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How to Ask Someone What They Want for Their Birthday

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Being invited to someone’s birthday is a wonderful thing. But trying to figure out what kind of gift to get them can be a nightmare. Don’t you think that it would be so much easier just to ask them what they want?

This way they will be happy and so will you because you will give them a birthday gift that they actually want.

But there is a downside to asking someone what gift they want.  

  • It takes away the fun part of finding the perfect gift for the giver, wrapping it and then surprising the receiver with it.
  • It also makes the person that is asking seem rude and uninterested in the relationship.
  • It sends a message to the recipient that they don’t know them very well. This could then be offensive for established relationships
  • They didn’t make the effort and take the time to pay enough attention to who the recipient is as a person and the things that they may have mentioned previously.
  • By asking the birthday girl or boy what they want puts them in an awkward position because they will have no idea if you can afford the type of gift that they would really like.

Although many people would not admit it, they would actually be happier to receive something that they really want than receive something that they don’t. 

But how is that possible if they don’t tell you or if you don’t ask them?

People don’t tell you what they want due to the fear of coming across as being rude and disrespectful. And people don’t ask because they don’t want to ruin the surprise. So many either wait until they are actually asked what they want or accept a gift that they don’t want with a fake smile on their face and a half-hearted thank you.

When you don’t have any ideas about what gift to buy a person, the best thing to do is just to ask them.

But most people find it to be very uncomfortable to walk up to someone and ask what they want as a gift. So they try to figure it out on their own as to what they think the person might like. Some may even try to come up with creative ways of asking them by using a series of questions that will give them a couple of ideas about the sort of things the person may like. 

This is a great way to ask someone, especially if you don’t know them that well. But you do need to make sure that you ask the right kind of questions to get the answers you are looking for.

If the best way of finding and looking for the perfect gift for someone’s birthday is to ask the person. Then to answer your next question,

How to ask someone what they want for their birthday?

There are two ways to ask someone what they want which both will guarantee you getting the perfect gift to give them and it will be something that they like and want. They are:

  • Directly ask the question
  • Indirectly 

Which way do you choose to ask?

Asking someone what they want for their birthday will depend on how well you know the person.

If you know them well, you can ask them directly and if you do not know them that well or not at all, you can ask them indirectly.

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Asking them Directly

No matter how well you know someone and how good your relationship is with them. It is always best before you ask them directly that you have exhausted all your usual options of finding the perfect birthday gift by:

Making a list of questions to ask for birthday ideas that you can to answer them yourself with things like:

  • What birthday are they celebrating? If it is a milestone birthday it could give you a couple of options with extra ideas
  • Things that they love like maybe they prefer to receive handcrafted gifts
  • What do they enjoy doing or want to do in their spare time? This would depend on their interests, hobbies, and passion.
  • Items that they do not need. Look at items that they have a lot of, an example would be for a child who has too many toys or an adult, they may have enough mugs and don’t need more.
  • Items or things that they might need like financial help or something that can add extra to something they are busy with like if they are taking lessons to learn something you can give them a gift that relates to the topic that they are learning about.
  • The things that they dislike, like a specific color or type of food
  • Do they have any allergies? This will help if you plan on buying a food gift
  • Do they love a certain sport or sports team? There are so many options here to choose from like team jerseys, posters any other item that relates to the team.
  • The type of style they have by looking at the clothes they wear or how their home is decorated.
  • You can look at the pets they have. For many people, their pets are their most prized possession. You could think of items to buy them that is for their pet, for example, you can look at gifts to target for cat lovers
  • Do they enjoy things that give them a good laugh? Like a gag gift
  • Think about the relationship you have with them. Is there a specific and special thing that you both share like a wonderful memory the two of you have together. 

And if there are some questions that you don’t know the answers to, ask them.

If you can’t think of any ideas from the questions you ask yourself about the person, ask them directly. Approach them and ask “What do you want for your birthday?” or “What would you like for your birthday?” Another direct way of asking them about a gift that they would want is to ask them to give you a Wish List.

Asking Indirectly

For someone that you do not know that well or not at all, the polite way is to ask them what they want indirectly. You can do this by using a series of questions that would help you get to know them a little better and will help you decide on a gift. You don’t need 20 questions to figure out a gift.

But you also don’t want to bombard them with too many questions as this would make the situation even more uncomfortable for you and for them. You need to ask them the right kind of questions in the most natural way as possible. 

If you ask the appropriate questions that give you the opportunity to mix it up with some of your own comments and observations, the conversation will feel more natural. If done well enough, the person that you are asking will probably not realize that you are actually trying to get some gift ideas out of the conversation.

So take your time to think about the different things that you would like to know about the person and come up with a couple of questions that would give you the answers that you are looking for.

Then pick the perfect time to ask the questions by getting together before their birthday either at home, out at a shopping center or out for lunch. Ask your questions.

Here are some ideas of how:

Have a general conversation with them

While you are having a conversation with them pay close attention to the things that they talk about.  The kind of topics that seem to excite them because often many things about a person are revealed in a conversation. These are the things that they don’t even realize that they are revealing about themselves. This will help you to ask fewer questions which will be better for your conversation.

Mention items that you may want or need and they will often respond giving you hints of the things that they want or need. You can then casually slip in a question or two.

  • Ask them what books are they currently reading or what t.v miniseries have them hooked at the moment?
  • If you were given an opportunity to choose the top five items that you wanted from a store, what would they be?
  • You can ask them questions about their favorite things to do or things that they would like to do.
  • Ask them a question for them to describe their perfect day
  • Do they have future plans that they are looking forward to?
  • Is there something that they are struggling with and wish there was an easier way?
  • While experiencing a power outage with no backup power, what would they do to pass the time beside sleep?
  • What have they done in the past that they remember the most?
  • What was the best surprise that they have ever received from someone?
  • You can ask them if they have a favorite charity or support any causes that are close to their hearts.
  • Ask them about their likes and dislikes

If you make the conversation all about them and ensure that they know that you are interested in getting to know them. They will not mind if you ask them a couple of common questions like what are their favorite colors? Or what is their favorite food to eat?

Spend the day at a shopping mall with them. 

Take them to a shopping mall if you feel uncomfortable with trying to come up with creative but sneaky ways to ask them.

You can learn a lot about a person by observing them while they are browsing different shops or buying items for themselves. 

Shopping malls give you so many opportunities to ask questions that are indirect and seem natural. Most people don’t even realize it but we do it all the time when we are out shopping with other people. Here are some of the things you can find out:

  • Their style by the types of clothing and shoes that they pick out
  • The colors they like
  • Their likes and dislikes of certain items by asking for their opinion on them
  • Their favorite food and drinks
  • Their favorite shop to shop at
  • The music they enjoy by making sure you stop by a music store
  • Some of the things that they like to do like going for a massage, reading books or going for a hike

All you have to do is keep your focus on them and pay close attention to the things that they are doing and are talking about. But do not do this in an obvious or creepy way. You don’t want to scare them off.

They will be surprised when you give them a gift on their birthday and it is something that they mentioned a couple of weeks previously while they were out at the mall with you. It will show them that you were interested in them and listened to what they said.

For many people, asking them what they would like for their birthday is the best thing that people can do. It is a relief for the recipient as they know that they will get something that they have asked for and actually want. For the giver, knowing what someone wants reduces the stress of finding the perfect birthday gift for them especially if they do not have any ideas themselves. 

If you want to know how to ask someone what they want for their birthday as this will help you pick the perfect gift for them. You will need to decide whether you would like to ask them directly or indirectly, you will also need to take some time and make yourself a list of questions that you could either answer yourself or you can ask them.

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