How to Buy for the Guy that “Doesn’t Want Anything”

How to Buy for the Guy that “Doesn’t Want Anything”

Gift-giving happens year round for all sorts of occasions. Usually, the process is straightforward: the person is easy to buy for, or they tell you want they want.

But sometimes it can be stressful. Especially when that person says they don’t want anything.

It can be even more complicated when that person is a guy.

Don’t worry. Here are some steps you can follow to ease the stress and find a gift he will love.

First: Describe

Consider the man in your life. In the list below, which words resonate?

  • outdoorsy
  • musical
  • techy
  • foodie
  • intellectual
  • mechanical
  • traveler
  • athlete
  • sports fan
  • young
  • retired
  • mid-life
  • career changer
  • graduate
  • father
  • grandfather
  • son
  • brother
  • significant other
  • friend
  • leader
  • business owner
  • creative
  • reader
  • writer
  • farmer or gardener
  • chef
  • talker
  • adventurous
  • humorous
  • … add your own!

Second: Categorize

Is this man a product guy or an experience guy?

A product guy is someone who enjoys playing with stuff. He has the newest phone, a fancy computer, lots of books, gadgets, toys, and clothes.

An experience guy is often donating goods, has a limited wardrobe, and tells great stories.

Third: Identify your Budget

Hopefully, by now you’ve come up with a description of your guy and whether your search will be product or experience.

Now you need to determine how much you can and want to spend.

For many people, this equation is dependent on your relationship with this person, the event or purpose of the gift, and of course the size of your bank account.

If you’re like the rest of us, the funds are not unlimited. However, a small budget doesn’t mean the gift is small on creativity, enjoyment, and appreciation.

Four: Get Creative and Use your Tools

Search it

  • type in your description words
  • add “product” or “experience”
  • include your top dollar amount

If a typical Google search isn’t proving helpful, has a “Sort By” tool that can provide an additional layer of assistance by categorizing gifts as latest, hottest, popular, or random.

The point here is to create a large list of options that you can browse and see what ‘clicks’ as the perfect gift.

Watch TV

  • Well, watch something with a character it in that reminds you of the guy you are buying for.
  • Observe the activities this character participates in and enjoys
  • Observe the stuff around their living or workspace

Ideally, you get some ideas from the creatives out in Los Angeles who regularly create realistic environments and activities for this character.

If your guy reminds you of Schmidt from The New Girl, your gift buying will certainly end differently than if the guy is more like Nick or Winston.

Create an Experience

So, you didn’t use the word, “product” in his description. No worries. For this guy, you get to create an experience for him, or even better yet, for the two of you.

And, spending time with friends and family is actually quite healthy!

When planning an experience, it’s important to consider the following:

  • The weather – no one wants to freeze during a hot-air balloon ride
  • Length of experience – if this guy is working 70 hours a week, a multi-course dinner on a weeknight probably isn’t going to fly
  • Time of year – sports fan? Don’t wait until playoffs to buy baseball tickets, especially if your budget is tight
  • Comfort level with crowds – his favorite band coming to town? Awesome! Does he hate crowds? Choose ticket locations carefully.
  • Surprise or Planned? Some people love surprises. You can show up at their door tonight and whisk them away to an international destination and they will love it. Others would slam the door in your face and change their phone number.

Gift Cards

Who doesn’t like gift cards? Yes, at first they can seem like an unthoughtful, uncreative grab in the checkout line at Target.

However, they can also represent a wish for your guy to have just a bit more financial freedom to grab something they’ve had their eye on for a while.

Remember to keep his interests in mind. If he is handy around the house or loves to garden, the Lowes or Home Depot gift card makes sense. But if he prefers gadgets or camping, other retailers might be a better bet.

And, if your recipient lives far away, many stores let you email the gift card. This can be an easy and simple way to let your guy know you are thinking of him.

Pay Attention

Now this works best when you remember to start thinking about the gift-giving a few weeks or even months in advance.

But as soon as you determine that you will be purchasing him a gift, think of your description, whether he is more product or experience, your budget, and start listening.

Often people will drop hints for what grabs their interest without even realizing it. For instance, at dinner did he keep bringing up the jersey that his brother recently bought? Or did he point out an interesting book he heard about during a business lunch?

Or is he always on his phone looking at property rentals at the beach?

He may be giving you clues every day!

Ask his Close Friends, Co-Workers, and Family

Sometimes those who know him best, or see him every day, can offer insight into what he might find useful, fun, or entertaining.

If you have mutual friends or co-workers, a quick Facebook message or text might provide you with the perfect gift idea.

If you know his family, they might be able to let you in on what kinds of things or activities he’d enjoyed his whole life, or maybe something that he used to enjoy but hasn’t found the time for lately.

Giving him something that provides positive memories of his childhood is always a great thing.

Final Thoughts

Gift giving is supposed to be a fun thing. Ideally fun for the giver and the receiver. However, when the receiver plays the, “Nothing for me” card it can be frustrating.

Hopefully, these ideas have provided a wide range of options for you. It is important to respect the wishes and comfort levels of your guy and also possible to do so while giving them something they will truly appreciate.

And if all else fails, a thoughtful handwritten note is always appreciated.

Happy giving!


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