Have you ever been with someone who has uttered those fateful words “Really, I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day/my birthday/Christmas/pick-your-favorite”? Only to have them get mad when you take them at their word?
I know, this is all part of a game – he/she doesn’t really mean they don’t want anything; rather, they’re hoping that you’ll perform a Vulcan mind meld and be able to auto-magically determine what they actually do want, just without the whole telling you part. And I know it’s supposed to be romantic that your partner will just know you that well that you’ll be able to pick out the perfect gift from your soulmate connection.
I had an epiphany over the weekend. I was working at a client site where a young kid in the shop was talking about his first girlfriend. They had been dating for about eight months. The topic of conversation was what the involved people were going to do with their partners for Valentine’s Day. He said, “I’m not going to do anything; my girlfriend told me that she didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day”.
After we all finished laughing and wiping the tears away from our faces, we explained to him the rules of the road. A suggestion was made to “go out and pick up some flowers and something small, then give it to her, saying ‘I know that you said you didn’t want anything, hon, but I just felt that someone like you needed a little something just for being special’”.
I, for one, am a bit tired of this routine. A few years ago, a woman that I was dating at the time told me that she didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day. So, as we got ready for bed that night, she turned to me and said, “So, you really didn’t get me anything for Valentine’s Day?”
“Actually, no. I didn’t,” I responded. “Why ever not?” she asked of me, starting to get a little wound up (did I mention that we were starting to fight a lot during the preceding month?).
“Because you told me that you didn’t want anything. Apparently, I was foolish enough to think that you were telling me the truth. Had I known that you were lying to me, I would have chosen a different course of action.” Things went downhill from there.
I seem to recall saying “I just assumed that the same woman who tells me that she loves me every day wasn’t particularly going to lie to me. Silly f-in’ me.” As a side note, we broke up about two or three months later for unrelated reasons.
So, why do we do this? And I do mean we; I know men and women who say they don’t want anything when they really do. Is it some kind of attempt at demureness and modesty? What’s wrong with just being honest about what you want.
Try it with me: “Honey, I love you. If you want to get me something for Valentine’s Day, some flowers would be nice. Or some chocolates”. Or even something like “If you want to get me something on Feb 14, that’d be swell.” Heck, anything other than a blatant falsehood.
“I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day.” Then don’t be surprised when you get exactly what you ask for.
Except you, snookums. I got you flowers just for being special.