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How to choose a gift for someone you don't know well feature image

Choosing the perfect gift for someone you don’t know very well can be a daunting task. Whether it’s a colleague’s retirement party or a business meeting with an acquaintance whose birthday coincides with your appointment, the pressure to find the right gift can feel overwhelming. However, fear not! We’re here to offer a comprehensive guide on how to navigate this challenge and select a gift that will impress even those you don’t know well.

In fact many studies, such as the one from Journal of Business Research confirms that gift giving can be an important step in forming closer relationships with others, so selecting the right gift for someone we don’t know, can set us off to a head start in crystallising our new relationship!

In this article, we’ll explore various strategies and techniques to help you choose a thoughtful and meaningful gift for someone you may have limited knowledge about. While we’ve previously covered our overall top methods for brainstorming gift ideas, this guide will delve deeper into specific tactics tailored for selecting gifts for individuals with whom you have minimal familiarity. And if you’re still struggling to identify the perfect gift after reading this guide, remember, we offer a free gift suggestion service to lend you a helping hand!

How to Impress Someone You Don’t Know with a Fantastic Gift Choice – Techniques We Will Cover

In summary, our top methods for brainstorming gift ideas for someone you don’t know well include:

  1. Upgrade a Generic Gift Idea
  2. Focus on Gifts Revolving Around Their Everyday Actions and Habits
  3. Look Up the Recipient’s Public Profiles for Gift Ideas
  4. Analyse the Recipient’s Daily Routine to Brainstorm Gift Ideas
  5. Focus on the Connection Between You and the Recipient

We’ll delve into each of these techniques to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how to approach gift-giving in various scenarios.


1. Upgrade a Generic Gift Idea


Gift-giving etiquette often dictates resorting to generic presents like candles, picture frames, or bottles of wine when we’re unsure of what to give. While these gifts are certainly thoughtful, they can lack a personal touch. That’s where the magic of customization comes in.

One of the simplest methods for finding the right gift for someone you don’t know well is to personalize a generic gift idea. Take an ordinary gift, such as a candle for a housewarming, and add a personal touch. For instance, if your new neighbour is a family with a child and a dog, consider gifting them a candle with a design reflecting their family dynamic. Alternatively, choose a candle with a unique design or packaging that reflects their hobbies or passions. For example, if they’re an avid reader, a candle inspired by classic literature could be a charming addition to their home decor.

By infusing a touch of personalization into generic gifts, you can transform them into meaningful tokens of appreciation that showcase your thoughtfulness and consideration, even with limited knowledge of the recipient.

Examples of generic gifts that can easily be personalized include mugs, candles, and stationery. These gifts can be tailored to reflect the recipient’s interests, hobbies, or the connection between you and them. It’s a perfect strategy when you have minimal information about the recipient but still want to make a meaningful gesture.


Upgrade Generic Gift Idea Infographic

An infographic showing few simple ways we can upgrade a generic gift idea for someone we don’t know very well.


2. Focus on Gifts Revolving Around Their Everyday Actions and Habits


Observing someone’s daily routines and habits can provide invaluable insights for gift selection. Whether it’s a co-worker, neighbour, or acquaintance, paying attention to the little details can help you choose a gift that aligns with their lifestyle and preferences.

For instance, if you notice your co-worker’s plain coffee mug amidst their elephant-themed desk decor, consider gifting them an elephant-themed mug to enhance their daily coffee experience.

Similarly, if you’re attending a housewarming party for a new neighbour, take note of their home decor and personal style. If their living room features vibrant colours and eclectic furnishings, consider gifting them a decorative throw pillow or accent piece that complements their aesthetic. By focusing on gifts that revolve around their everyday actions and habits, you can ensure that your gesture is both practical and appreciated.

By paying attention to the recipient’s routines and preferences, you can identify meaningful gifts that align with their lifestyle. This approach allows you to utilize the limited information you have about the recipient to brainstorm thoughtful gift ideas.


Infographic of using daily habits to brainstorm gift ideas

An infographic showing what daily habit observations we can focus on to brainstorm gift ideas.


3. Look Up the Recipient’s Public Profiles for Gift Ideas


In today’s digital age, social media platforms offer a wealth of information about a person’s interests, hobbies, and preferences. By taking a peek at the recipient’s public profiles, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, you can gain valuable insights that inform your gift selection process.

Suppose you’re attending a networking event and want to bring a small token of appreciation for a potential business partner whose birthday happens to coincide with the occasion. A quick glance at their LinkedIn profile reveals that they’re passionate about photography and often share posts related to landscape photography. Armed with this knowledge, you could consider gifting them a coffee table book featuring stunning images of scenic landscapes or a set of high-quality photography prints to adorn their workspace.

