What to Get a Guy For Valentine’s Day Whether You Are Together Or Not

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and you’re starting to feel it: the stress of what to get your guy for Valentine’s Day. You want the perfect gift. One that has just the right amount of romance without being too much, one that he loves, one that beats the socks off any gifts he’s gotten in the past from other women.

Of course, if there were just one perfect gift that fit everyone, you could a lot of time and effort. Of course, that would be too easy. You have to take into account your guy’s personality and preferences as well as where you are in the relationship. A gift that’s perfect in the later stages of the relationship might seem like “too much” if you’ve only been dating a few months.

A couple of general rules of giving gifts to guys: something practical, useful, or cool tends to win out over anything cutesy and overly romantic. When it doubt, give food. Anything from a sweet treat to a home-cooked meal can leave your guy feeling like you care. Here are some other suggestions for gifts that will make your guy happy, broken down by where you’re at in the relationship.

Early stages:ÿYou want a gift that shows you’re thinking about him. At the same time, you don’t want to freak him out by giving him something that’s too personal too soon. How do you strike the perfect balance? Think about his casual hobbies and interests. Depending on his personality, you might get him:

-A book by an author he likes, or in a genre he likes. If you’re not sure about his tastes, it’s easy to bring up a book you read and then lead the conversation into what, if anything, he likes to read.

-Ditto movies. At this stage in the relationship, avoid anything overly romantic unless that’s just the type of movie he loves (hey, some guys like rom-coms).

-If he has a sports team that he likes, get him some swag – a hat, a coffee mug, maybe a jersey.ÿ

-Treats of some kind, whether it’s cookies and candy or beer and chips. Just avoid the urge to make the cookies or chips heart-shaped.

Been dating a while: Okay, you’ve been going out for some time. You’re past the initial “getting to know you” phase and have some ideas about what he likes and doesn’t like. You’re both definitely into each other, but you’re not ready for serious commitment yet. You want a gift that shows you know him without implying anything too serious or permanent. You might get him:ÿ

-Something related to a more serious hobby or passion, such as a fishing rod if he’s an avid fisherman.ÿ

-An experience he’s always wanted to try. Maybe he’s always wanted to go rock-climbing, so you find a place that offers indoor rock-climbing.ÿ

-His favorite cologne.

-Something that you make or do for him: a home-cooked meal with his favorite foods, a massage, etc.

Now it’s serious: You’ve made a commitment to each other and you’re both in love. You may be engaged or getting there soon. You have a special relationship, and you want your gift to reflect how you feel about him. You might get him:

-Something that commemorates a special occasion, like a painting of the beach where you spent your first vacation together.

-Something you know he wants but would never get for himself: a collector’s item, an electronic gadget, a new tool, even a video game can be surprisingly romantic if you get it because you “get” him.

-A book of coupons for things you’ll do for him, from washing his car to, well, let’s just leave that to the imagination.

The best gifts are ones that show you know him and care about what he wants, including his comfort level with where you’re at in the relationship. By getting the right gift for the stage your relationship is at, you’ll both have a happy Valentine’s Day.