Men often get the feedback that they are impossible to buy for.
This might be because men are socialized to not reveal the things that make them the most vulnerable--so people have trouble getting to the bottom of what they like.
However, if the right people listen, they can figure it out.
They can also figure it out if they ask.
Here were some of those answers.
I don't celebrate birthdays much, but my girlfriend got me a few pints of berries. She listened when I told her that berries are my favorite food, and brought them to me on my birthday. I nearly cried, because I felt seen and understood. I don't like cake, I don't like praise or attention, and I don't really want any gifts, but goddamn, I do love some good blackberries.
We Remember Experiences
My best birthday present I ever received was more an experience (not sex (well that too)). At the time she didn't have a lot of money
I came home from work and she was wearing a pretty sun dress and holding a cold cider for me (we didn't live together btw).
We went through to the family room where she sat me down with some chips and told me some of the reasons she loved me, and the ways I make her life better.
Then we had a delicious dinner, watched a movie she knew I'd like (Die Hard, how can you go wrong?) and then the aforementioned sex.
Just being told she loves me and having someone compliment who I am as a person was enough to make it the best gift. The rest was icing on cake.
Oh yeah, and an Ice Cream Freddo Cake, the greatest of all the birthday cakes.
Gifts From Thoughts
Actual physical gifts? Just anything we might have mentioned that we liked and thought was cool. The more in passing we mention it, the more attention it shows us we have been paid, which is really what gifts are about after the age of about 10.
Removing An Anxious Event
I am very particular about the stuff I like, and I clothes shopping for myself and don't care for fashion, so my gifts are as follows:
birthday: t shirt and jeans
Anniversary: shirts and pants
If this relationship goes well, I never ever have to go clothes shopping again, and that may be the best gift of all for me.
Some Physical Help
If I had a girlfriend the only thing I would really want is a neck massage, I have a really stiff neck and nobody I know would bother helping out plus a chiropractor or a massage therapist is too expensive for me especially since I'm still really young
Being The Girlfriend
If this is a woman looking for some ideas for a boyfriend, something I've been doing for a while is to keep a running list in my phone of things that he mentions in passing that he would like and then when an occasion hits, I have a huge list of things and can pick what to get him from that. It works really well and he appreciates me remembering things we talked about ages ago.
We Go Together
Invite me to hike a mountain, ride an helicopter or camp somewhere. Buy me some materials and let's try to built something stupid together. Just surprise me, as long as it's a gift for both of us
Not Throwing Away Her Shot
After 4 years of hearing of Hamilton and 2 years of listening to the album, for my birthday in 2019 she got us tickets for Hamilton in Chicago. The best gift, hands down, anyone has ever gotten me. Never had to ask, she just knew. I cried. I cried when she got them, I cried during the show, and I still cry just thinking about how much I wanted to experience something, and she worked so many extra shifts to make it happen.
The year prior she also just gave me a lazy Saturday bbq of chill music, not too much attention, as I don't like being the center of attention, so that lazy Saturday bbq with her family (who I absolutely love and who loves me like a member of the family, her parents signed the card they gave me with "Love, mom and dad".) She and her family are just so loving towards me and I can't believe just how wonderful they all are towards me and how she just knows how to make me feel so special. So yeah, just, something as simple as a lazy Saturday bbq or as grand as Hamilton tickets, just something that says "I know you well, I know what you love what you need. Big or small"
Not Stuff, Anything But Stuff
My wife is really great at coming up with gifts, so she has much better ideas than I do about what I want for my birthday.
If I had to choose though, just a nice day filled with stuff I like. Good beer, good dinner, lazy time, sexy time, maybe a nice hike or something. Except for the improbably good gifts my wife somehow comes up with every time, I generally hate getting gifts because it's awkward having to feign how much I like the gift. I'm a grown man, I just buy stuff I want, and usually if I don't buy it I don't want it.
Teaching Yourself A New Skill
This may seem to be very extra or ridiculous or excessive to some people but for my fiance's birthday this year I am learning his first language, I already know seven others which he found cool but slightly disappointing that none of them were his first.
I know his siblings also have a harder time learning what is my first and his family's second language so I thought it would be something he would appreciate. I am still getting him a physical gift but it will be smaller, (I'm thinking a new set of kitchen knives). The key to gift-giving is giving something with meaning behind it, not just money.