1. People & Relationships

What Gift Should I Give My Steady?

Can you give too much too soon?


My boyfriend and I have been dating for three months, what is an appropriate gift to give him? I don’t want to seem too over the top but I also don’t want to look cheap. Help!

This is a common dilemma. How much is too much to give a new beau? Unfortunately there is very little established dating etiquette that addresses this all too common issue. But don’t fret! In our never ending quest to help you out we at teen advice have conducted a very unscientific polling on the topic. We asked 150 teens in three local youth groups to help us out by answering our holiday gift-giving questionnaire. A multiple-choice questionnaire that asked questions like; how soon is too soon to receive jewelry or some other luxury item as a gift, have you ever broken up with somebody after they gave you a gift you considered to be too generous, how do you feel about setting a spending limit and would you be angry if your steady ignored that limit, angry enough to end things, and is it OK to forgo a gift if you’ve only been dating a few weeks? The answers gave us some real insight into this whole gift-giving dilemma and from the information we were given we’ve come up with the following guidelines.

  1. It is never too soon to give your steady a gift – no gift at all is just no good!
  2. That said some gifts are too much if given too soon. Luxury items, expensive items, jewelry, pets, and overly personal gifts like lingerie, underwear or cologne were almost unanimously listed as no-nos if a relationship was newer than 6 months.
  3. After 6 months people were more split on the topic but some items were still generally seen as taboo; again, jewelry, very expensive gifts or overly personal items were all listed as not yet appropriate.
  4. After a year things eased up and the only gifts that still got a big thumbs down were the outrageously expensive kind.
  5. If a gift giving price limit is agreed upon almost every teen asked stated that they would be angry if their steady went over. The reasons given ranged from embarrassment at looking cheap to feeling it was rude to go over the agreed upon amount.
  6. Over half of the teens polled reported being spooked by an overly generous gift being given too early in a relationship, but very few of the spooked group actually ended the relationship over it.
  7. While overly personal items were frowned upon in most cases very sentimental gifts were given a big round of applause. No matter how early it is in a relationship almost everybody polled said they would be more impressed by a sentimental yet modestly priced gift than by an expensive yet impersonal one.
So with these tips in mind we’ve gone ahead and picked out some gifts we think would work arranged by the length of time you’ve been dating.

6 Months or Less
Gifts for Her
Gifts for Him

6 - 12 Months
Gifts for Her
Gifts for Him

1 Year or Longer
Gifts for Her
Gifts for Him

Mike Hardcastle
About.com Teen Advice

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