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Receiving gifts is likely the least common of the five love languages, and probably the most misunderstood. If your long-distance boyfriend’s love language is receiving gifts, you may be struggling to understand how to show him love.
Non-native speakers often see cherishing gifts as a purely materialistic desire, but that’s not what this love language is really about. I appreciated Annette Kim’s explanation:
“For people that have this love language, receiving gifts is a way for them to understand and truly believe that the love is thoughtful and true,” she writes. “Some people need the visible symbols of love to feel the connection between themselves and their partner.”
The idea of gifts as “visible symbols of love” stood out to me. Symbolizing love in different ways is the core concept behind love languages. Words of affirmation people value verbal symbols of love, acts of service people value practical symbols, and so on.
It’s easy to see, then, how important and meaningful a visual example of love is in a long-distance relationship when you don’t see each other often.
These eight tips can help you understand how to show love to a long-distance boyfriend who has a receiving gifts love language.
1. Milk the long-distance relationship industry
Etsy and Amazon have countless gift options for couples in long-distance relationships. You might as well take advantage of this season while you’re in it!
Personalized gifts can also be a good gift for long-distance relationships. We had fun with this custom photo puzzle from Shutterfly.
2. Don’t focus on the cost
Those of us who don’t naturally love receiving gifts can become too focused on the cost of the gift we give. However, a meaningful gift isn’t related to a specific price tag.
“A balloon can be more precious to me than a purse,” Kim writes.
3. Get creative with deliveries
You can deliver almost any gift to your boyfriend by simply swapping his address for yours on Amazon. Amazon offers a gift delivery option that removes the price from the receipt in the box. Many items are also eligible for gift wrapping at an additional charge.
Food is also a great gift to deliver. While ordering a full meal usually requires coordinating with your boyfriend in advance, you can surprise him with a snack like Insomnia Cookies.
4. Write Open When Letters
A box of Open When Letters is one of the best do-it-yourself gifts in a long-distance relationship. If you’re writing these letters for the first time, I wrote a complete guide to help you get started.
You could also opt for an alternative like Open When Emails, but I’m guessing that physical copies of Open When Letters will mean more to someone with this love language.
5. Make a calendar of important dates
I’m often forced to give someone a boring, impersonal gift simply because I didn’t plan ahead.
Shipping is fast these days, but not fast enough when I’m seeing the person in two hours. Once I realize I’ve missed my window, I end up walking frantic laps around Target and settling for something generic like a candle.
So, if your long-distance boyfriend has the receiving gifts love language, it’s not a bad idea to make a calendar of important dates. His birthday, your anniversary, and Valentine’s Day are a few obvious examples of occasions you can include. You could also include unique celebrations such as when he’s graduating college or giving an important presentation.
6. Leave gifts with his friends for future occasions
If you’ve made a calendar and planned ahead, you can save money on shipping by leaving gifts with your boyfriend’s friends. Once the actual date comes, you can ask the friend to give your boyfriend the gift for you.
You might feel a little silly asking his friends to do this, but I found most guys are surprisingly happy to help you care for their friend.
7. Buy his plane ticket
This is an expensive gift, and it’s not right for every situation.
Sometimes, however, it might be the perfect gift. If he’s already planning to drive 15 hours to see you, and you can afford a plane ticket, how special would it be to surprise him by arranging his travel plans?
8. Remember your presence is the most precious gift
As important as gifts are to your boyfriend, you are so much more valuable to him.
Your presence after a long time apart will speak volumes of your love. Be intentional with your gifts, but don’t spend so much time and money on them that you forget what they are symbolizing.
Ultimately, he cares about the gift because it reminds him of you.