Male friends can be a lot of fun, but when a birthday or other gift-giving event comes, things can get very stressful. Chances are you want to show him how much you love him, but you’re worried about giving him something he doesn’t like. Worse, you worry about giving him something that will make him think you’re interested in him. Don’t worry; by choosing an appropriate gift that makes it clear that you’re not interested in him and avoids common mistakes, you’ll be able to get an enthusiastic (but entirely romance-free) reaction from your pal.
- 1 Choosing the right gift
- 1.1 Get him something that caters to his interests.
- 1.2 Choose something that he finds amusing.
- 1.3 Get him something functional.
- 1.4 Get him something he can use with his friends.
- 1.5 Get him a “male” gift.
- 1.6 Save money by making something yourself.
- 1.7 When in doubt, give him a gift certificate.
- 1.8 Don’t be afraid to ask.
- 2 Avoid a romantic undertone
- 3 Tips
Choosing the right gift
Get him something that caters to his interests.
Since this person is likely to be your best friend, you should probably have an idea of their hobbies and interests. Giving your buddy something that reflects his interests, or better yet, something that will help him pursue his hobby, is always a safe bet. These gifts are usually very welcomed; you’re giving something he likes and will use while showing him that you put some thought into the gift. If you’re unsure what your buddy likes to do, then a little visit to his home or apartment should give you a few pointers; just see what’s lying around and what’s on his walls. For example, if you see a bunch of Nintendo magazines, there’s a good chance he’s a gamer, so a new game or some Nintendo memorabilia would be good choices. Similarly, if you see a Metallica poster on his wall, chances are he’s a fan of the band’s music, so maybe a concert DVD or band merchandise would be in order.
Choose something that he finds amusing.
If you’re concerned about your ability to choose a gift your friend will enjoy, play it safe and get something he thinks is cool or funny; After all, it’s hard to interpret anything from the gift when you’re laughing your ass off! You might want to play off an inside joke you both share or just get something that’s funny in a general sense. The latter is a little more impersonal but less likely to give the wrong impression, so use your judgment. Below are a few ideas to get you started: comedies or recordings of standup comedy. Novelty gifts; T-shirts with funny sayings, strange odds and ends, crass board games, and so on. Prank gifts; Things you know he hates (like a jersey from his favorite sports team’s rivals), things that are funnily out of style (like ugly ’70s sunglasses), bizarrely incoherent things (like a sack of potatoes), and so on. Something clever alludes to its name; For example, if his name is Brian, you might think of a movie poster for The Life of Brian.
Get him something functional.
While steering clear of embarrassing misunderstandings, a surefire way to please your male friend is to give him something purely functional; this is useful to him but not necessarily very “warm” or intimate. For example, if this male friend spends a lot of time lifting weights at the gym, you might consider getting him a pair of fingerless weightlifting gloves, a pair of training shorts, or even some weights to take home with him. These gifts show that you care about what your friend likes but tend to have little risk because they don’t offend or come across as overly affectionate. Of course, one problem with this type of gift may be that it can sometimes seem very cold. Giving someone you’ve known your whole life a simple, functional gift could hurt feelings if your friend is sensitive about these things, so be aware of the possibilities. You should also remember that certain functional gifts can unintentionally convey rude messages. For example, while a subscription to a healthy eating magazine might be useful, it might send the unfortunate message that you think the recipient needs to lose weight.
Get him something he can use with his friends.
Another great way to show your friend your appreciation without sending the wrong signals is to give your friend and their circle of friends a gift (which includes you, although you don’t necessarily have to choose a gift that you participate in find favor). For example, if your friend is in a band with some other friends, giving them a specially made t-shirt with their band’s name on it would be a great gift. Alternatively, gift him a rhythm-based music game like Guitar Hero; that way, you can all play it together. If your friend has a significant other, the same principle applies, so you might want to consider getting them something. For example, two tickets to a show by your favorite local band is a fantastic way to give your male friend a fun night out with his sweetheart (with or without your presence; it’s your choice). It’s also a good way to ease tension if you recently disagreed with some of his other friends. When you give him something that you, he, and the others can use together, you make a peace offering and say, “I want us all to get along.”
Get him a “male” gift.
Giving your male friend something that fits his sense of manliness or image of a cavalier is usually a safe bet. Things like pocket knives, watches, car accessories and so on make unforgettable gifts and are mostly suitable for young and old men. Below are a few more ideas: ties, tools, belt buckles, shaving accessories, and wallets; many men do not buy a new wallet for a long time, so the gift will probably be particularly appreciated.
Save money by making something yourself.