However, it’s essential to approach this strategy with tact and discretion. While social media can provide valuable insights, it’s important to respect the recipient’s privacy and only use information that is readily available to the public. Additionally, ensure that your gift remains appropriate for the nature of your relationship and the context of the occasion and only utilize information available on platforms where you’re already connected. For example, If you spot an interesting information for a gift idea on your co-workers Facebook page, but you are only connected on LinkedIn where that information is unavailable, it might be wise to not use this information in your gift idea brainstorming so as to not seem intrusive.

By leveraging public profiles for gift ideas, you can select a gift that resonates with the recipient’s interests and passions, demonstrating thoughtfulness and consideration.

Here are some examples of solid public social media profiles you could explore to get started:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Instagram
  3. Facebook
  4. X (Formerly Twitter)
  5. Pinterest
  6. Threads


4. Analyse the Recipient’s Daily Routine to Brainstorm Gift Ideas


Another effective strategy for choosing a gift for someone you don’t know well is to analyse their daily routine and identify areas where a thoughtful gift could make a meaningful impact. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, or family member, paying attention to their habits and preferences can help you select a gift that enhances their daily life.

If your colleague frequently complains about the lack of variety in their lunch options and the time-consuming process of meal prep. Consider gifting them a gift card for a meal kit delivery service, providing them with fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes to enjoy delicious homemade meals with minimal effort.

Similarly, if you know someone who commutes to work or travels frequently, consider gifts that enhance their daily commute or make travel more enjoyable. A stylish travel mug or a set of noise-cancelling headphones could be practical and thoughtful gifts that demonstrate your consideration for their lifestyle and preferences.

By analysing the recipient’s daily routine and identifying areas where a thoughtful gift could make a positive difference, you can select a gift that is both practical and meaningful, showing that you’ve put thought and effort into your gesture.

Engaging in conversation with the recipient about their daily routines can provide valuable insights for selecting the perfect gift. By listening attentively and addressing their needs or preferences, you can demonstrate thoughtfulness and consideration, even with limited familiarity. A top tip here is to start talking about your own routine and its issues to invite the other person to elaborate on their routine with you.


Infographic on thinking of gift ideas by analysisng daily routine

An infographic showing an example of coming up with gift ideas by analysing the recipient’s daily routine.


5. Focus on the Connection Between You and the Recipient


Finally, when selecting a gift for someone you don’t know well, consider how your relationship with the recipient informs your gift selection process. Whether you know them through work, shared interests, or mutual acquaintances, leverage your connection to choose a gift that resonates with them on a personal level.

For example, if you share a love of gardening with a new neighbour, consider gifting them a potted plant or a gardening tool set to welcome them to the neighbourhood. Alternatively, if you have a colleague who you met at your work board game club, consider gifting them a new game to enjoy during their leisure time.

By focusing on the connection between you and the recipient, you can choose a gift that strengthens your bond and demonstrates your shared interests and values. Whether it’s a small token of appreciation or a thoughtful gesture, your gift will serve as a reminder of the connection you share and the effort you’ve put into selecting something meaningful.

Here are some examples of connections you could use to come up with gift ideas:

  1. Work Colleagues: Consider gifts related to your shared workplace environment or professional interests, such as desk accessories, personalized stationery, or gift cards to a nearby cafe.
  2. Mutual Hobbies or Interests: If you and the recipient share a passion for a particular hobby or interest, such as cooking, gardening, or photography, consider gifts that cater to that shared interest, such as specialty kitchen gadgets, gardening tools, or photography books.
  3. Shared Experiences: Reflect on memorable experiences or conversations you’ve had with the recipient and consider gifts that evoke those shared moments, such as a photo album capturing memories from a recent trip or a custom-made piece of artwork inspired by a shared interest.
  4. Mutual Friends or Acquaintances: If you have mutual friends or acquaintances, consider reaching out to them for insights or suggestions on suitable gift ideas based on their knowledge of the recipient’s preferences or interests.
  5. Professional Relationships: For business associates or clients, consider gifts that align with their professional interests or needs, such as industry-specific books, productivity tools, or professional development resources.
  6. Past Experiences or Inside Jokes: Reflect on past experiences or inside jokes shared between you and the recipient and consider gifts that reference or pay homage to those moments, such as personalized gifts with humorous references or nostalgic items that evoke fond memories.




Choosing the perfect gift for someone you don’t know well may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience. By utilizing techniques such as upgrading generic gift ideas, focusing on daily habits, leveraging social media profiles, analysing their daily routines, and emphasizing your connection, you can select a gift that demonstrates thoughtfulness and consideration.

Remember, it’s not the value of the gift that matters most, but the sentiment behind it. By putting effort into understanding the recipient and selecting a gift that reflects their interests and preferences, you can make a lasting impression and strengthen your relationship, one thoughtful gift at a time.