Question: I've been dating this girl for the past few weeks and things are going good between us. We haven't established anything yet and since Valentine's Day is coming up, I was wondering what you think about getting her a present even if we are not exclusive yet. I don't want to seem like I don't care about her if I don't get her anything… but I don't want to scare her away either if I go all out for V-day. Help! (San Diego, CA)
Social Shrink: Good call - you don't want to scare her away with doing too much, but also not push her away by doing nothing. It’s definitely a delicate balance!
Since you two haven't established a relationship, yet it’s still evolving and developing, we suggest you do SOMETHING to show that you are interested. If you do nothing, you will make her think you are not serious about your relationship with her (i.e. that you don’t see a future), or she may think you are putting your attention towards another girl you may be talking to. Either way, it may get her paranoia to increase for no reason and that’s not the signal you want to get across.
One suggestion is to simply take her out to dinner. Nothing too fancy and make the focus on her. We also suggest you personalize it - take her to a restaurant with cuisine she loves eating. Did she ever mention a restaurant she loved to try or a type of food she loves? The more personalization = more meaning for her. She will see that you listened, and that speaks volumes more so than a piece a jewelry or a bouquet of flowers.
Also, don’t overdo it – don’t greet her at the restaurant with a balloon, roses and a box of chocolates. That makes you look psycho and obsessed. Subtlety is key, but with a strong enough message that communicates that you like her.
The greatest gift you can give her during this time is your attention. Have a great conversation with her, make her laugh, and just be yourself. There will be plenty of times down the line for you to get her the cheesy box of chocolates or the Tiffany’s jewelry.
Last piece of advice - Be prepared that she might have Valentine’s Day plans since you guys are not exclusive yet, make sure to book her in advance! Good luck!