DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine said she wanted to receive books on her birthday. I am an avid reader, so I gifted her three of my favorite books. Later, she told me that these books were incredibly up my alley, but she didn’t particularly enjoy them. Is there any etiquette rule that you are supposed to gift books based on the recipient’s tastes instead of your favorites? I wanted us to bond over these books, yet I realize I maybe should have given her books that she would have liked. -- Bookworm, Detroit
DEAR BOOKWORM: The going wisdom for any gift that you offer to another person is that you think about that person’s interests and give a gift accordingly. While it could have been right if your favorites had matched your friend’s, it sounds like you didn’t consider that when you chose them for her. This is something that many people get wrong when they are buying gifts for loved ones. You must step outside of yourself and focus your attention on the other person. What does she or he like to do? Hobbies? Interests? Creative pursuits? Take the time to reflect on that person before you buy or make anything.
Another good idea is to get a gift receipt for any purchase. This way, if your recipient does not like the item, it can easily be returned or exchanged without engaging you.