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Man gets elaborate bday gift for best friend, GF gets upset, 'you never try for me.'

Man gets elaborate bday gift for best friend, GF gets upset, 'you never try for me.'


Like many forms of affection, personalized gift-giving requires an intimate knowledge of someone else's likes and interests. While a gift card is always lovely, there's something that really hits about a gift that reflects a loved one's special interests.

However, buying a gift that hits the sweet spot can be easier said than done. Sometimes the pressure of showing how much you care and understand someone can make your brain freeze up and self-sabotage. But other times, it's just a matter of effort.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for going all out for his friend's gift when he hasn't done the same for his girlfriend.

He wrote:

AITA for 'using weaponized incompetence' when getting gifts for my girlfriend?

I have never been the best at gift-giving. It's something I can't seem to master the art of. I don't know if I'm just not as thoughtful as everyone else or what. I've had maybe one or two moments of spotting something and going 'this reminds me of [insert person here], let me buy it.' Other than that, I'm pretty much phoning it in with gift cards.

Whenever a holiday or special event approaches, it's like my mind goes blank on what the person would like. My best friend's birthday was this weekend and I truly felt like I had a stroke of genius leading up to it. He's a history buff and spends most of his time studying and traveling. He's also spent the last year of his life writing a dissertation that he hopes to turn into a book.

I've read over the draft versions of it as he works (sometimes out of curiosity, mostly to help out with proofreading as a fresh set of eyes), but it's now very near completion. I requested another copy of manuscript, had two copies properly bound, and wrote up an 'about the author' section myself to include.

When I presented them to him at his birthday party, I told him the first was for him to keep as his very first copy, and the second was a copy for me - the very first autographed one, if he would be so kind as to sign it. The whole thing was a really nice moment for us, and his family who I'm very close with. When he read over what I had written about him in the 'about the author' section, he teared up a little.

This is one of the only times making someone cry has ever made me feel so good. My girlfriend was there during this whole display and didn't say much. She went home early while I stayed the night with my friend.

When we talked the next day, she told me the gift thing was overkill and it was proof that I was using 'weaponized incompetence' previously in order to get out of putting time and thought into gifts for her. I'm kind of at a loss here. I didn't think the nice gesture was indicative of anything other than me doing something kind. AITA?

People weighed in with all of the thoughts.

LinhardtHevring wrote:

Ngl I'd be pissed if my bf 'didn't know how to get me gifts' and then got his friend literally the most thoughtful gift ever. I'm not sure you're a reliable narrator, how hard can it be to buy something for someone you love? YTA.

Edit: not going to reply to all the replies, but holy shit you guys make me sad. Gift giving is so simple if you actually care about someone. Actually listen when they talk. My friend casually mentioning she's been looking for a certain item is my cue to get her that item. My friend saying he values experiences with others is my cue to take him to a high tea. It's not rocket science.

UsefulAccident3031 wrote:

OOF. Yea buddy sorry, but YTA. Look at it from your girlfriend's perspective. You admittedly never put thought into presents for her, and then all of the sudden she’s seeing you gift a VERY meaningful and thoughtful gift to a friend.

“I’m not good at giving gifts, maybe I’m just not thoughtful” is not something someone who isn’t an a**hole says. Perhaps just work on being more thoughtful, or this is going to continue to be an issue. Your girlfriend WILL move on and not be attracted to you anymore if you don’t step it up, the resentment is clearly already there. Like…just try.

echoCashMeOusside wrote:

I think the gift you gave your friend was thoughtful. I think you're NTA for this particular gift. However, it's hard to say when it actually comes to your girlfriend. I think your entire first paragraph is kind of an excuse. Sometimes buying gifts sucks, sure. Especially if you don't know a person well and this is for a white elephant or something (but hey, that's what wine baskets were made for).

But if you're close with a person, like a girlfriend, and you seriously can't think of something they would enjoy based on how well you know them, then you aren't listening very well. I am under the impression you may have given your girlfriend thoughtless gifts in the past and she's feeling resentful, though deciding to bring it up at a poor time.

The fact is, we're all constantly talking about what kinds of gifts would be important to us. Obviously, not intentionally. But by listening to your friends, and knowing the wants, needs, and likes they talk about, you can easily become a fantastic gift-giver. Just by listening.

ScienceNotKids wrote:


Some tips from a better gift giver:

-Keep a running list year-long. She sees an ad and says' oh that's cool look at this,' write it down. She breaks or loses an item she likes? Write it down. She talks about wanting to try a new restaurant, experience, anything? Write it down. When it becomes gift-giving time, consult your list.

-Make something, like what you did for your friend. My pandemic project was learning to crochet - I've since given many many little crocheted things as gifts. Even if it isn't some amazing thing, they really appreciate the time and effort more than anything. Play to your strengths. Do you woodwork? Draw? Paint? Music?

-Pay attention to her hobbies and her struggles. Find something that would make her life easier, or make her hobbies more enjoyable.

-The best gift is one a person wouldn't buy (or wouldn't think to buy) for themselves, but are happy to have. This is important as you get older and have more disposable income, as people then just buy whatever they need. So stay away from needs and find some wants, especially if they're a little decadent.

-If you're really desperate and your list is empty, you could at least pay attention to what she buys from the makeup store and buy that instead of a gift card. At least try dude.

NatashOverWorld wrote:

Nah, it kinda is. You demonstrated you knew your friend well enough to know what he really likes and would appreciate...and you don't know your gf at all. Sure he's your best friend, maybe you've known him longer, but not even knowing your GFs hobbies and interests to try? YTA man.

Clearly, the internet is on OP's girlfriend's side. Hopefully, he can take the cue to spend more time considering her hobbies when he buys gifts for her.

Sources: Reddit
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