Your gift doesn’t have to be expensive to make a good impression. Making your gift from scratch is a great way to show your friend that you care, and because these types of gifts often cost a lot less than a similar gift in a store, the time and effort you put into it are usually particularly meaningful. Below are some fun homemade gift ideas to get you started, but don’t be afraid to get creative and make your ideas! A work of art that you created (like a painting, drawing, or sculpture) A craft item you made (like a piece of furniture, skateboard, laptop stand, etc.) A handmade item of clothing (like a knitted hat or gloves), Some homemade food (like cookies or brownies; durable ones are best), and a song written and sung by you (if you’re really brave!)
When in doubt, give him a gift certificate.
If you’re worried about getting your friend the wrong gift, let them choose one for themselves! Gift cards and gift certificates are great ways to show your friend that you care without the risk of a more personal gift. Many people prefer gift cards over regular gifts. Statistically, the more generic the gift card is, the more likely it is to be well received. And best of all, these gifts are easy to buy; you can usually buy them at a chain store on the way to your friend’s birthday party.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Boys are often reluctant to tell people what kind of gift they want, especially on birthdays, Christmas, etc. Some guys are shy when asking other people for things, while others don’t care what they get. This can be frustrating when shopping for a gift, so don’t hesitate to ask your friend for details (respectfully, of course). Most of the time, even guys have a secret wish, even if they keep quiet about their wish list. So start squeezing him!
Avoid a romantic undertone
Stay away from “love gifts.”
Regardless of your intentions, some gifts come with romantic “baggage” that’s hard to ignore, so you want to avoid them. Generally, anything you would give your loved one on Valentine’s Day should be off-limits for platonic friends. The consequences of breaking this rule can be fatal (especially if your boyfriend has a partner), be aware! The following are a few examples of gifts that are considered “romantic” and that you should avoid: Cologne or personal fragrance Flowers Cufflinks or other jewelry Expensive chocolates or other excellent confectionery (especially those that come in stylish, elegant boxes) Expensive accessories ( e.g., Rolex watches, good pens, etc.) Provocative attire (funny t-shirts are fine, but silk boxers, terrycloth robes, stylish jackets, etc., are too personal for platonic friends). Tickets to an event just for him and her.
Make your card silly or goofy.
Often it’s not the gift itself that makes the guy think you’re sending signals, but the message it carries. It’s easy to mistake kind tenderness and affection for something more serious, so you may want to avoid this altogether by not letting things appear serious on your card. Some overzealous guys can see signals in even the silliest card, but the risk is far less than with a sincere, heartfelt message. There are funny greeting cards with funny sayings or specials such as plush, with music or for scratching. They are particularly suitable for a humorous gift. Here are a few sample ideas for making your gift message irreverent but kind: Be condescending in a funny way (e.g. “I don’t know if you know, but it was really hard to choose the card. I was hoping “that you can give it back to me to use again at Amy’s birthday next week. Oh yeah, happy birthday.”)
Be a bit impersonal when giving him the gift.
It’s not just about what you give your boyfriend; it’s also about how you give him the gift—eagerly anticipating your friend’s reaction to the gift can also raise embarrassing questions, even if the gift is something casual, like a new case for their phone. On the other hand, calmly and casually handing your gift to your friend will let you get away with it if it doesn’t seem like it matters what they think. There’s a delicate balance here, though, that you’ll want to maintain; being too impersonal can also come off as rude. For example, if you leave an unmarked package with his gift on his porch and don’t mention it to him for a week, it may seem like you don’t care much about the friendship. You know your friend almost better than anyone, so keep their sensitive side in mind.
When in doubt, consider a group gift.
Teaming up with a few other people to cover the cost of a gift is not only a way to save money on an expensive gift, it’s also the perfect way to avoid “sending the wrong signal.” It’s very difficult to categorize a group gift as a personal, romantic gift from you to your friend. After all, there’s a big chance you didn’t choose it! A simple, polite message on the card is the only personal touch a group gift needs, so you don’t need to risk the trap of a longer, personal message.
When all else fails, drop plenty of hints that you’re just friends.
If you’re genuinely concerned that your gift will be misconstrued, use your card as a way to define your relationship in purely platonic terms. Make an extra effort not to refer to yourself and your male friend as friends. Use words like “colleagues,” “buddies,” “homies,” and so on. Avoid terms that could be construed as romantic, like calling yourself his “special friend” or ending the letter with “your.” Unfortunately, for some guys even that isn’t enough. In these cases, you must ignore your boyfriend’s crush until he loses interest. If he gets too distracted, most relationship guides recommend being blunt; in other words, tell him directly that you don’t want to ruin your friendship with romance. For more information, see our article on this topic.
Believe it or not, some websites are made specifically for this niche. Search for the perfect gift on Menmerch, Coolthings.com, and more; these sites are great if you don’t know where to start. A voucher for his favorite restaurant.