Are You a GiftPhobic Guy

If you're reading this article, you're probably a gift-phobic guy, or at least "gift challenged". Not sure? Try this quiz to find out: ? Have you missed your partner's birthday? ? Have you missed your anniversary? ? Did you forget at least one Valentine's Day? ? How about Mother's Day? ? Do you give the same type of gift year after year? ? Do you avoid shopping for your partner until the last minute? ? Do you feel anxiety when your partner opens her present? If you answered "yes" to more than three of the questions, you need a little help in the gift-giving department. Listen, it's perfectly understandable. After all, it's not like they offered a class in how to buy for your girlfriend or wife in college. The most important thing is to let go of past gift-giving disasters.

While you're at it, let go of the anxiety too. The following three gift-giving tips will help you do just that. If you follow them, you will be a pro in no time. 1.

Have Her Make a "Life List". A Life List is a list of experiences you would like to have in your lifetime. It might be something as grand as traveling to India, or something as simple as learning to make sushi. This tip has a bonus benefit: your partner will be so thrilled that you asked her to make a Life List with you, she will be in a good mood for days.

And you just might get closer in the process. Remember, you need to make the list too! Now that you know what her ultimate dreams and secret desires are, you can use the list for clues as to what she might like to receive for a gift. Of course, you could just go all out and make it happen by actually taking her to India, or signing her up for Japanese cooking class. But you could also use the things on her list as inspiration.

For example, you might give her a beautiful photography book on India so she can imagine she is there, or a travel guidebook so she can plan her trip. A sushi-making video or a night out at a famous sushi restaurant would also be fun ideas that will show her you are paying attention. That is the key to great gift giving. Being thoughtful. 2.

Ask Her Best Friend. If anyone knows what your partner wants more than anything else, it's her best friend. Give her pal a call (email is too informal), and ask for ideas. Phrase your request something like this: "I would really love to get ____ something she really wants, but doesn't think is practical and so she might not have mentioned it to me. Do you have an idea of anything she is really pining for?" Of course you can put it in your words, but the idea is to show her best friend that you want to do something special, and to make sure he or she knows you are not trying to pump them for information because you're stumped! If you do use one of the ideas her best friend gives you, send a thank you note (they're in the greeting card aisle) with a short message. No need to call again, and stay away from meeting to discuss the gift before and after.

You don't want to make your partner nervous or jealous. 3. When in Doubt, Pamper Her. A surefire way to make your partner happy on any occasion is to give her the gift of relaxation.

Women today are overloaded with responsibilities and rarely have time for some much needed pampering. If you know which high-end bath products your wife covets, go ahead and purchase a basket of goodies for her. If not, don't try to guess.

Scents are very personal, and you want her to be able to use what you give her right away. If you aren't sure what to buy, go the spa route. Do a search online for day spas in your area. Not a Google or Yellow Pages search, because that just gives you contact information. Instead, go to your local newspaper or magazine's website and search for a top ten list or "best of" list which includes spas. Book a half-day or full-day spa experience, which allows her to choose from various treatments.

Let her schedule the day she will attend, and if the two of you have children, promise to take them out for the day. When you give your partner a gift of a day spa experience, make sure you choose at least one of the treatments for her. It will make her feel as though you are giving her the treatment yourself. Ask her about it later, so that she knows you were paying attention. By following these three simple strategies, you will rise to the level of gift-giving dynamo in no time. Soon, instead of teasing you about your gift phobia, your partner will be bragging about the wonderful, thoughtful gifts she receives from you.

You could stand that, right?.

Karen Fusco is co-founder of which supports Busy Moms with free gift ideas and helpful tips to meet the challenges of motherhood. She is also co-founder of , a directory of articles covering many areas of wellness. Karen can be reached directly at:

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