the unknown, to find adventure.
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
I’m not religious but that seems like good advice for someone who is too comfortable in his space. You need to get a bit uncomfortable and overcome your fears to go out in the world you have not before. That gives you perspective, not just about yourself but also about where you come from.
The wanderer takes this a little too far. They travel to get away from where they are from because they dislike themselves and hence their lives. They’re usually from middle or upper class backgrounds.
They’re attracted to the exotic, always hungry for new experiences, so they jump from one place to the other and disregard stability. This can be fun but done aimlessly can also bring problems. After all, all the wandering around doesn’t solve the root of the problem.
You can recognize these types by their lack of stability in life. Constantly changing jobs, friends, homes. They prefer things from cultures other than their own. They’ll have many collectibles and souvenirs from their travels.
Their main desire is to find pleasure and excitement in life, to not be settled in one place.
Souvenirs from places they want to visit. You can buy those online. For example if Paris is on their wishlist, give them a Paris themed gift.
Books & movies about adventure(Can be foreign), Travel photo books.
Travel accessories and other things useful for travellers.
Exotic jewellery and accessories.
No one likes a “know it all.” People who have an opinion about everything are usually just trying to prove their intellectual superiority over others even though they are ill informed about the subject in question. And no one is a fan of grammar nazis.
Perfectionists at their core are driven by their need for excellence. This quality can be good and help them improve and achieve levels of competence in their careers, but, if not handled well, can also turn into an obsession that holds them back.
Always waiting for the perfect conditions or circumstances or being too hung up about minor details can waste time and effort.
These types are also very picky about the stuff they use, which makes it tricky for you to buy gifts for them they’ll approve of. After all, it’s no fun to get a subtle look of disappointment from someone who is reacting to your choice of gift.
They’re also very neat and orderly. You can recognize these types by their need for order in everything. Elaborate schedules, to-do lists, need for everything to be arranged, anxiety when things don’t go according to their plan.
Generally you will be better off just getting them what they want. Ask them if they have a wishlist for you to choose from. Even if you want to surprise them, they’ll probably be happier if you get them a gift of their choice.
An experiential gift, like a ticket to a sports event if they’re into it, or something similar for them to blow off some steam will be great (Too much order in life can be tiring, give them a break from it).
If they read, you can gift them a non-fiction book related to their career.
While being born with a platinum spoon in your mouth has its perks, but it also has some serious side effects. Having to struggle to get by in the beginning years of one’s life teaches him to be resourceful, tough and appreciate life more. Take that out and add parents who spoil you with their money and you get entitled brats who get used to demanding from others to give them what they want rather than earning it themselves.
Not all of them turn out that way though, done properly you can instill good behaviour in your child no matter the class.
The royal types are not necessarily as wealthy as much as they’re spoiled. These types lack the humility or patience to consider other people’s needs. When you’ve been pandared all your childhood you grow up to be selfish and narcissistic.
You can recognize these types by their behaviour. They’ll act like royalty no matter what class they belong to. They’ll buy clothes they can’t afford, focus too much on superficial things over anything substantial and have a tendency of easily getting bored. They also lack the commitment to establish deep, long term relationships of any kind.
The latest trends in fashion and whatever is popular at the moment.
They’ll likely drop hints repeatedly on what they desire hoping for you to catch them. In which case, give them what they suggest.
If they have a collection of clothes, accessories and other stuff. Give them something that adds to the collection.
Price tag matters to them, so spend on your gift around what they spend on yours.
Curiosity killed the cat but it also led to amazing breakthroughs in history that helped us create this world we live in today.
It’s the people who found themselves wondering, trying to find explanations on how things worked, who did their part in finding answers to these questions and adding to the collective knowledge on which progress is based on.
The scientists, inventors, engineers, coders, philosophers, and creators of all kinds are driven by their incessant curiosity about how things work.
If you’re one of those people who when they were kids found themselves breaking open gadgets to see how they worked, sometimes, to the annoyance of your parents, not being able to put them back together, you might be the mechanic type.
You can recognize this type by their impressive competence and extensive knowledge of their crafts. They can be insightful and driven to achieve mastery.
For this type, practical things they can use make better gifts. You’ll have to do some research though. For instance, if your recipient is a cinematographer, equipment which is newly launched and which they don’t already own will work.
If they read, they’d appreciate a book related to their craft. Although don’t gift them books are too mainstream. Find one that’s interesting and less known.
Something fun that’s related to their passion. A fun t-shirt with a drummer pun for drummers or an Edison desk lamp for a budding inventor.
Although the knowledge of your recipient’s personality type from above will help your chances of your gift being loved, no amount of theory can compensate for lack of field work.
If you pay attention to your recipient’s desires and wishes, with time you’ll get better at getting them their ideal present.