Pay attention

I've been considered by some to be a good gift giver. I love to give good gifts and get a thrill from that "How did you know I wanted that?" or "I love this!" moment.

Today I'm going to let you in on the secret behind my gift-giving success: I pay attention. That's it.

  • When someone mentions their favorite treat or flower or brand, I make a note of it it.

  • When someone says, "I'd love to get one of those," I put one of those in my Amazon cart (sometimes minutes after our conversation about it).

  • When someone likes a product I have, I set a reminder a few weeks before their birthday or pick it up and hold onto it.

  • When someone shares their hobby, I think about what gifts might go along with that hobby.

  • When someone talks about a problem they're having, I look for a gift that might help them solve it.

  • When someone mentions their favorite singer, I'll ask if they have the newest album; if not, I'll get them the CD or the digital music. I do the same with movies and soundtracks.

  • When someone says, "I have too much stuff" or "I need to clean out" I take them out rather than buy them something.

  • When I'm not sure what someone's preference is, I'll ask in an indirect way: I'll start a conversation about favorite restaurants so I know the best place for which to give a gift card. Or I'll reveal something about myself (I am an office supply junkie, I love polka dots) and see what type of response that elicits.

When I get it right, I realize it's not about the actual gift that much at all. It's about making people feel heard and seen. We can do that without spending a dime. "It sounds like you're having a tough time - do you want to talk more about it?" "I noticed you've been eating a lot healthier lately, which was one of your goals- good job!" "I saw on Facebook you posted an obituary - was that a friend or family member?" "I heard you say you are looking forward to the weekend - what do you have planned?"

Want to strengthen your relationships?

Pay attention.

Photo by Ivan Jevtic on Unsplash

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